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Laura Ipsen On Using Oracle Marketing Cloud As The ‘Tip Of The Spear’

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oracle-laura-ipsenLaura Ipsen walked into the office of Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd on a Monday this summer, and the next day she had a new job as the general manager and senior vice president of Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC).

It’s her latest role in a 25-year career spent at some of the world’s large tech titans. She worked for nearly 17 years at Cisco, where she last ran its connected energy efforts, then left for Microsoft in 2012 to lead its worldwide public sector business. She sold tech to the government, education and health care sectors for a few years before Hurd lured her to Oracle.

Prior to taking the helm from outgoing OMC head Kevin Akeroyd, she ran Oracle’s global industry solutions group, where, among other things, she helped build an internet-of-things team.

Ipsen is a tech veteran but the marketing side isn’t foreign for her; she worked for Cisco’s CMO for several years during her tenure there.

“I have acquired companies in the past and put them together and created a business model,” Ipsen said. “I was a GM at Cisco, so it’s exciting for me to get back to working with a product in a targeted market – like Marketing Cloud – and delivering on that both from a sales marketing and strategic perspective.”

Ipsen spoke to AdExchanger at Oracle OpenWorld.

AdExchanger: What is your vision for Oracle Marketing Cloud?

LAURA IPSEN: My vision is to take the Oracle Marketing Cloud and increase the value by connecting it with the whole CX Suite and beyond.

I see an opportunity for Oracle Marketing Cloud as part of the whole CX Suite and at a platform level to connect and drive more value all the way out to what CFOs and CEOs care about: into their financials, with our ERP, to be more predictive on supply chain, to make sure that companies have the right people for the markets that they’re going into and targeting using HCM [Human Capital Management Cloud service].

Going into the CMO [with Marketing Cloud] is the tip of the spear.

One of the themes that came up at DMEXCO was integration. Can you expand a little bit on that?

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We’re very proud of our best-in-class pillar products: Eloqua, Responsys, BlueKai, etc. To go to market, it starts with an orchestration tool, like Responsys or Eloqua. At the same time, integration is not just about the product and technology, it’s about the people. Very quickly, my team across the companies we’ve acquired are becoming more integrated from a sales motion and service standpoint.

Our success can’t just be about one pillar product; it has to be about the success that we’ve built for our customers to create more ROI by deploying a full stack. That’s what we’re showing more, with customers like Lenovo, who through multipillar capabilities of our OMC stack achieved 45% more productivity.

Speaking of the stack, at large enterprise customers are there any structural changes you’re seeing in terms of how the CIO and the CMO are making decisions?

Sure. [It’s] because we’re seeing marketers being held more accountable, with a larger IT spend, to the ROI. [They’re] having joint KPIs with sales, needing to be more obsessed not just with targeting customers, but engaging a customer beyond a transaction. I absolutely see the goals of marketers and the CIO coming together.

Can you talk a little bit about how Oracle prioritizes Marketing Cloud in terms of its other, larger business units?

This is one of the suites of technology that we have within CX that’s a lever. It’s the tip of the arrow that opens up new channels of conversations with CMOs and beyond. From that standpoint, it’s strategic to our business. It certainly is something that Larry [Ellison] featured as part of our content and experience cloud. All of this is coming together to position Oracle Marketing Cloud as a strategic advantage against our competitors.

Speaking of competitors, you have a DMP. For Salesforce, that’s a big hole. When they do get caught up, how do you differentiate your offering from Salesforce?

It’s not as simple as them purchasing a DMP to be competitive in that area of the marketing cloud landscape. While we believe our DMP does the best job of ingesting proprietary first party data — such as CRM, website or loyalty data — we also put the largest collection of third-party audience data from the Oracle Data Cloud right at the marketer’s fingertips within our DMP.

So the data is already there and that’s a huge advantage for our DMP. The other piece of a DMP is making the data actionable. Our DMP, since it’s architected on an open platform, makes it simple for marketers to build the right audiences and send them to their paid media channels of choice.

So even if they were to purchase a DMP, it’s not an immediate gap closer in my view. Right now, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is largely a retention marketing tool, where you need a customer’s email address to do the majority of your marketing. The Oracle Marketing Cloud is able to span every step of the customer lifecycle, from prospecting and acquisition, all the way through to retention and growth phases.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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