Years ago, when I was a marketing manager of a consumer business, the closest thing to marketing automation was the CRM software. If you had the wherewithal to milk it, then you were certainly on top of the game as a marketer. Things were less complicated then. There were fewer channels of engagement and marketing communication was delivered in concentrated doses to customers.
Fast forward to the present, technology, the omnipresent enabler allows marketers to push and pull layers of customer communication, time their engagements, consistently deliver across channels and most importantly understand what channels are performing for the business.
The marketing cloud could be the recourse for marketers in this age of digital disruption.
We are experiencing tectonic shifts in content distribution due to the burgeoning digital consumption by audiences across multiple channels namely mobile, web, social media and emails.
The marketing cloud is an unexplored territory for many a marketer. My assessment is that only 1-2% of companies, mainly large enterprises, are either using a Marketing Cloud or have been exposed to one.
Let’s first understand what constitutes the Marketing Cloud. To put this in a simple manner, the Marketing Cloud is a platform that potentially integrates the following parts -
Marketing Automation Engine allows you to publish, test and schedule content. Simplify repetitive tasks such as sending emailers, social tracking and lead management.
Customer Onboarding Application backed by a robust Content Management System (CMS). Create microsites, unique interfaces and personalized experiences.
Social Media Engagement Hub. Listen to what audiences are saying about your brand across social media networks. Through the hub, you can moderate discussions with segments for users and influencers.
Digital Media Optimiser. Schedule and optimize your brand spends on digital media.
Analytics and Insights Engine. Understand customer behavior and measure the performance of your campaigns. Set metrics for performance and ROI.
Digital Asset Manager. Archive, retrieve and share all your stored digital creatives.
Marketers can pick and choose any part or parts as per the marketing requirement. This makes it a flexible platform.
Here are five ways that a Marketing Cloud can be effective for a brand:
1. Data is currency
Collect Data from various channels into a single module before it can be processed and put to use. The Marketing Cloud has the power to understand customer preferences and behavior and marketers can leverage predictive analytics based on machine learning to help create a suitable campaign for each individual customer resulting in increased engagement.
2. Drive to measure content and channel performance
Marketers need to deliver a return on their digital spends. The first step to this to define the metrics of measurement, in short – what to measure? For example, for your email marketing, it could be a 7% CTR (Click Through Rates) and Form Conversion Rates.
The Marketing Cloud allows the marketer to measure day-to-day performance and take necessary corrections for the next communication.
3. Create unique and personalized experiences
What makes the Marketing Cloud exciting is that it provides tools to create personalized experiences on multiple channels - be it web, social, email or mobile. Advanced algorithms use the captured customer data to make recommendations that are based on past behavior and observations. Map customer journeys and automate the delivery of personalized content. It gets better with every engagement.
4. Listen to what your customers have to say
There are conversations, social mentions about your brand that can be captured in real time. Search the social web for potential sales leads and manage the brand’s online reputation.
5. Hire and train the right team members
Technology doesn’t work by itself. You need smart people who are qualified to understand the technology, capability and results that a Marketing Cloud can deliver.
Regardless of the nature of the business, be it a Banking and Financial Institution, an ecommerce or any consumer business, the use of the Marketing Cloud stays relevant. Every brand needs to profile and segment customers, publish content, run campaigns across all relevant channels and measure effectiveness of communication sent. It’s time to evaluate the possibility of investing in a Marketing Cloud and make it work for the brand 24 X 7.
(The author is CEO, Genuus brand advisory)