In their urgent hunt for improved pace and agility, more and more businesses are now set up with native cloud data platforms. This makes sense for many reasons, not least due to the greater flexibility, capability to scale, and increased analytics facilities offered by the cloud. Audiences are consuming content ever faster and now expect brands to shift and change with the rapid pace of their expectations and needs; the brands that cannot meet this expectation will soon be dead in the water. Native cloud data platform provision – the right cloud provision – is just one plank in the bridge towards this ability for organisations to be lightning fast, but it’s a plank without which the bridge is liable to collapse.
Consequently, the majority of businesses are journeying towards greater data maturity by already implementing a marketing data platform of some description up and running. However, as they do so, inevitably marketing issues may be exposed. A legacy platform solution may be cost-inefficient, or limited in capability – perhaps the following sound familiar?
- Current solution has gaps: This could be in either data or functionality, or both, and may result from a data system that wasn’t originally set up with marketing needs in mind
- Measurement holes: Often brands discover that there’s a key variable (or several) that cannot be measured, analysed or reported on. Maybe there’s a legacy system that’s not yet connected, or the current set up doesn’t allow adequate space for the desired analytics to be performed
- Barriers to cloud enhancement: Enhancement of the current legacy solution is impeded, due to factors such as IT resource availability or vendor agreements
- Outdated infrastructure: Your data platform is reaching vendor end of life or end of support, meaning that a new solution must be found or added
There may also be compelling business issues that are standing in the way of true marketing cloud efficacy:
- Internal barriers: Internal IT teams can often prove prohibitive for companies due to speed and cost, but without this resource it is hard to leverage sufficient expertise to truly make a success of a cloud solution
- Evolution: Your business may always have been looking for a phased approach – perhaps following an agile test-and-learn approach, or proving ROI before taking the leap to a more significant investment
- Platform transition: Your business might be looking for a platform transition to provide scale in a public cloud environment
- Data growth and/or silos: Many organisations experience organic data growth & silos and find that their current data platform cannot scale or keep pace
If any of these scenarios sound horribly familiar, you are not alone! Many clients come to Merkle with some or all of these issues nagging, and it’s for this reason that Merkle has developed our Rapid Audience Layer, or RAL, solution. RAL is a rapid set-up, speedy time-to-value cloud product created to support your big data-fuelled marketing activities. It functions perfectly as a competitively-priced add-on to legacy cloud provision - one that’s geared with marketers in mind.
Depending on your business’s needs, RAL also offers a variety of extensions (extensions are additional tools, services and/or integrations that either enhance your existing data or assist with delivering audiences to external systems):
- M1 Integration (Merkle’s Media activation solution)
- DataSource (Merkle’s Prospecting & data enhancement tool)
- Events Stream & Promo History Standard Tables
- Vertical Specific Standard Tables
- Standard Aggregates & Summaries
- CDP Integration
- BI Reporting
- Customer Lookup Tool
- Email Integration
- Campaign Management Data Integration
- Additional Analytics Integrations
These extensions mean that whilst retaining the advantages of being incredibly fast to set up (weeks not months), RAL can be tailored to answer the specific needs that your organisation presents with, whilst simultaneously not paying for infrastructure, platforms and software that isn’t required or useful. Extensions can be added or subtracted with ease according to business need too, so that as existing platforms flex or disappear, RAL can shift to accommodate changing requirements.
If your existing cloud provision isn’t meeting all your needs, we’d be happy to talk about how RAL might be the right fit to supplement the provision you currently hold.
Alternatively, if you'd like to read more about how RAL works in practice, you can find our case study with a large beverage retailer here and learn how we helped them to reduce time spent on data management and unlocked new insights.
Rapid Audience Layer can be the right fit for other data scenarios too; keep an eye out next month for my blog on how RAL can be an ideal means to help businesses take the first step into the world of cloud data.