Another Marketing Cloud? SAP Uncorks A Marketing Platform

CharlesNichollsWhile SAP has been generally absent from the marketing cloud conversation (save for last year’s announcement it would resell Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions), the company on Tuesday rolled out of a contextual marketing platform dubbed the SAP hybris Marketing Solution.

“SAP hasn’t traditionally been known in the marketing space, but we are rapidly building out a portfolio of marketing applications,” Charles Nicholls, SVP of product strategy, marketing solutions, told AdExchanger. It will sell SAP hybris Marketing Solution alongside its commerce and customer engagement products.

SAP has invested far less in acquisitions than competing vendors like Oracle and Adobe. It bought Boston-based behavioral marketing startup SeeWhy last May, which Nicholls founded, but that deal was nowhere near the size and scale of Adobe’s $600 million Neolane buy or Oracle’s headline-making Datalogix acquisition.

The extent of SAP’s marketing offering thus far has included CRM, commerce via hybris and analytics. Although it will still partner with Adobe Marketing Cloud, SAP is focusing on connecting more of its commerce and marketing components. 

“We’re not looking to acquire little pieces of execution,” Nicholls said. “Programmatic, machine learning or whatever you want to call it – we’re looking to tell marketers where their money is best spent.”

The foundation of SAP’s marketing platform is called “hybris Marketing Data Management,” built from its SeeWhy and hybris technologies.

While SAP hasn’t explicitly called it a data-management platform, it claims the product compiles both implicit signals (clicks, page views) and explicit signals (conversions, transactions) to build profiles based on known and anonymous site visitors.

Hybris Chief Strategy Officer Brian Walker said unifying customer profiles and maintaining an open ecosystem (marketing automation systems, email services, data and demand-side platforms like Turn and other marketing platforms) is the focus.

SAP claims it can add context around financial information and contact center data, essentially drawing on its foundation in supply-chain management to make digital or offline marketing interactions more intelligent. (SAP, for instance, runs profitability analysis for customers like Colgate-Palmolive to determine how products are selling in-store.)

SAP’s seen client-side demand to expand transactional-based data with behavioral intent signals.

“From a technology standpoint, the systems are different, so we need to look at ‘How can you marry the data together?’” Ramiya Iyer, VP of ecommerce technology for SAP customer Levi Strauss & Co., said during a recent customer panel. “From the time the customer goes online, gets a recommendation, opens up the app to when they finally go to the physical store, [it] can be a daunting exercise to pull together.”


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