Learn what a marketing cloud is and how it should be part of every marketer's long-term strategy.
As a marketer, what if you could have all the essential tools, services and data that you need for your job in one convenient solution? Wouldn’t this be better than trying to cobble together disparate solutions and somehow try to make them function as one? This is the premise of marketing clouds. A “marketing cloud” is a platform that consolidates many marketing technologies into a single solution. Marketing clouds provide a unified view of customers so businesses can create personalized, multichannel customer journeys.
The days of data silos, segmented tools and vague ideas of buyer journeys are numbered. Marketing clouds are the future of MarTech, and modern marketers can expect to be left behind if they don’t adapt.
The beauty of the marketing cloud is that everything is there, connected, ready to work for you – and connected with your CRM. There’s no need to synchronize ad hoc data sources or expend time and effort gathering information in one place.
Ultimately, marketing cloud solutions address key issues modern marketers continue to face, including the complexity of current MarTech stacks, the total cost of ownership, marketer bandwidth and skillset pressures, and the need for marketing analytics and insights into performance and ROI.
Navigating a Complex Technology Landscape
There are currently more than 7,000 marketing technology tools available to marketers, all aiming to solve specific parts of one problem: a non-linear, primarily digital buying cycle. The buying cycle has more touchpoints than ever and the staggering number of available MarTech solutions aim to solve specific challenges in that cycle. Stitching solutions together without a single foundational platform is complex, costly, and takes a long time for the marketing and IT departments to demonstrate value and ensure its effectiveness.
A marketing cloud addresses complexity on all fronts and reduces it, with proprietary third-party products pre-integrated into a single interface and a single data store. Marketing teams no longer need to identify the sometimes dozens of relevant vendors in the space and wire the technology together. The marketing cloud approach can also often benefit marketing teams with a lower cost of ownership when compared to purchasing multiple solutions.
Reimagining Marketer Bandwidth
Effectively utilizing a complete MarTech stack is a challenge for every marketing team, but especially for small teams because they don’t have all the skills needed to utilize the various marketing technologies and master the corresponding marketing domains.
Today’s marketer must possess multiple specialized skillsets and effectively understand and deploy tactics from disciplines that once stood alone, including digital, brand and paid marketing. This is a large ask, considering most marketing teams are not big enough to include all those skillsets.
Further, many cloud solutions also offer a services arm that can work as an extension of your marketing team. A marketing cloud with a services solution brings experts in marketing disciplines that are also experts in the technology, filling not only gaps of limited personnel but also time and budget. Marketers must reach wider audiences, deliver targeted messages and do it quicker than ever, and the marketing cloud is a way to achieve these goals.
Single Source of Data
The digital footprint of buying decisions and customer journeys creates a tremendous amount of data. The trouble with this marketing data is that it is complex in structure, requires specific marketing domain knowledge and is typically large in volume, which means it takes a lot of effort to gather and harmonize due to different siloed sources. Marketers spend an immense amount of time pulling disparate data into spreadsheets in order to analyze it for campaign insights and find that there are gaps in what they can manually analyze. It’s impossible to glean the true context of the customer or their journey with this type of manual approach.
A marketing cloud with integrated marketing applications and analytics provides marketers with consolidated and unified data, with a single data source of the footprint of customers and all the different touchpoints they have with a brand. With a unified data source, a better picture of customer engagement emerges. Rather than spending resources culling the data sources, marketers are free to ideate ways to solve true marketing challenges like making content more engaging for customers or moving them down the sales funnel.
As we head further into this new decade, marketers can expect marketing clouds to continue to evolve to meet all their needs. Having marketing automation, analytics and services all in one platform gives marketers an advantage – it brings together the integrated technology they need with increased bandwidth and skills and more complete and accurate data. This provides increased effectiveness, enhanced visibility to ROI and the ability to deliver a better customer experience through an improved understanding of those customers. Businesses need solutions, not tools, and marketing clouds are the critical foundation leading the future of the MarTech space.