Today, the digital is at the heart of all marketing activities and, in order to make it live, companies need more and more often to invest in a technologic platform to create, launch, track and analyse their campaigns and interactions with their audiences. When selecting this platform, they overall have three options, which correspond to three visions, three philosophies: to build, to buy or to make.
This triple approach is well summarized in this infographic published by Martech Advisor.
1. Develop its own Marketing Cloud platform
Some companies, which are often pure digital players, or big companies with a massive IT department which is used to develop their own tools, decide to build entirely their own marketing platform. Very often, they choose to do so because they are afraid not to control totally their platform, and they want to have the upper hand with all the tools, and have a 100% custom solution.
However, this option often proves to be extremely complicated because it is not their job, and that these companies generally do not have the means to invest as much, either financially or in terms of labour, than a major publisher. Adobe spends every year around 400 millions of dollars in Research & Development: which company could do the same for internal tools? If I take another example I like to use, it would not occur to any creative agency to develop “its own” Photoshop: too long, too expensive, less efficient … Why would any company want to do the opposite when talking about Analytics, DMP, campaign management, CMS?
2. Assemble different “point solutions” together
The other solution often chosen is the assembly of different bricks, different “point solution”, which offer a solution to a specific problem. This choice is usually made assuming that it will allow companies to enjoy the best of what the market has to offer for each of the marketing dimensions and sub-dimensions. In reality, the assembly work requires to connect all kinds of software from different vendors, which is a monumental work and can present many challenges of integration.
Even though we used to talk about the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) to evaluate the cost of a tool, now the TCS (Total Cost of Service) is more and more used, which is an indicator that also incorporates all the related costs, such as connecting the tools, maintenance, etc. We then realize that a choice that was supposed to represent a saving, often proves to be much more expensive and time-consuming at the end. Thus, it is not uncommon for companies to end up changing their minds, even if it means keeping one of these bricks that maybe be missing on an integrated platform.
3. Buy an integrated Marketing Cloud platforms
These platforms represent a range of integrated and unified solutions, in which each company can manage all the digital marketing dimensions. Few clients will buy straight away all the options: most of the time, they choose to make the platform evolve according to their needs, while having a unified base, designed to facilitate the IT manager’s and Marketing Director’s life.
The big advantage of this option is that companies can benefit from an all-in-one solution, bringing together all the tools in one place, and thus enabling productivity gains. Some people are afraid that these platforms are closed and do not allow connections to other party solutions: in reality, there is no need to be worried, as, in fact, these solutions are always open to the outside.
Anyway, this choice is a strategic one, as it affects finances in the long term, and proves crucial in terms of marketing strategy. This is about defining your vision for the business, in which direction you want to go, and which partners I want support from so that my strategy is feasible and realized. Very often, the company alone does not make this choice, but with the help of a consultancy firm, which will help in identifying the best marketing solution.
What about you, what did you choose for your business, and what were the reasons that led you there? Feel free to discuss the subject in the comments!