Gumtree get to grips with its data


Leading listings site Gumtree on the benefits of a Data Management Platform (DMP) and how to choose between the software giants.

Around since 2000, the UK’s#1 classified ads site, Gumtree, recently decided to take the plunge and update its data management platform, in order to increase collaboration across marketing, advertising, sales and technology teams to ultimately grow the customer base.

According to Similarweb Gumtree is the 23rd largest website in the UK with an estimated 65.2million visits in January 2017:

Gumtree vital statistics (Source: SimilarWeb)

We caught up with Nick Martin, Gumtree’s Head of Commercial Operations, to find out more about the process of engaging with one of the software giants—Oracle—and what exactly a DMP will help Gumtree to achieve.

Gathering up the threads

The problem with Gumtree’s previous set up, says Martin, is that it was “a muddle of proprietary data technology and some smaller vendors. It just wasn’t good enough for a site with our scale. Gumtree has grown steadily over the years and has gathered technology along the way, so it was time for a fresh approach.

“We had an effective technical setup, but it’s very difficult to execute joined-up, coordinated campaigns across social, display, search etc. when you’ve collected lots of legacy systems. Some data sits in silos, which means it isn’t as effective.”

Gumtree developed a thorough request for proposals, sending it to six different providers. “We grouped the responses by 15 different criteria, covering things such as local support, cross-device attribution modelling, first- versus third-party data, analytics and obviously value for money. We then plotted those factors on a matrix, whittled the contenders down to four, then two and at that point we discussed final pricing, eventually selecting Oracle Marketing Cloud [the DMP technology was formerly called BlueKai].”

Oracle's DMP

Martin was pleasantly surprised at the reception they received: “We decided to employ Oracle’s own integration team to help us through the process—it was well worth the extra. Their consultant was beyond enthusiastic, helpful and has been present over the course of the last six months to talk us through any issues that we’ve faced. He’s also been on hand to work with us to connect [mobile app tracking solution] Adjust with Oracle Marketing Cloud in a first for both companies.”

Gumtree is also using Oracle’s AppCloud: “The best thing about the AppCloud is how easy it is to connect to a third-party technology. If it has been done before, and you have an account with the vendor, it’s literally two minutes to connect.”

Early wins and several surprises

The decision to upgrade to a data management platform has unlocked things for Gumtree: “For the first time, we are having conversations with clients and agencies about data-only transactions and video advertising that we’ve just not been able to have before.” Excited by the possibilities, Martin calls DMPs “a bit of a Swiss Army knife—there’s lots of cool things you can do with it.”

He says that the biggest win has been seeing new levels of creativity from Gumtree’s Display Sales teams. “Part of the challenge with a big piece of software is managing expectations internally. You have to fight the battle against sky high expectations of a data management platform (DMP)—that it will immediately increase clickthrough rates or be profitable within three months. You may hear stories like that, but they’re either rare or not entirely accurate.

“Once the dust settled and the new DMP was in place, our commercial teams could start to think creatively. There are lots of things a DMP allows you to do, so you need listen to the market and choose the right opportunities to test and learn. The really nice part has been that people are thinking really big about what we can achieve with data. Data is now front and centre in terms of conversations and planning sessions for the bigger briefs.”

There have been some surprises: “The nicest surprise has been the level of support from integration as Customer Success team—beyond what we’d expected or planned for. Very often with support teams you report an issue, wait, and it gets fixed via a ticketing system. Oracle have their ticketing system too, but we’ve had some solid support from people at a senior level in the UK. It’s nice to get an ‘anything you need?’ email that isn’t an upsell!

“Not so nice was having less bandwidth that we would have liked to test and learn. Also, finding some legacy gaps in our data that needed patching. It’s a bit like buying a nice new kitchen. You can get people in to fit the kitchen, but that might also raise issues with the plumbing that also needs sorting.”


Acquisitive giants

As we’ve covered in Rise of the Marketing Clouds and with the TFM 2016 marketing cloud panel, the major players in the space have spent big on acquiring technologies to plug into their software suites. Martin sees this as an inevitability: “It’s part of the continued growth of the digital advertising industry. When players like IBM, GE and Salesforce are wading in with acquisitions and big data consultancy services, it shows how ubiquitous digital media has become.”

