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IBM Marketing Cloud CRM Assessment


IBM Marketing Software Review

CRM Integration

IBM Marketing Cloud offers vendor-supported integration with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce CRM systems.

The Salesforce integration is particularly strong and well supported, as evidenced by the AppExchange score of 4.7 (out of 5 stars). However, as Salesforce continues to develop its own marketing cloud (from the Exact Target and Pardot acquisitions), it appears the IBM Marketing Cloud may move its focus to other CRM platforms. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration available with the IBM Marketing Cloud uses Scribe, a popular integration tool in the Microsoft community, for data mapping and transfer.

From within the CRM software, users can select marketing email templates for email distributions (and optionally personalize the messaging), push not yet sales-ready leads back to nurture campaigns, and use the Contact Insight to displays lead/contact activity history for a deeper understanding of the lead.

Marketing automation and CRM systems generally have a few overlapping functions, such as campaign setup and campaign reporting. As with most marketing automation software providers, IBM recommends that anything to which revenue is attributed, including sales processes or campaign level reporting, be created in the CRM system, and then sync’d with the marketing software if necessary.

While sales staff have significant access to lead history and marketing campaigns, we’d like to see more marketing automation built around marketing/sales Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Currently, for marketers to know which sales-ready leads are not being followed up timely or at all (a perennial problem in most organizations), the marketer must run and review queries or reports. More automated neglected lead alerts, real-time notifications or automated return to a nurture campaign for leads which fail to be qualified by a sales person or advance to a designated status (i.e. sale opportunity) within a prescribed timeframe could greatly aid SLA conformance and lessen lead leakage.

IBM Marketing Cloud Technology

The IBM marketing software is a thin-client (browser-based) cloud solution that uses a multi-tenant database architecture. Depending upon your perspective, this may provide a perceived risk with regard to information security as each customer’s data is shared in a common database, or may provide a benefit in the form of more frequent innovation as upgrades and new provisions involve less complexity and time requirements.

The marketing software operates on a Microsoft SQL Server database and offers multiple system integration options. The application offers automated batch processing (via secure FTP) for periodic data integration, as well as real-time, application-layer data integration using an API library.

The company also offer packaged integrations with web analytics solutions such as Adobe Genesis, Clicktale, Coremetrics, Netstat, Webtrends and Whereoware.

As with most marketing automation systems, there isn’t a PaaS (Platform as a Service) type visual toolkit for making screen changes or creating new objects, but the marketing software does offer around 400 user defined fields in the application—which is likely to suit most customers.

The company also makes available something it calls Relational Tables – which permit the integration to legacy or other systems, such as back office accounting or ERP systems, so that data such as product purchase history can be retrieved and used for up-selling or cross-selling campaigns. Depending upon the particular functionality needed, this technology addition may or may not incur an add-on price.

Next: IBM Marketing Cloud Delivery & Software Pricing >>

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IBM Marketing Software Review


IBM Marketing Software Review

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