A staggering 98% of European organisations are now doing business transactions via online channels, according to a recent report compiled by Quocirca and sponsored by Neustar.
The Online Domain Maturity Report also highlights that, for the majority of these organisations, the online domain is one of the most important technological assets and demands industry professionals to be highly technology literate and savvy.
Consequently, it is no surprise that the pressure is on marketing teams to deliver at an even higher level of output than ever before. In this digital age, marketing professionals are now expected to wrestle with continually-rising subscribers, as well as multiple devices, applications and platforms and always be relevant. Nevertheless, where technology has brought about these challenges, it can also provide the solutions.
The shift to cloud for businesses is continually growing– why? It improves marketers’ lives by providing accurate data in a personable and much more easily accessible way. Using cloud services means the growing complexities of marketing can be more easily managed and supervised under one umbrella, in a centralised management service.
Based on my experience as a CMO who works with CMOs, here are nine benefits of cloud-based management services that marketing professionals should consider:
1. Anytime, Anywhere
User-friendliness is one of the main perks of cloud services allowing access services on the move wherever you are. Enter through any device on a web browser and employees have the option to work from home, at a café, on an airplane or wherever they need access to emails and documents out of the office.
This easy accessibility can transform a business to be entirely agile and portable and as everything is set up with the provider, businesses aren’t tied down to hardware installed at a specific location thereby freeing businesses to react to changing landscapes and grow in multiple locations across the world with ease.
In short, technology can grow in line with business needs.
Cloud gives marketers the freedom to scale up and down easily on demand and server capacity can be easily bought to meet increased customer demand.
This is particularly important for marketers because it is such a fast moving sector with customer satisfaction at its core. A scalable solution means a customer can be easily placated at the click of a button.
3. Money saving (no CapEx) – The CFO’s like this one too
Cloud-based management services cut out the middle man. There is no need for spending on in-house IT maintenance or infrastructure support because the cloud provider oversees and maintains the platform and hardware.
The only resource required on an institutional level is integration into in-house IT. However, the benefits more than outweigh the cost as this is only a one-off fee and is far more cost effective than continually buying in house hardware.
On an infrastructural level, there is no wasted capacity. Investing into purchasing hardware and storage runs up unnecessary bills with wasted extra capacity. Cloud management systems work on a ‘pay as you go’ system which means that businesses only need to pay for capacity as and when needed to suit the business’ needs. This of course, means all money is invested effectively and nothing is wasted; a cost-effective technology that pays for itself.
4. Time Saving
A marketer’s life is pretty busy, so there really isn’t time to sit and play with complex data servers for hours. Real-time response means marketers can respond to customer needs with rapid speed. They can roll out new services overnight and without overhead costs.
5. Trend Spotting
Real-time response can also help marketers identify trends in the moment as they are happening. Also, combining both media and audience data enables marketers to effectively allocate media dollars, resulting in increased reach and improved media spend efficiency. Using this to their advantage, marketers have a chance to design campaigns around upcoming trends and overtake their competitors by being ahead of the game.
6. Cross-channel device synchronisation - consumers expect it
As mobile devices continue to rocket in popularity for consumer online use, cross-channel and cross-device integration management and compatible functionality has become a necessity on both portable and desktop formats. This standardisation and integration is a greatly important feature within cloud service tools.
7. Online/ Offline Connections
Connecting media and audience data both online and offline creates a singular holistic view of the customer, meaning no data is missed and results in the most accurate and relevant communication with your audiences.
By connecting online and offline data, marketers more effectively close the sales loop and ensure that the display ad reached the right consumer, on the right device, at the right time, with the right message. To do this, a multiplatform attribution model that ties in offline data will highlight the most successful channels for converting a potential sale into an actual sale. It also flags the best channels to be considered for the next media buy.
8. Relevance and Personalisation is now a reality
Cloud- based management services work in ways that allow the user to look into granular details. For marketers, this means the ability to identify, verify and segment audiences in great detail, understanding customers and providing the best possible marketing messages in line with their interests. This personalisation can also be further applied to products and services for individual customers.
In a business sense, personalisation also applies to how you tailor the service built around your specific business needs.
All good cloud providers have data backup systems in place to prevent the loss of end-users’ data, making the service reliable and again cost effective.
Organisations could learn a lot through deploying analytics tools and measuring user experience. As highlighted in the Quocirca report, since firms are now over involved in managing in house technology platforms which support their online e-domains, many are subsequently failing to spend time and resource on these useful functions. The best way to free themselves from this burden is either to outsource web sites and online applications in their entirety, or at least key aspects that ensure performance and security such as DNS infrastructure management, content distribution, and security requirements.
By welcoming the cloud into your company marketing department or marketing agency, you are one step closer towards becoming the multi-tasking, relevant, marketing guru your clients expect you to be.
By Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO at Neustar.
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