When Samuel Coleridge wrote "water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink" about the ancient mariner's thirst on the open sea, he also captured the irony many marketers today face about their marketing intelligence.
Marketers are also surrounded by an ocean—one of data pouring in from all directions, both disparate channels and enterprise-wide. And while the mariner was surrounded by salt water unfit to drink, marketers are frustrated that much of the information surrounding them is unavailable for marketing purposes. But where the old sailor could only pray for wind or rain, marketers can look to The Cloud.
To survive in the multi-channel world, many marketing executives are struggling to gather and leverage marketing intelligence across disparate addressable marketing channels. They are challenged by the lack of integrated cross-channel data across marketing systems. In fact, according to research firm The Relevancy Group, only a third of marketers have integrated their CRM systems into operational marketing systems such as profile-and behavior-driven email. That difficulty in connecting customer intelligence to operational marketing systems increases marketing costs and slows campaign improvements.
Cloud based marketing intelligence solutions can accelerate organizations' time to market, advance relevance, and over a calendar year, improve marketing revenue by as much as a third. Here are four reasons why:
1. Data-Intensive Marketing Demands
Research shows that less than half of marketers have integrated their data warehouse with their email marketing applications, so marketers must explore new database marketing alternatives. This is particularly important for data intensive marketers that require advanced analytics and an integrated campaign management engine. Cloud based marketing intelligence solutions offer the benefits of a centralized marketing database, but also bring a lot more to the table.
Implementing a cloud based solution provides a critical edge in time to market. Where traditional managed service provider (MSP) solutions average nine months to implement, cloud based solutions take three months. Being able to quickly deploy and aggregate disparate data sources—while launching operational campaigns across multiple channels in an integrated campaign management application—is a valuable competitive advantage.
There are way too many examples from the CRM application provider heyday where the promise of customization resulted in false starts and consistent multi-month delays, making those CRM firms irrelevant applications. This speed to deploy and consistently adapt to new market conditions is a unique feature of cloud based MSPs over their traditional and historical MSP counterparts.
Cloud based marketing solutions let organizations purchase only specific marketing applications and services on demand. Marketers can work on their own terms and add functions when needed. While this might sound like a common promise from a traditional MSP, cloud based providers offer the agility to accomplish these requests much more rapidly.
Look for cloud based MSPs whose primary business focus is insight versus operational channel mechanisms. This approach allows the marketer the flexibility to use the provider's email, mobile or direct print capabilities, select the partner of their choice independently, or choose a solution that is SaaS-integrated with cloud-based marketing intelligence through Web-based interfaces.
Centralizing multi-channel marketing data in the cloud is the future of successful marketing, as it permits stakeholders across channels and departments to work fast, collaboratively. The best cloud based marketing intelligence solutions will focus on the insight that can be derived from multi-channel marketing data, opening the gateway to understanding multi-channel attribution, customer scoring and predictive modeling.
You'll also gain the ability to transfer data of heterogeneous sources into a structured multi-channel database, to transform data details into customer behavior patterns. Then you can turn information into actionable insight through vendor and client partnerships and multi-disciplined collaboration among subject matter experts and managers—database, analytics, strategists, and decision-making marketing and business managers.
Cloud based marketing can help you navigate successfully through the sea of data smarter, faster, and at a lower cost than ever before. In fact, research reveals that costs average 30% – 40% less than previous, traditional MSP solutions. Surrounded by an unprecedented amount of customer marketing data, we can turn to the Cloud to discover its power and build stronger, more profitable relationships with our customers and prospects across all channels.
Arthur Sweetser (firstname.lastname@example.org) is CMO of 89 Degrees.