Gartner's Magic Quadrant 2016 analysis of digital marketing hubs, showing IBM Marketing Cloud as a challenger

“Personally, I think the marketing clouds are fairly similar. There’s little to choose between in terms of features because everyone is copying each other. But, with any overarching suite of software, you need to be aware of the challenges of working with a massive business as their customer.”

If Martin were recommending one of the big suites to someone in a similar position at another company, he says he’d tell them to look at the customer service records of each. “We currently work with—in various capacities—Google, Salesforce and Oracle. I can clearly rank them in terms of customer service (but won’t here!)—from pretty good, to totally AWOL. I’d tell someone to solicit feedback on that basis.”

He also thinks that was about time that marketing became such a fiercely contested area in terms of technological innovation: “Agencies have done a great job in communicating their value to marketers, especially with the more creative above-the-line campaigns. This has probably put off some of the more difficult decisions within marketing teams. I also think the rise of social media, and Facebook in particular, has created the perfect conditions for creative marketing with a real need for great data.”

Nick Martin is Head of Commercial Operations at Gumtree –

6 steps to improve your customer engagement from Oracle Marketing Cloud

If you’re a marketer, consider this: you’re living in the greatest era imaginable.

It’s a time when opportunities to connect and engage with customers are limitless; where a technology gains more value the more people use it, and Generations from X to Z interact fluently across an infinite mediascape.

Content distribution platforms have turned trusted communications like email into personalised broadcast channels that make every customer feel like your only customer.

But there’s a twist. In this world of abundance, one critical factor remains scarce: people’s attention. There is no “mass audience” anymore, but a billion narrow audiences. Creating content that selects potential customers – not the biggest audience, but the right audience – needs accurate data, insightful analysis, and technologies that do the work for you.

So in this landscape, how can you really engage your prospects? Here are our top tips.

1. Content marketing is at a crossroads

Interest in content marketing exploded in 2011, with 77% of companies planning to spend more on content in 2016

Interest in content marketing has skyrocketed since 2011, as has the volume of it produced by marketers. But in this crowded environment, even a relevant and well-researched piece can be lost in noise.

To combat this, some marketers try to increase their viewing figures by being more generic – which is the wrong road to take. To appeal to your specific audience, your content must pinpoint their interests, not everyone’s. That’s content marketing today: at a crossroads.

2. Customers shouldn’t have to work hard. Nor should you.

Nearly 70% of shopping carts are abandoned. And it’s not going down.

See Oracle Marketing Cloud at Technology for Marketing 2016, register for free today:

Orchestrating highly targeted and individualised e-mail marketing campaigns for your prospects and customers takes more than just great creative and a good subject line. At TFM 2016, Jon Stanesby  will take you through advanced email strategies that engage your customers and drive results. Prioritising activities, organising and training your  team, maximising the use of content, and applying communication governance are just some of the strategic areas discussed to help you take your e-mail marketing strategy to the next level.

An offer at the wrong moment is as bad as the wrong offer altogether. A simple statistic – shopping cart abandonment rates – shows how many marketers fail to hit the reader with the right content, at the right time. (How often do you abandon your cart in a real supermarket? Almost never.)

If you’re not making the engagement process easy, you’re losing customers. But that process isn’t the same for everybody. And you can’t follow every customer around to watch what they do. That’s our second principle: look for technologies that crunch the work for you. Marketing automation can assemble, schedule, and send communications for you… when the customer’s ready for them. Learning as it goes.

  1. Don’t try make prospects care; understand what they care about

Each new day brings 2 million blog posts, 300 billion emails, 1m hours of video.

The biggest problem when engaging prospects is just the volume of content out there. Every piece you publish carries an “opportunity cost” for your reader; 80% of readers never get past a headline. Make that cost an investment – by understanding what they want to consume, before they consume it.

