SuiteWorld Day 2: NetSuite Plans to Bolster its Marketing Package

SAN JOSE, Calif. — "Disruption" was the theme at day two of SuiteWorld, NetSuite's annual user and partner conference, particularly as it relates to the way marketers reach customers. During his opening keynote, NetSuite's founder and chief technology officer, Evan Goldberg, took the stage to deliver a more detailed overview of the capabilities that will be available to customers. "You have a choice in this world," Goldberg said. "You can [either] disrupt or be disrupted. I think most of you all want to be the disruptors. … The way we built [our] platform allows you to be the disrupter. [The new disruption is] the consumer cloud." 

The company’s most significant development: optimizing marketing functions. "We have greatly advanced marketing automation in our system, and with the acquisition of Bronto, we're going to even be able to bring marketing automation to the next level," Goldberg said. "We’re scaling because you're scaling," he added. "We’re going to add a new data center in North America, which is now live … and if you're in Europe, you're going to get a data center too, coming this year." 

The company will certainly be beefing up on the data front. Goldberg highlighted a new partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, a longstanding provider of data, insights, and analytics. NetSuite intends to release what it is calling SuiteApp, which will run on the SuiteCloud development platform. With the app, companies will have quick access to a broad database of industry information.

Also "in the labs," according to Goldberg,  are new "intelligent marketing" predictive capabilities that will clue in marketers about how to better target potential customers. "We want to go beyond processing what you tell it to do; we want it to actually help you decide what to do—intelligent assistance, intelligent automation," Goldberg said. "We built a data science team so that they were going to be able to build features that predict, optimize, recommend, uncover valuable nonobvious insight to enable our customers to be proactively agile and disrupt your competitors." Goldberg noted that cluster data can also be applied to other functions besides marketing.

In a media and analyst session following the keynote, representatives from Bronto Software and NetSuite provided more insight regarding their plans to make the offering more appealing to marketing professionals. Andy Lloyd, general manager of commerce products at NetSuite, conceded that marketing capabilities have been a weakness of the company's—one significant enough to turn off many chief marketing officers when they were considering solutions.

But while the acquisition of Bronto could be exactly what NetSuite needs to fill the gap, the two companies intend to take the time necessary to design a solution that will effectively combine their strengths. "One of the reasons why we're not integrating Bronto in the same way that we have [with past smaller acquisitions] is we think we have an incredible team that will be able to take a look at what we can offer as combined companies, and figure out the best way to architect [the best] solution."

Patience is key for NetSuite, especially with the company's plans to move upmarket to serve larger companies. "[We're] moving from a system that runs [for] billion-dollar retailers to a system that, in five years, needs to run a ten-billion-dollar retailer, and it needs to go from running just transactional information to clickstream information and open information and all that kind of stuff—it's a pretty significant architectural decision, and we want to make sure we make it right."

Joe Colopy, founder and CEO of Bronto, suggested that its strength is in designing solutions that marketers will be compelled to use to make sense of large data sets. "A lot of [vendors] can create features, or throw technology at problems," he said. "That’s a piece of it—the real challenge is to make it approachable so people use it." 

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