Marketing technology of recent years offers us greater flexibility and opportunity, and though debate rages regarding issues such as the value of marketing clouds versus self-service technology, it’s apparent that whatever breed is chosen, relevant and advanced marketing technology is a must for the success of every business. Many of the marketing cloud solutions available provide all-in-one options which analyze masses of data, automate intricate tasks, and afford personalized and customer-centric experiences. However, some of these solutions can be incredibly expensive, time and skill consuming, and difficult to implement. Certainly not always the case, many cloud martech providers suggest the importance of weighing initial costs against the value of product delivery and services provided over years to come. Moreover, provided by some of the giants, cloud martech solutions are consistently being renewed and simplified to better meet the needs of clients and deliver customer-centric outcomes.
Do It Yourself Solutions
For those put off by the initial costs of one of the larger marketing clouds, it is possible to build a relatively tailored and personalized solution through self-service tools. There are, however, numerous products to choose from making it necessary to do a fair amount of research into both what’s available and what’s required for any individual organization. Industry experts suggest a few essential tools invaluable to every business:
- Email Marketing
Considered the basis of a robust digital marketing strategy, with email addresses available to anyone with an internet connection and collection of these details a relatively simple task, email marketing allows organizations to cheaply reach current and potential customers and is one of the most valuable methods of communication used today.
Though it’s unlikely for any accomplished business to find itself without a website, it’s also important that business leaders ensure their organization’s website is of the highest quality. Don’t judge a book by its cover, we’re told, but we do, every time. A business’s website is this cover, and anything uncompetitive, outdated, or unresponsive is likely to turn customers away before they’ve even really begun to interact with the organization.
- Big Data
Putting data to use means collecting relevant and valuable information, carefully analyzing it for insights, and then using findings to personalize content for better customer interaction and superior experiences delivered. When most effectively implemented, big data and big data analysis drives customer engagement and boosts business success.
Some of the marketing clouds offered by the larger vendors tend to be more involved than the do-it-yourself solutions, but this is also because many of the tools they provide are more sophisticated than that which one might handle in a self-service situation. This will, of course, sometimes mean that which is available is multifaceted, providing more than is necessarily required, and not as user-friendly as one might wish for, but the flip side of the coin is the additional value such minutiae can provide the right user.
Aside from the more in-depth and expansive solutions a marketing cloud may provide, it’s important to take into account the provision of service which comes with such solutions as well as the constant evolution to meet both customer needs and industry innovations. Putting together a solution oneself can often provide many of the latest advances at the point of implementation, but the time and skill required to keep these solutions up to date is often overlooked, leaving organizations with less than adequate marketing mechanisms in a year or two.
Neither of the two martech breeds suggested is necessarily the finest, but instead, each is best suited for a particular company at a given moment. Spending the extra effort and time deciding where to invest marketing budgets is a worthwhile pursuit that could mean the difference between an adequate solution and a flourishing one, as well as providing marketing technology that delivers value for money.
By Jennifer Klostermann