Cloud computing has transformed how companies process data, discover insights, interact with customers and more. In fact, cloud computing is one of the biggest motivators behind many digital transformation initiatives, including marketing.
For marketing in particular, the cloud can unlock new insights into lead generation campaigns, hyper-personalized campaigns, and more through innovations like machine learning and real-time analytics. These platforms are maturing and becoming an environment where marketers can collaborate and perfect customer experience with boundless data.
Still, it’s not without limits. Organizations need to define their goals and marry them to what each vendor and platform can and can’t do. To add clarity, here are seven questions your company can ask when evaluating cloud marketing solutions:
What Are Its Unique Abilities?
There is no one-size-fits all solution on the market today. So it’s important to have a keen understanding of what is required and which vendors can meet those requirements. This includes evaluating a solution’s performance as a creative platform and its abilities, including CRM, marketing automation and e-commerce to delivery.
Who Owns the Cloud?
A cloud computing platform is a necessity for marketing cloud initiatives. There is an entire ecosystem of competing cloud computing platforms, each with their own pros and cons. Organizations need to assess which solution is best aligned with their needs and business objectives, and whether they should invest in their own cloud or that of a platform provider.
Who Serves the Cloud?
Organizations must evaluate how their marketing cloud platform will be supported. For example, some marketing clouds are backed by strong professional services organizations, like Oracle and SAP. Others lean on their partner networks to support marketing cloud solutions. Again, understanding what’s required of your marketing cloud will help your organization decide on the best option.
What Is the Cloud Provider’s Acquisition Strategy?
Many vendors try to be a jack of all — cloud computing — trades through acquisitions. Acquisitions and mergers may suggest enhanced capabilities on paper, but they may not provide the enhancements organizations need. Acquisitions take time to integrate, and they don’t always do so cleanly, leading to higher risks and costs.
Instead, organizations evaluating marketing clouds ought to evaluate the validity of an option based on what the provider offered before any mergers or acquisitions. This ensures that the basic needs in a marketing cloud are met without any implementation or integration surprises.
How Mature Is the Cloud Platform?
Platform maturity is an important quality in any marketing cloud decision. Take the time to identify a solution’s competency and maturity in the core capabilities your marketing cloud will need and any gaps that may need to be filled. There are four key areas to assess a marketing cloud solution’s maturity:
- CRM capabilities
- Personalization engine abilities
- Systems for online engagement and interaction
- How the solution analyzes customer data
Is It a Managed Service?
Marketing clouds are complex spaces, so understanding what’s expected or required from a vendor is critical. Consider whether your organization wants a complete managed service through its vendor or if it wants to manage different servicing parties for more flexibility.
Does It Scale?
Every organization plans for growth. SMBs, companies seeking to outsource and the largest global organizations must consider how their preferred marketing cloud solution scales. Is the vendor capable of scaling its clients on its own, or will it need to rely on preferred partners?
Cloud computing promises to unlock a massive amount of data and potential. This list is a primer for any organization seeking to adopt a cloud solution for its marketing needs in a digital-first era. Today’s rapidly evolving digital solutions are designed to meet the changing demands and needs of your customers to drive consumer engagement and loyalty. When evaluating which marketing cloud solution is right for your organization’s needs, multiple, complex sets of options should be considered to determine the optimal systems of engagement for your customers and business requirements.
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