Marketers today find themselves needing to keep up with an abundance of new opportunities for creating, distributing and accessing content via new technologies, devices and touchpoints. With brand dialogues taking place in real time, expectations are high for marketers to be faster than ever before, relying on new technology to implement timely campaigns and responding to customers on the right medium at the right time.
To be successful in this rapidly evolving landscape, there is a new skill that content marketers should work to develop in 2014 — agility.
Delivering effective customer experiences isn't just about being the first, it’s about being able to modify and adapt to changing customer sentiments, market dynamics and devices. When it comes to agility, cloud-based technologies are a key component of ensuring marketing success.
Here are three reasons why cloud technology and marketing agility go hand in hand:
Marketers Need the Right Tools
Marketing has always needed processes and technology, but as non-technical people, it hasn't always been easy. New digital marketing applications based on cloud platforms are easier to access, device agnostic and more intuitive, meaning that content marketers are fighting fewer battles with the IT department over the technology needed to get the job done. Now marketers have on demand services at their fingertips — the days of software installations and big IT on premises technology are over. This fundamental shift is well underway and well entrenched; most marketers expect that marketing technology will be delivered as a service and that new solutions can be up and running in minutes, not months.
Technology used to be the hard part, but now the infrastructure is in place to pivot campaigns in real time. Marketers have little excuse but to put that technology to work in order to effectively — and more nimbly — adjust how their content is performing.
Data Access Drives Relevance
Brands interact with customers in a variety of ways. They’re on their phones researching a product, purchasing on their laptops, pinning their favorites online or shopping in store. Each channel provides another set of customer data points reflecting those interactions, and marketers are able to optimize effectiveness by analyzing this data on demand.
And with so many different data sources — whether it is social, sales, unstructured, e-commerce or another data source — on demand and cloud based technology means that marketers are able to have a centralized avenue that collects and stores everything they knew about customers together. This allows decision makers to choose what information to leverage, capitalizing on focused customer insights rapidly.
Time is Money
Marketers need to be active in order to keep pace with the business — and the rest of the world. They don’t have time to implement complex infrastructure or re-platform their existing systems, so by being flexible and fast with technology, marketers are able to reduce the time-to-market and increase ROI. With on demand technology, marketers are able to gain the speed, control, security and customization needed to get to market faster. But it shouldn't be a “one size fits all” approach. Marketers need to customize what is important to them and have the flexibility to change it as their needs evolve.
Innovation is moving so quickly and marketers need to be able to move at the same pace. Technology shouldn't be the primary impediment — the cloud is changing the way marketers work today, and it’s creating new opportunities and insights from data.
In 2014, having a more agile marketing operation won’t be a “nice to have” any longer — it will be a key factor in campaign success. Firms that fail to implement the dynamic technical foundation to interact with customers in new touchpoints, respond in real time or reach the newest devices will be putting their customer relationships at risk. Companies that understand this new mandate will be the winners in this fast-paced landscape of customer interaction.
Title image by roibu (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: Read another take on agile marketing in Scott Brinker's 2014: The Year Agile Marketing Takes Off
About the Author
Joe Stanhope is the SVP of Strategy for SDL.
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