Acquia’s virtual Engage conference launched on Tuesday with a series of product updates across its open source Digital Experience Platform. The updates affect both Acquia’s Marketing Cloud, and its Drupal Cloud (the open source Drupal CMS is foundational to Acquia’s offerings; Dries Buytaert founded the Drupal open source project, and is also founder and CTO at Acquia).
Marketing Cloud updates. The AgilOne CDP (now Acquia CDP) offers 360-degree customer profiles, identity resolution, and the possibility of creating unified customer segments based on data sourced across the Marketing Cloud’s set of solutions. The CDP also brings machine learning capabilities to the generation of predictive and propensity data to support next-best-actions.
A new COVID-19 dashboard helps Acquia customers track and understand changes in channel and product preferences within their audiences.
Drupal Cloud updates. With the release of Drupal 9 in June, the need for brands to deploy the new Drupal instance or upgrade from Drupal 8 has led to the offering of the Acquia Migrate Accelerate, aimed at reducing the time and effort involved in the transition.
The new Acquia Cloud IDE (Integrated Development Environment) offers a cloud-based space for developers to build and test Drupal sites and applications. Of more direct relevance to marketers is the new Acquia CMS, a turnkey distribution of Drupal 9, fast to implement and with with lower set-up and update costs: integrated with this is Site Studio, which provides marketers with drag-and-drop experience creation capabilities, and WYSIWYG assembly of content, layout, and designs.
Content plus data equals experience. We took a deeper dive into the news with Kevin Cochrane, SVP Product Marketing at Acquia. “Every great experience is first-and-foremost powered by content, but it’s informed by data. Last year we made a bold acquisition, a company called AgilOne, which gave us our CDP, and over the course of this year we’ve worked diligently to put data at the core of the digital experience.”
The first step was to integrate the CDP with Acquia’s existing campaign management and personalization solutions in Acquia Marketing Cloud. “Now we’ve also integrated it into the Drupal Cloud, so we have one consistent digital-first platform.”
The Drupal Cloud enhancements, he said, are related to increasing velocity.”We’re helping organizations standardize on a new digital stack by migrating from earlier versions of Drupal, or any other legacy CMS, up to five times faster.” The aim is a single platform for content and data, with high levels of security and compliance.
“We see opportunities for customers looking to standardize on a new digital stack, because what’s held them back is constantly doing point initiative after point initiative, winding up with a hodge-podge of disconnected experiences; a bunch of silos that are holding them back.”
The new CMS extends Acquia’s commitment to make Drupal, the power of which is widely acknowledged, less difficult to configure and use. “It’s a highly curated, best practice distribution of Drupal with all of the recommended modules we believe people need in order to get up and running within days.” Site Studio, as part of Acquia CMS, is a low code solution to enable marketers to create experiences with no involvement from designers and developers.
The year of the CDP. “2021 is going to be the year of the CDP; it’s all going that way,” said Cochrane. In contrast with the internal efforts of Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce to implement their own CDPs, Cochrane points to the acquisition of an established CDP, AgilOne, as putting Acquia ahead of the pack. “It’s battle-tested and rock solid,” he said.
All data, across both clouds, now flows into the CDP, he said. “We are also announcing one, unified analytics layer generating all marketing reports.” On that foundation, Acquia is introducing 360 Marketing Analytics, a new set of marketing performance reports. As an open platform, Acquia DXP accepts integrations and data from other solutions marketers might be using.
Changing preferences under COVID. “That was the startling insight from the COVID-19 dashboard,” he said. “People’s product purchase preferences have changed wildly. It’s not just masks and hand sanitizers, it’s actually staples like the food they eat.”
As preferences change, different micro-segments appear, and can be detected by machine learning models. “We can uncover them, and then provide recommendations for what products, and when and how.”
Why we care. The accelerated pace of digital transformation, and the need for brands of all kinds to hone their data-based content marketing and commerce efforts, means that vendors in this space need to move to differentiate their offerings. There will be more examples of this over the coming weeks.
This story first appeared on MarTech Today.