So the Big Guy is coming to marketing sometime this quarter.
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. A 35-country launch. Ten languages. Scared yet?
“We’re really going to capture marketers’ imaginations around our customer and marketing analytics,” said Jamie Fiorda, director of Worldwide Product Marketing at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.
“Every marketer is trying to prove his value and prove his investments are making an impact. What we can do with Microsoft Excel through Power BI is truly beautiful, amazing and simple.”
Will an industry drowned in marketing software bite on Bill Gates’ old stomping grounds? Has Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, IBM had their heyday, and will Dynamics Marketing have the SharePoint effect?
Microsoft is confident it will be case. Fiorda, in an interview with CMSWire, said the first differentiator for Microsoft is the “rich capabilities no one has.”
One of those is the analytics ability to integrate key insights data with rich views directly into Excel. It’s Workbook built on top of Microsoft’s Power BI.
“Its deep analytics capabilities allow marketers to leverage the power of Excel by attaching it to any data source,” Fiorda said. “You can imagine a world where marketers can look at their marketing investments and performance and correlate it directly over to other data sources.”
Fiorda also boasted about Microsoft’s price. As a standalone, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, a cloud-based service, goes for $125 per user per month. There is a limit on the number of mail messages and an additional charge on each additional message but it’s a “fragment of the cost compared to what competitors charge.”
Existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers can add the marketing capabilities and pay $200 per user per month for the whole package.
“That’s different than what you’d see with the rest of the industry,” he said.
Microsoft is also going to get marketers’ attention with its visual campaign design console, Fiorda said.
“Marketers are going to realize, existing CRM customers of ours in particular, the value in our lead management, lead scoring and real time pass-through of lead contacts into the Dynamics CRM system,” he said.
Best for Marketing?
Can Microsoft truly excel in marketing software among so many other of its business lines, which, by the way, led to a record revenue of $24.52 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31?
Scott Vaughan, chief marketing officer of Integrate, a marketing software provider in Scottsdale, Ariz., sees Microsoft as having trouble catering to CMOs where it’s traditional strength is infrastructure.
Another executive from a Microsoft competitor (albeit a much smaller one) whose company is 100 percent focused on marketing thinks its model will have more chances for success.
Jon Miller, vice president of marketing content and strategy and co-founder of Marketo, a marketing automation specialist whose revenue last year jumped 64 percent to $95.9 million, told CMSWire when asked about Microsoft that marketers want to buy marketing software from companies that understand marketing.
“I never met a marketer who really loves Oracle, wakes up and says, ‘Man I understand Oracle as a company. It really understands my needs.’ And I think that will be true with Microsoft,” Miller said. “We think there’s an advantage to being focused on marketing, and we’re marketers ourselves. There is an emotional resonance there. I personally think we can claim that better than anyone in this space, even more than Adobe.”
Told of a competitor’s claim that marketing-only providers will thrive in the digital era, Microsoft’s Fiorda said, “That’s what I would expect them to say, frankly.”
“I would come back with 'What is the most important thing you need?' and the answer to that is you need world-class marketing excellence,” Fiorda told CMSWire. “How do you do that? With measurement and iteration. What’s the thing stopping you? Fragmented architecture with a dozen solutions that inhibit marketers from moving fast. We’re providing the marketing solution and architecture that avoids that problem.”
Why Jump In?
So what can Microsoft ultimately offer? It’s essentially a platform, Fiorda said, that eliminates the solution-overload problem and puts everything together for the marketer and sales teams.
“What do marketers need to do?” asked Fiorda. “Unify these largely disconnected, fragmented point solution architects. … We like to say great marketing starts with great planning.”
This is where the acquisition of MarketingPilot and its marketing resource management capabilities come into play, Fiorda said. Marketers in one place can manage job tickets, budgets, vendor time on the job, digital assets, spend and other elements.
“The process needs to be iterative, fast, familiar, and it needs to be flexible,” Fiorda said. “We’ve designed campaign execution capabilities put on top of campaign planning capabilities.”