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Find Out What Drives Oracle’s Marketing Cloud Machine

December 18, 2014

Oracle’s Kevin Akeroyd is helping to make the Oracle marketing cloud solutions the best in the industry, bar none. Find out what drives him, the Oracle marketing machine and more.

Kevin Akeroyd, GM of Oracle Marketing Cloud,is responsible for the global P&L, running the largest technology and services providers to the lines of business in charge of marketing and customer experience. The Oracle Marketing Cloud includes Marketing Automation (Eloqua), MCCM (Responsys), Data Management Platform - DMP - (Blue Kai), Content Marketing (Compendium), Social Listening (Collective Intellect), Social Publishing and Engagement (Viture, Involver). Prior to Oracle, Akeroyd worked for Badgeville, Jigsaw and Data.com

Some show highlights include:

Steve asked Kevin, "How do you organize your marketing dept?"

@akeroyd: We keep modern goals in mind. Marketing and sales are two silos that need to come together.

"You have the VP of mobile, VP of advertising, VP of lead gen, VP of  customer loyalty, VP of this and that.
We try to strike the balance - break down the silos and processes so they can maintain specitivity; yet come together for the ultimate goal:serving and relating to the client."

Steve Gershik:
How do you break down those silos in particular as it relates to communication in large groups of people?

Kevin Akeroyd:
 We have to have these common internal goals: 
Trying to drive sales productivity, revenue, drive marketing effectiveness, conversion, ROI - this is common internally for income and employees.

Our customer  related goals are: advocacy, continuity, relationships. It gets pretty easy when we have a common language for presales, marketing and sales. With that common venacular, cause and metrics success comes pretty easy. When we don't have that common goal in mind internally or for the customer, you get back into that dangerous trap of the silos.

Steve Gershik:
Oracle has had and continues to have a number of acquisitions. How to you integrate those companies and their culture into your overall culture?

Kevin told us,  "It starts with CULTURE. When they acquire, they only acquire the best companies - not just the technologies, but the best people, the best talent and the best customers along with the best business models and best cultures. 

Best Cultures results in the rest falling into place. The key is maintaining the culture that made the company so great you wanted to acquire it in the first place. This is critical. But then merging into the broader Oracle marketing cloud culture and then into the bigger oracle culture - culture maintenance and culture assimilation This is a huge challenge. Culture point about Oracle - traditionally on premise software.  We have made a couple of runs to be more cloud based. They didn't go as well as they do now.

What has made the difference in that current success?

Kevin admits he's not sure he knows the answer holistically. He knows it's truly successful - it has adopted that culture integration - it's there - it's why Oracle is winning overall. 

Steve Gershik acknowledges, "You know if you don't have it, and you know if you have it there. Difficult to pinpoint, but it's deeper than that."

Kevin says they continuously ask, "What are we doing from a tech and integration, best practices, expertise, standpoint?" He goes on to say, "Our customers - the guys producing revenue - sales and marketing - are under a lot of pressure. They are being held more accountable for more results with less and they are judged faster and faster.

How well are we enabling our customers to be successful in light of those increasing demands? This is how we measure our success.They need to meet their goals and exceeding their goals. It's our only measuring stick of success.Innovation, leadership and customer centricity is the center of our culture.
We closely resemble the scrappy start ups that we acquire rather than opposing them or stifling them."

Steve brought up that Kevin is internally you are very analytical.
He also talked about the gap between what people are learning in business school and what practitioners need to know.
He says, You have to learn how to first think like a marketer and then to BE a marketer.

Steve asked Kevin: What skills before they can be successful at Oracle?

Kevin tells us, "Things are so fragmented across all of the channels: mobile, social, display, commerce... fragmented customer landscape, spending more money than ever. 
We can never lose the art and creativity of being brilliant marketers, but you need the other half - the science. You have to be able to measure your genius and show it to the CEO and board.
Look at how it is performing by lifecycle stage, customer segment ...Translate the language of marketing to the language of the CFO. The art part of marketing is not dead and is mission critical, but it needs to be married tightly to the science and analytics."

Kevin adds,"First and foremost: we start everything with, 'Are we making our customers successful?'
And, are we delivering quantifiable, directly attributable, measurable successful for our customers? If not, nothing else matters.

We are continuously measuring and tracking our impact. We have 1000's of customers and there is no one solution or recipe for their success. You have to consider the differences: financial vs. travel, vs. manufacturing vs. publisher. Enterprise vs. mid-market, brick and mortar vs. online only business.

The more important thing is the discipline of knowing that the people on my side that own the customer results are tracking them and are showing up and showing quarterly business results and making sure that customer success as defined by the customer is known and quantifiable and we're directly measuring our impact on that.

That's a big big part.

Thousands of customers are quantifying what success means to them, and we're tracking on a quarterly basis for them, and we are reporting on that to them... without it, the buck stops there.

We continuously challenge and evaluate our own success. We use customer satisfaction surveys, testimonials, who is willing to promote us?
These are indicators that we are successful in what we are doing.
This is part of our own measurement for our own success.

Hardcore numbers that affect my business: churn rate, upsell, cross sell, earning bigger part of the pie or is it shrinking, are we retaining the customer?
This results in share of wallet, renewal rate, expanding or shrinking inside that company is a measure of whether the customers happy and satisfied and successful. 

Retention of customer rate is more important than new acquisition rate.
Conversion rate - how are we doing? This is from the acquisition funnel into the sold.

The entire funnel approach starts at customer and goes backward - not typical of companies.
Keep them very happy and successful, they will grow with you, you'll do more with them and the value to you will be greater."

Steve asked about Kevin's transitions from Jigsaw to where he is today.

How do you structure the acquisition and dissemination of data?
it's easy to get paralyzed. What is the most important to look at and focus for yourself. How do you rank what is the most important data.

1. Try to make sure everyone is looking at the same data - whether at the top of the funnel or bottom. If they are all doing that, that is mission critical.

2. Data is interesting. if you are a savvy company, you know how to let the data bubble up intelligence and make decisions. Tried and true, we know the questions to ask, we know how to mine the data. 

Oracle has been a long time Leadspace customer.
"LS represents a tool that is both for sales and marketing.  Whether you are doing specific things like events, upsell cross sell, private webinars - it's a tool up and down marketing. Exact same stuff that the sales team is using. It's a relatively unique compilation of stats.  Resulting accurately is head and shoulders above the competition. LS does something very unique and VERY current.

@akeroyd  kevin.akeroyd @oracle.com  Look for him on LinkedIn, too.