Marketing in the cloud is changing how companies interact with their current and potential customers, and how they store and use data. Marketers are increasingly reaching consumers via digital channels. In fact, by 2020, the majority of users will be abandoning local, client-installed programs in favor of Web-based applications. (Forrester)
There are a variety of cloud-based marketing applications already in popular use today, ranging from CRM platforms to marketing automation tools. These resources are helping marketers track their campaigns and efforts, as well as customer interactions across mobile, social and Web channels. In this technological age, there are more ways to approach potential customers, as Internet usage has increased across devices – but it’s also harder to grasp their attention. Consumers are looking for unique, organic, engaging and personalized content. With cloud tools, marketers can develop new strategies based on data and develop more personalized and targeted marketing. These tools will probably tie into one of the following digital marketing components (The Hub):
- Multi-Channel Marketing Automation – For publishing and promoting content that helps marketers engage customers across several different channels.
- Content Management Tools – For creating and managing content and engagement tools that can be deployed across different channels.
- Social Media Tools – For listening to and engaging with social media networks, tapping into consumer conversations and responding with custom content.
- Analytics – For creating profiles of consumers based on their online behavior, and evaluating which marketing efforts are working.
Marketing in the Cloud
So what are some perks of the cloud for marketers? Well, let’s start with how it can impact their working style. Cloud computing makes information access easier, as users can securely access their data on the go from any Internet-connected device. This means that marketers can find inspiration wherever they are and create campaigns on the go. This flexible working environment is changing the way that products and services are being marketed and sold.
Aside from flexibility, cloud computing offers powerful analytics tools. As marketers gain real-time data from their marketing efforts, they can arrange and analyze it to provide better, more customized customer experiences moving forward. Thanks to marketing in the cloud, these professionals can test new channels with minimal risk, track leads, and determine which strategies and channels work best for the desired audience. Tools like CRM applications are helping marketers fully understand customers and their needs.
These analytics tools in the cloud tie into the growth we’ve seen in inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about the marketing activities that bring people in, like creating quality content that naturally pulls people toward the organization and its services. It has become apparent that powerful and engaging content generates traffic – but how are marketers determining what makes content powerful and engaging? With cloud-based data analytics, they can garner information on what content is performing best, how customers are interacting with it, and how they can alter marketing to fit demand or attract more attention. Popular cloud-hosted services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have helped drive this growth of inbound marketing.
Yup. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all cloud tools! Most people are unaware of how often they interact with the cloud. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people use it daily, as many of the common online platforms we visit are based in the cloud. This includes the previously mentioned social platforms, as well as MailChimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact, Google Analytics, CRM platforms, and more.
Marketing in the cloud isn’t a far away, future concept. It’s a reality today, with many big businesses already on their way. 92% of digital leaders indicated their organizations have clear digital marketing goals, and 94% agree that digital is at the top of their strategic agendas. Whistler BlackComb ski resort manages nine different social networks, creating and managing multi-tiered campaigns through the cloud tool HootSuite. And Whole Foods has fifty thousand followers on Pinterest, a cloud social platform used to create a core personality for the brand. These businesses can control their marketing platforms from any location at any time, making them much easier to maintain.
Businesses today should put digital at the core of their marketing strategies, dedicating resources to cloud tools that can help measure and optimize marketing efforts to put the right content in the right place at the right time. Cloud marketing resources also encourage innovation – 91% said their organization supported risk-taking and the testing of new marketing tactics. Today’s marketers should be heading towards digital marketing efforts in the cloud, and they’ll quickly find they’re on the path to success.