While traditional marketing automation tools have reached maturity in many ways, trying to do the same kinds of things with social media could take twice as long.
Social Can Scale, but it's Complicated
Digital marketers today lean heavily on Web and email based tools to generate leads and create loyal customers. The most sophisticated marketers are starting to invest in tools that help them do the same with social media, and many of those teams have come to San Francisco this week for the Eloqua Experience conference.
What they are learning is there have been several updates to Eloqua now that it has been a part of Oracle for nearly a year now. Oracle's first step on integrating Eloqua's capabilities have come in the social and sales spheres, and that should allow its customers to really begin diving into more features.
There has been a ton of hype around social media being the next big thing. But, employing social automation beyond connecting social identification data with existing traditional channels is still out of reach for most Roland Smart, VP of social and community marketing at Oracle said during a conference session.
With Web and email technology, marketers can connect people's Web behavior to particular emails to nuture people along. Connecting social data, while tempting to do because of how massive social media usage has become, is more complex, Smart said.
Social Media Rules Aplenty, + They Keep Changing
Even with a tool like Eloqua, a leader in the marketing automation space, integrating social media data, conversations, engagement and listening is still limited.
"Web and email are mostly 1 to 1 or 1 to many types of communications," Smart said.
"Social is sometimes a many to many type of communication, and that adds complexity and risk."
While Facebook and Twitter are two popular social media sites where marketers are exploring, others like LinkedIn are still rolling out how much access they want to give to marketers. The same thing goes for Instagram and Pinterest. When it comes to companies like Oracle, there is also demand for integrations with popular systems in Asia like Weibo.
Depending on which systems allow what kind of access, and depending on what customers ask for is where Eloqua's efforts will head, Smart said. Other large marketing automation systems are in the same boat, and there are no real overarching rules in place to like with email. Email has oversight with legislation like the CAN-SPAM act, for example, but since each social media space is different, there's little chance of anything similar happening there.
That means marketers need to build a portfolio of tools to capture social IDs and attach them to user records, and match those IDs with email addresses, Smart said.
"Start with implementing social sign on to capture that social data," he said.
Another way to help dig out social data is with mobile apps that build in that information, and of course, there are companies that sell that information as well, Smart noted.
"Social is still about experimenting and discovery," Meg Bear, group VP of cloud social platform at Oracle said in an interview.
"But it's still about capturing social for competitive advantage."
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