Salesforce AppExchange who? Just kidding, sort of… Although the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (MCI) App Marketplace doesn’t yet have 5,000 different solutions to download like its Salesforce counterpart, that might just be even more reason to pay attention.
This post will explore the opportunities that lie hidden in the MCI App Marketplace for marketing technology providers and platforms.
To start, we’ll begin with the MCI platform.
MCI is a marketing analytics platform that allows teams to easily connect to hundreds of digital marketing platforms, then ingest, structure and store data from all these platforms and finally use that data to deliver omni-channel marketing insights via dashboards, activations, and a plethora of other mediums.
Essentially, MCI is the entire marketing analytics process in a single tool. Because of its power and simplicity, MCI has become one of the most relied upon analytics platforms for marketing teams.
This reliability can best be exemplified by taking a look at MCI’s customer base. Of the companies MCI serves, there’s barely any vertical, size, or type that’s not represented.
On top of that, because MCI is built to deliver omni-channel insights, marketers of all roles, specialties and rankings are using the tool to get the insights they need.
Okay, I know this is an article on the App Marketplace and I promise we’re about to get there, but it’s important to first understand who/what we’re working with here.
With a tool that's built to work with virtually any marketing data and resonates with virtually any type of company and marketer, the opportunities are seemingly endless.
Here’s where the App Marketplace comes in. Instead of trying to build infinite capabilities themselves, MCI has opened up their platform to allow you to do it yourself, leveraging MCI’s data, features and clients to your own benefit.
The app marketplace is essentially an app store where marketers can explore and download custom solutions directly to their MCI workspace. Meaning you have a grand opportunity to be there the moment they are looking for what you have to offer.
To better understand this grand opportunity, we’ll provide more information on the two different types of solutions you can build on the App Marketplace.
The first is what’s called a data connector. If we refer back to our earlier description of the MCI platform, one of the most valuable capabilities of the tool is how it gives its users easy access to data from hundreds of marketing platforms. A data connector is basically the feature in MCI that allows users to do this.
A data connector is there to ensure your clients (who use MCI) have access to your data in MCI and are including your platform in their reporting and analytics. Without it, you're either not included in your users reporting or your users are having to spend time manually managing the connection between your platform and MCI.
But the potential value of a data connector is not isolated to your existing clients who use MCI. Because data connectors are such a pivotal part of any MCI workspace, data connectors are highly visible. By simply having a data connector available for download, you put your platform in a prime position to generate awareness right as marketers are looking for data and information.
Just take a look at the current roster of data connectors...
To create a data connector on the app marketplace, all that’s needed are a set of API endpoints that MCI will use in their UI to authenticate the user’s credentials, allow them to select a specific profile/sub-profile, and ultimately send data to MCI on a regular schedule.
Data connectors allow marketers to access your platform's data directly in their MCI workspace. Marketplace apps, which we will discuss next, allow you to introduce custom solutions that leverage not just your data, but any data and features available in MCI.
Marketplace apps are essentially a web application hosted on the MCI platform and made available for all MCI users to download for free or for payment.
But, these aren’t any normal web applications. What makes these so special is the MCI SDK. By developing on the MCI platform, you have access to the MCI SDK, allowing marketplace apps to leverage virtually any of the underlying data and features of the platform.
This is huge for a few reasons. It’s not everyday you have access to a dataset that contains clean, omni-channel marketing data. It's all but unthinkable to have such a dataset for thousands of businesses. But that’s exactly what you get when developing marketplace apps.
In addition to clean, omni-channel data, marketplace apps can leverage features such as Einstein Marketing Insights, Activations and others.
For example, let's say you specialize in search engine optimization (SEO). You may have extensive SEO data and advanced capabilities for monitoring SEO trends. By developing a marketplace app, you'd be able to leverage your SEO data alongside paid media data to build and use a cross-channel dataset. Then with this dataset you can leverage both your existing capabilities and features such as Einstein Marketing Insights to deliver novel insights and actions that help marketing teams understand how/if their paid media is impacting their organic rankings and organic web traffic.
Obviously, this is just one example. The opportunities for marketplace apps span nearly all areas of marketing.
Because marketplace apps are a full-fledged web application, the development efforts are larger than data connectors. But to help manage these efforts MCI provides extensive documentation for both the MCI SDK and the process of developing marketplace apps. They even offer a development playground where you can test and iterate all from within the marketplace itself.
There you have it, the MCI App Marketplace.
Armed with this information, we hope you can start to picture how you can leverage solutions such as data connectors and marketplace apps to extend the value of your platform for both new and existing users.
If you think the MCI App Marketplace is a potential value driver for your platform, we offer free consultation calls where we help providers better understand how they can make the most of this opportunity. Feel free to reach out anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule!