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  • Writer's pictureCVO – Chief Voodoo Officer

Quick bite: Salesforce Marketing Cloud vs. Oracle Marketing Cloud

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

Larry vs Marc
Larry vs Marc – credits: Canadian Business and Salesforce

You could fill a book comparing pros and cons of Salesforce Marketing Cloud ("SFMC") and Oracle Marketing Cloud ("Responsys").

If you're legitimately choosing between the two, go buy that book. (Or better yet, contact us.) But if you want to know two favorite things from a power user of both, read on.

SFMC: Favorite thing #1: it's open for business

SFMC is generally an open environment – meaning it connects to other things...whether that's a data platform, a survey platform, Google Analytics 360, a mobile platform, or anything else. The best illustration of SFMC's superior openness is their documentation, which is thorough and public (in contrast to Responsys', which is half-hearted and mostly secretive). Need help? There's vibrant discussion among users both on-platform ("Trailhead") or off (StackExchange).

Best of all, SFMC is (at last) directly integrated into core-Salesforce aka SFDC aka Service Cloud or Sales Cloud – which many companies use as their database of record. Using magic (Voodoo CRM can help), SFMC can "listen" to any customer change that would happen in SFDC and kick off a customer journey in real-time. SFMC can also write data back into SFDC. Net result? Crazy amounts of self-serve horsepower.

SFMC: Favorite thing #2: Journey Builder is no joke

Any business owner can get a free MailChimp account and blast out messages. But beautiful customer experiences that feel *just right* require incredible amounts of data, orchestration, imagination, technical savvy—and a tool that stitches them together. That's Journey Builder – SFMC's drag-and-drop experience manager. It's idiot-proof (unlike Responsys' "Program" tool) and yet deceptively powerful.

This Journey not only delivers a critical customer-facing notification at the right moment for each user, but also runs a 50-50% A/B test on channel optimization – deciding whether a native-app push notification garners better response than an SMS. Pure voodoo.

Responsys: Favorite thing #1: wicked SQL power

Long before Oracle bought Responsys, the platform was using Oracle db. So what? So the SQL engine under the hood is unbelievably powerful. Not only is it vastly easier to run queries in Responsys than SFMC (far fewer clicks and steps), but it's more powerful with more features.

Here's where the rubber meets the road: The Oracle SQL syntax permitted in Responsys includes something called—Nerd Alert!—Common Table Expressions. For complex queries that go way beyond SELECT-FROM-JOIN-WHERE, it's the easy way to write, read and debug your SQL. (Basically, you build up predecessor within the query in a logical order—like, "first create a temporary table of ____; then enhance that data with another table of _____; then enhance it yet again; finally, pluck a final list of customers who meet these complex criteria and have personalized, derived values with which to personalize CRM comms." SFMC? Not even an option.

Responsys: Favorite thing #2: enterprise-grade reporting power

It's not sexy, but reporting really matters. And we don't just mean cute visualizations like Tableau does. We mean muscle. True, if all you're after is finding out open & click rates for last week's campaigns, any ESP's reporting engine will do fine. But if you're applying complex logic to surface important phenomena, you need a snappy app that crunches millions of rows of data and presents it meaningfully and fast.

Lucky for Responsys, it has a rich uncle in the family, and his name is Exadata. Oracle graced Responsys with its enterprise-grade business intelligence platform—the kind of software that global behemoths like Siemens use to track, well, just about everything quantitative happening in the enterprise. Exadata applied to email reporting may be overkill, but it's pure bliss when you're trying to understand and present what campaigns are doing.

SFMC is laughable here. The reporting app is so slow, buggy, weak and underbaked that we usually just bus our data into Google Cloud Platform, then drill into it with BigQuery (for extraction) and Google Data Studio (for reporting & presentation). For shame, Salesforce!

And the winner is?

If only it were so easy! We're just scratching the surface here. Want to dig in to which ESP (including these two or others) is best for you?? Let's talk.


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