Key learning is that it’s not just the content you produce, but the channel you distribute on that builds engagement and comfort. Shares on Facebook are different to articles on LinkedIn; you’re connecting not just to your customer, but to the group around him/her in a given situation. The medium is not the message – but it does provide context. And if you’re in the wrong context, you can’t be authentic.

  1. IKEA Israel: a case study in authenticity

The furniture retailer kept it real with a TV partnership – challenging contestants on reality show Big Brother to not just live in a house on air, but build it. (No contestant could sit on a chair, or eat at a table, without assembling it from an IKEA flatpack.)

Traditional mass-media marketing might class this as risky. It was: that’s what made it real. Contestants made mistakes, got frustrated, lost fastenings… just as in real life. Viewers absorbed the IKEA brand naturally, without feeling they were being marketed to. And if you think it can’t work for B2B, think again.

  1. Data three ways: customising for every action

5a. Personalisation: Don’t stop at Dear Deidre

Today’s technologies take personalisation, well, personally. It’s not just Firstname Lastname any more – inserting fields into a piece of text – but juggling whole areas of text, from calls to action to entire paragraphs, based on patterns that emerge as insights from your data.

“Data is the most valuable thing we have because we know what people are looking for. We can conceivably have 1,000 different user groups. The product marketing team starts having much more personal  conversations. Lynx deodorant ran a campaign with 100 different permutations. That’s where content marketing is going to go – and more.” – Jack Davies, Head of Content, Saatchi & Saatchi

Watch: Is personalisation marketing’s trump card?

Take the humble marketing email. With intelligent personalisation, a Subject Line, sign-off, or subhead can be customised in a thousand variants that boost response and conversion probability for each individual approached. It makes the old A/B split look like kindergarten stuff. And that’s just the start.

5b. Automation: Rise of the machines

These days, “automating delivery” means a lot more than setting the ‘send’ date. Today’s machine intelligence looks at the “meta” of every piece of content: its themes, topics, keywords and phrases. And delivers them to the people they’ll resonate with.

Making good content is not the problem. It’s getting it seen by the right audience in the right channel. How do we evolve the media mix to ensure we’re meeting our objectives?” – Tom Osborne, Senior Content Manager, Digital, British Gas

Watch: Kevin Akeroyd, Oracle – Oracle Modern Marketing

5c. Prediction: Looking over the horizon

The last part of the puzzle involves looking ahead to what happens next. Not just tailoring a communication based on statistics you’ve gleaned from herd behaviour, but looking at the level of the individual… and using multidimensional criteria to anticipate what he or she wants next, often in real time. (For the classic read on this, try Eric Siegel’s Predictive Analytics.)

Watch: Eric Siegel, How Predictive Analytics Delivers on the Promise of Big Data

“Chat encourages and relies on bi-directional communications. Because of this, the person who is thinking about their content strategy has to think not just about what the brand is going to say, but how it is going to listen. It encourages a creative mindset that is lacking in the vast majority of marketing mediums” – Josh Jacobs, President, Kik Interactive

Prediction is about more than seeing where a click happened. Some important learnings aren’t connected up in mass data, such as if people read a web page but respond by phone. (No click there!) Predictive personalisation happens at the level of individual preferences, not herd behaviour. Does an individual attend many conferences? Prefer videoconferencing to the phone? Gets on a plane rather than calls a meeting? These are the learnings that matter, if you want to be there for what people do next.

  1. Connecting the dots with old faithful: email

Everyone gets too many emails. So the ones that get read need to matter. Fortunately, email today has evolved – from pieces of text exchanged person-to-person, into an intimately personalised medium providing with individualised content experiences that make sense of each recipient’s informational world.

That’s why, in a world of interactive, real-time, hyper-personal, reshared, viral content, the backbone of your marketing might well be the oldest medium on the Internet: email.

As a person-to-person medium, email has the intimacy that builds prospect comfort, while landing in an Inbox adds that sense of permanence a glanced-at web page or news feed item doesn’t have. And since each campaign builds on your body of statistics and metrics – all of which can be analysed, criticised, and mixed together in a multitude of ways – you’re learning more, and driving higher conversion probabilities, with every new campaign and project.

The signs are clear: if you want to make the most of personalisation, automation, and prediction, email wins.

