The Marketing Cloud
The marketing cloud, much discussed but seldom defined, is the backbone of digital marketing, evolving and advancing its current and future role in marketing as a whole. As the marketing cloud improves the speed and ease of marketing operations, streamlining and optimizing processes, so digital marketing teams are able to deliver results that can be measured, as well as actionable data integrated across the entire organization.
Though experiencing hyper-growth, the marketing cloud may not yet be ready for mass adoption as marketing technologies and channels experience the relevant and necessary development and refinement to properly integrate it.
The end goal is a streamlined and integrated cloud marketing function, but right now this arena is in a cycle of building, invention, disruption, and innovation, with little static or standardized marketing technology. Integration is a priority as organizations today value IT strategies that assimilate wholly into their business strategies and practices, which means financial systems, telephony, project management, and production all need to tie in with the digital marketing resources selected. Though the trend for business departments to enmesh and collaborate is growing, we’re still some way from a cohesive and amalgamated organizational solution, and this doesn’t even cover the need for partner and vendor integration.
The complexity consumers add to the marketing cloud landscape is also a significant factor to be considered. CRM, a function existing outside of marketing, is complete with its own technological solutions, and mobile typically operates as its own component, too, in which communicating with the consumer requires the integration of technology as well as CMO, CTO, and CIO input to ensure the right message is delivered at the right time. When you consider the various other departments such as customer service and HR that need to be added to the mix, you’re left with a convoluted jumble.
Aside from all of this complexity, privacy and security are two aspects consumers are more and more concerned with, and organizations need to ensure their digital marketing solutions target consumers correctly without making them feel ‘stalked’ or spied on. Add to privacy concerns the fear of data breach, and marketing strategies need to account carefully for secure and responsible use of the marketing cloud and databases. With ever increasing levels of trust, transparency, quality service, worthwhile experience, and value for money, consumers expect a great deal from the brands they use and are increasingly quick to move to competitors who are able to meet their expectations.
The marketing cloud is certainly key to satisfying industry and consumer demands, filling in current gaps, and developing the entire marketing industry, but we’re still at the beginning of this journey with much room for standardization and best practice conventions to develop and mature.
By Jennifer Klostermann