6 Questions Marketers Need to Ask Before Embarking on Cloud-Based Campaign Management
Cloud-based business solutions are creating a lot of buzz lately. And no wonder: World-class software applications are now available to fit any budget, providing speed-to-market advantages, with the majority of IT costs taken out of the equation.
The mainstay for direct marketers—campaign management—is finally available in the cloud, too. Marketing organizations of all sizes can get the sophistication and power they need without the IT cost and overhead of enterprise solutions, and their never-ending upgrade and maintenance regimens.
So how does an organization begin to use and benefit from cloud-based marketing solutions? A good starting point is asking the following questions:
- Data—What are your data sources? How often are they updated? Identification of key marketing, customer, and interaction data sources has always been the bedrock your marketing capabilities are built upon. With cloud-based campaign management solutions, you may also be able to capture value from currently overlooked sources.
- Hygiene—If there are multiple data sources, do you have a common key? Are there likely to be duplicates? Is there a need for enrichment from third-party data sources? Do you need a multi-dimensional customer view (e.g. account, customer, household)?
- Channels—What marketing channels do you wish to employ? Email, direct mail, mobile, social? And in what order? Do you need to orchestrate a multichannel communications strategy? Do you need real-time communications?
- Segmentation—Is there an existing customer segmentation scheme? Is it effective? Do you need to improve or augment the segmentations currently in place?
- Content—How focused and relevant are your interactions with customers? Do you need to customize each message to fit the customer's known interests, or are a few variations sufficient? Are you working with limited versions and testing due to technology constraints? Could you increase conversions with more granular cells and dynamic content?
- Analytics—How is customer modeling done? Do you employ predictive models? Which ways do you collect and use response data? Do you need cross-channel response attribution? Better attribution?
With these key questions answered, you can begin to plan for a cloud-based marketing solution.
Anticipating Roadblocks: Fortunately, there are remarkably few roadblocks to using cloud-based marketing tools, and the best news is: they're not related to technology. Difficulties may occur if you're unable to access existing data which may be held in proprietary systems. You might encounter organizational resistance if channel-specific solutions are already in place. And legitimate data security concerns need to be addressed. But these barriers are not new, nor unique to cloud-based solutions—include stakeholders early in the process, and the cloud is a win for everyone.
Big Benefits: Cloud-based campaign capabilities frequently eclipse their on-premises brethren. More effective targeting, greater relevancy, and increased nimbleness lead to superior results at a lower cost of ownership: no large hardware and database investments, nor in-house IT specialists to manage upgrades. (These are done seamlessly in the cloud.) Organizations can rapidly exploit these capabilities to orchestrate effective cross-channel customer dialogues, offering relevant content at each interaction.
With lower upfront investment and faster deployment, marketers can realize quick ROI—and continuously improve results. Cloud-based marketing solutions can provide what every organization covets: sophisticated capability and great results, all for a predictable monthly subscription fee.