Marketing Cloud Intelligence (MCI), what is it? Marketing intelligence platform? AI enabled business intelligence? Data integration engine? Well, yes, yes, yes, and more.
MCI is a lot of things, which can seem intimidating at first. But bear with us, not only can MCI provide immense value, when you boil it down, it’s actually pretty simple.
Whether you’re considering MCI for your own team or simply keeping up with the marketing technology landscape, we hope this article will give you a better understanding of the MCI a platform and what it could do for you.
Okay, before we begin, a little about ourselves and why we feel we are credentialed to write this. We are boreas, a company that is built around a passion for data and helping businesses use data to drive progress and growth.
We’ve spent the past few years helping companies large and small leverage the MCI platform. The following is our account of what makes this tool special.
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At its core, the MCI platform will help you obtain digital marketing data and transform it into insights you can use to understand and improve your digital marketing activity's effectiveness.
This process of obtaining and transforming data can be a daunting one. So to do this, MCI offers a plethora of features. It is in all of these features that the tool can seem overly complex and overwhelming.
Jumping straight into the weeds is an easy way to get lost. To simplify things, we will group all of MCI's features into three primary tasks. Each of these tasks represents a required step in any marketing analytics function. As we dive into each task, we'll outline how MCI supports it. The three tasks are:
Getting the raw data you need.
Formatting all that raw data.
Serving insights to those who need them.
Getting the Raw Data You Need.
Your team needs insights into digital marketing performance. To find the insights you need, one of the first steps will always be getting your hands on raw data. MCI helps with this by offering what they refer to as the “Data Integration Engine.” I’m sure you know exactly what that is so we’ll move to the next step.
The data integration engine is an incredibly powerful part of MCI. Basically, the data integration engine allows you to connect to hundreds of different digital marketing platforms and data storage providers and obtain raw data from each by simply logging into your accounts.
To best illustrate why this is so powerful, let's think about life without the data integration engine. Without MCI you’d basically be left with two options in getting the raw data you need:
Spend a boatload of time exporting files from all your digital marketing platforms and internal data sources and a boatload of time in excel trying to piece everything together.
Spend a boatload of time and money trying to hire data engineers who can build and manage these connections programmatically themselves.
Obviously, both of these are not ideal. I can’t stress enough the importance of having access to the data integration engine.
As we know, digital marketing moves a million miles an hour. Consumer behaviors and platform capabilities are changing every day. The data integration engine gives you the power to have analytics that can keep up with these changes, always ensuring your team has the raw data it needs.
Formatting all that raw data.
With the data integration engine we have access to all the raw data we need. But this data is coming from all sorts of platforms in all different shapes and sizes. With today’s omni-channel marketing landscape, the last thing we’d want are data silos keeping us from being able to see how our digital marketing is performing across channels.
Cue the MCI data model.
Now before you close out this tab because I mentioned the term "data model", stick with us, this data model is like the Harry Styles of data models, you’re gonna want to be its friend.
For reference, when we say "data model" we're talking about how all your raw data is structured and stored. A data model is important because it can play a major role in what can be analyzed and how much effort it takes to find insights.
MCI took the traditional sense of a data model and merged it with the world of digital marketing and supercharged it with automation and machine learning. To put in plainly, MCI can take all the raw data you need and automatically store it in a way that reflects how digital marketing works and makes it extremely easy to get to the insights that will drive your business forward.
Some of the most impactful results of the MCI data model that we've seen are:
Reduced time spent putting together reports and analysis.
True omni-channel reporting instead of channel siloed performance views.
Opportunities for more advanced analytics such as machine learning and prescriptive analysis (head nod to Einstein Marketing Insights).
The MCI data model is like having a unicorn on your marketing team with years of database administration and digital marketing experience who also happens to be a robot that provides your team with clean, structured, and analysis ready data automatically.
Serving insights to those who need them.
To this point, we’ve got all the raw data we need and we have it stored in a structure that’s ripe for omni-channel reporting. Now all that is left is actually doing something with it.
Luckily for you, MCI provides numerous ways for your team to obtain the insights they need to maximize marketing performance and returns. Here’s a sampling of ways in which MCI helps you make use of your data:
Dashboards (called Collections in MCI): Dashboards, when done right, can be a staggering value driver to your business. With MCI’s visualization capabilities, you have everything you need to build high-end dashboards.
Activations: Activations allow you to trigger automated actions that alert your team or systems of something that needs attention. Activations are a great way to bring insights directly to you.
Einstein Marketing Insights: With Einstein Marketing Insights, you can automatically mine data and identify the drivers of marketing trends in seconds.
App Marketplace: The newly added app marketplace allows independent developers to create apps that bring novel capabilities to the MCI platform that can be downloaded in seconds.
MCI API: MCI offers an intuitive API that you can use to merge MCI data and features in your own internal apps and business processes.
There you have it, MCI.
What makes MCI such a special tool is that it can accomplish each of the above tasks all in a single platform that is built for marketers. Although at first the tool may seem overwhelming, if you focus on the needs of your business, you'll find the capabilities of the tool will fall intuitively into place and the results can be stunning.
As you may have noticed we like to geek out on this stuff. Feel free to reach out to talk shop or test us with your questions. Our door is always open, firstname.lastname@example.org.