Marketing assets

Zoho continues to unify its operating system with Zoho Marketing Plus

Zoho this week announced Zoho Marketing Plus, its solution for unifying its marketing products into a single platform. Zoho is a company that I follow closely as a leader in enterprise SaaS, offering a suite of over fifty vertically and horizontally scalable web-based business applications within an enterprise.

Zoho places a strong emphasis on its customer experience (CX) within its customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Its enterprise-level operating system, Zoho One, does just that by connecting all lines of business (LOBs) and with customers. I mentioned in my coverage of Zoho One that Zoho’s long-term goal is unification across the board, from the experience to the apps and down to the infrastructure and networks that run behind it. .

Zoho Marketing Plus is exactly that: connecting the multiple mobile parts of marketing to create a seamless collaborative experience for stakeholders, customers, and marketing organizations. The key point I want to make is that this is not Zoho’s leap into marketing. Zoho has successfully offered SaaS marketing within its Zoho operating system for nearly a decade. Zoho Marketing Plus seeks to unify Zoho’s marketing platform, enabling more personal CX and continuity across the entire Zoho OS. We’ll take a look.

A shared vision of everything

When it comes to marketing, there can be many moving parts: teams, content, and partners all trying to work together toward the same goal. Thousands of people are working on a product launch, a marketing project or a campaign in some cases. It becomes difficult to see all the collaboration between projects and the progress of each team while keeping the shared customer in mind and being as efficient and impactful as possible.

Zoho has taken a top-down approach by implementing a dashboard that allows the marketer to track what is happening over time. Zoho has included a split view of projects with timelines, tasks, and a history of what’s happening in a project or campaign. As a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and having been involved in many high profile, multi-million dollar marketing projects, I can attest to the amount of juggling that is done and the ability to see where everything is evenly allows the marketing team to focus on improving the overall customer experience.

Likewise, Zoho has included a shared content view with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations so that teams have one place to view all project artifacts. It’s a centralized place for teams to easily pull the content they need while allowing other teams to do the same with continuity. I think this method is a convenient way to ensure that all assets are uniform in design, content, etc. I see this marketing content repository being most useful for marketers who are still learning the ins and outs of the marketing team. The Data Repository gives marketers insight into what a campaign or project’s content will look like based on the assets already present.

Zoho has also arrived where marketing teams have a shared view of the performance of a specific project with segments and metrics. Zoho has integrated other Zoho apps including Campaigns, Social, Webinar, Analytics, Marketing Automation, Workdrive, PageSense, Survey, and Backstage into Marketing Plus for real-time data aggregation and analysis. Zoho gave examples of a heatmap for a desktop page in the PageSense tab that showed which part of the page view visitors were going to. I think feedback is key to improvement, and every marketing organization should be thinking about how to improve the next go-around. Zoho has made this an important part of their drive for unity within Marketing Plus and this shared view of marketing data for an entire marketing team is a great idea.

Collaboration

Zoho has also consolidated its collaboration between projects and other lines of business. According to Zoho, marketing teams will be able to connect and collaborate on projects in tandem and easily, with the ability to maintain version control. Collaboration is one of the SaaS topics I’ve written about the most over the past two years, as we’ve seen the digital transformation of businesses. Zoho has recognized that collaboration occurs around the content and assets created for a project. Zoho’s productivity suite for content creation has enabled features like comments and versioning for content collaboration.

Zoho has expanded this collaboration, recognizing that collaboration with other LOBs is also important. Zoho enabled cross-functional collaboration with sales teams. So, for example, marketing teams can see the status of the lead pipeline and see what’s working and what’s not. Zoho has included analytics dashboards that can be pulled from other LOBs or third-party solutions so that marketing teams can adjust projects for better revenue growth.

Zoho also enabled cross-functional collaboration between services such as social media websites. I think it’s strategic because it gives marketing teams a closer and more accessible line to customers through multiple diverse channels.

New customer tools

Zoho has given marketing teams a more comprehensive view of customer databases with new search capabilities and contact lists. Marketing teams can segment customers using a list of criteria. Talking to Zoho does not act on customer privacy, as there is no new accumulation of customer data, but rather gives marketing teams tools to better understand customers. I don’t believe this is an evasion of privacy for customers as there is a right way to use customer information and a wrong way. So, for example, there is public and private information about a person (customer), but there is also information that we, as consumers, give to companies so that they are better able to respond to our requests. Zoho simply makes it easier for marketing teams to use the data that customers have entrusted to businesses. Through many discussions I’ve had with Zoho, they maintain customer privacy to a high degree and I don’t think it compromises that principle.

Zoho has enabled marketing teams to gather insights into the automation process by aggregating a marketing team’s automation process. The Zoho Marketing Plus Marketing Automation Dashboard displays the automation of a project or campaign. It has AI-powered data analytics that optimize customer preferences and track customer engagement. Based on this customer feedback, marketing teams can modify automation processes within a project.

Wrap

By unifying Zoho’s marketing platform, it furthers its goals of unifying the entire Zoho operating system into one well-oiled platform. Zoho unified the entire marketing process, creating a shared view of everything and collaboration between LOB and customers. The most compelling thing about Zoho Marketing Plus is that Zoho has been successfully offering marketing products for quite some time, and it’s Zoho that brings the whole platform together. The more Zoho can unify its products, the more valuable its tools become and the better CX.

Note: Jacob Freyman, Junior Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, contributed to this article.

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