It’s how companies are driving a fourfold increases in sales.

Or a 40% open rate with 4% CTR.


Automation is bigger than scheduling 9am sends and auto-responses
Prediction is about the individual, not the herd
Email is the old medium that can connect all the new ones
Email delivers statistics that help you learn, and learn, and learn
Email has the intimacy to connect…but the ability to scale
Content marketing can go two ways: genericised or personalised

Customers shouldn’t have to work hard, and nor should marketers
Don’t make prospects care; understand what they care about
Personalisation today is about more than inserting merge fields

Oracle Marketing Cloud updates: Pricing, academy, partners

An image with the text The Oracle marketing cloud updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guideWhat’s in our Oracle Marketing Cloud hub?

What’s in the Oracle Marketing Cloud?

In April 2014, Oracle announced it was getting into the marketing cloud space, bringing together tech assembled through acquisition, including Eloqua (marketing automation), Responsys (cross-channel marketing), Compendium (content distribution) and BlueKai (data management). In December 2014 it added Datalogix (marketing analytics) and in the middle of 2015, testing and optimisation firm Maxymiser was acquired.

Oracle breaks up the offerings into cross-channel, content and social marketing and data management. This includes:

  • Oracle Eloqua – Marketing automation software based on cross-channel campaigns, with analytics. Ostensibly for marketing to businesses.
  • Oracle Responsys – A similar raft of tools but for marketing to consumers, with some nifty real-time consumer behaviour features.
  • Content Marketing – Includes centralised content planning, personlisation, tailored workflows for content generation, cross-channel and social media publishing and analytics.
  • Social Marketing – social listening, engagement, publishing and analytics.
  • Oracle Data Management Platform (AKA Oracle DMP or Oracle Bluekai) – For managing audience data, analytics, a 3rd party audience data marketplace and pre-integrated advertising partners.

Oracle’s approach is slightly different from its marketing cloud competitors, such as Salesforce (TFM’s updates hub), IBM (updates hub) and Adobe (updates hub), with an explicit emphasis being made on openness and integration rather than being a “monolithic suite”.

Oracle created a gently amusing cartoon series to elaborate on their “Modern Marketing” campaign for the marketing cloud – the trailer for Season 1 is an entertaining two minutes:

Oracle Marketing Cloud pricing

Oracle Eloqua’s monthly cost for a database under 10,000 contacts is $2,000 for the Basic plan (up to 10 marketing users), $4,000 for Standard (up to 50 marketing users and adding various features including priority service) and you’d need to contact sales about the Enterprise plan.

TrustRadius puts Oracle Responsys’s entry-level setup fee at $16,250 per account.

Oracle Marketing Cloud updates: What’s the latest news?

NOVEMBER 2015 – New features
A raft of new upgrades to OMC let marketers orchestrate mobile customer engagement, clearly attribute revenue to marketing activities, and optimise experiences for individual customers – VentureBeat.

OCTOBER 2015 – New features

New product Match Multiplier was announced the OpenWorld conference, designed to bring together participating Marketing Cloud users to anonymously “pool” their capacity to identify customers across multiple channels. Other new features include Offline Data Append and Business Units for Content MarketingAd Exchanger.

AUGUST 2015 – Acquisition

Oracle slots cloud-based marketing tools provider Maxymiser – used for testing, optimisation and personalisation – into its marketing cloud lineup – Business Cloud News.

Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy

A cartoon representation of an online course

The Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy offers a range of classes for marketing professionals to hone their chops.

Course are split up into the four broad segments that Oracle identifies for its marketing cloud products – B2B, B2C, data management and content marketing.

You can get onsite or remote, team or one-on-one training. Content can be consumed on demand or via interactive webcast.

Customer of OMC can buy an All Access Education Pass (AAEP) for individuals.

There are two Oracle Eloqua (B2B) certification programs – the B2B Marketing Masters and B2B Marketing Luminary.

Supposedly there are certification programmes coming (“in 2015”) for Oracle Responsys (B2C) – dubbed “B2C Marketing Campaign Master” and “B2C Marketing Program Master”.

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