In the past, apart from running the odd complex database query to create target lists, it was unnecessary for marketers to understand how technology platforms worked. The CRM and ERP systems and processes in place were adequate for the marketers’ needs.
With the rise of social media and digital marketing, CMOs are turning to cloud technologies with agile and cost effective CRM systems that enhance customer satisfaction, automate processes and lower time to market. This shift has seen CMOs having a greater say on how the IT budget is spent, and Gartner has predicted that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.
CMOs’ interest in the cloud was also confirmed by recent research by Wipro, which surveyed 144 business leaders at large companies across the world. The research found that 57% of CMOs are looking at adopting cloud to support more strategic, forward-looking business goals, such as enhanced market intelligence, robust marketing campaigns and finding new channels to build sales.
This interest in the cloud by CMOs has also seen software providers creating function-specific solutions and allowing CMOs to transfer their own systems to the cloud.
While the first wave of cloud adoption was about cost saving, companies are now seeing the cloud as a platform for innovation because of its agility. CMOs are testing new ideas quickly and accessing the necessary software and infrastructure from external service providers, without the need for large upfront capital investment.
Organizations can then focus on streamlining business processes and adopting new business models faster, and in an agile way. For example, with the cloud, a global consumer goods company can roll out its online marketing campaign and scale it in line with demand.
The benefits of cloud for marketing leaders are centered on enhancing the organization’s external proposition. According to the research, the top three benefits they expect to gain from cloud-based solutions in the next 12 months are: increasing sales force expertise and effectiveness (30%); taking new products to market faster (27%); and improved customer satisfaction (27%).
These benefits can be realized by moving CRM to the cloud and combining email, social, web and mobile marketing campaigns to target consumers in a tailored way. For example, the ability to access a customer’s data and the company’s product information on a real-time basis, wherever they are, increases the interactive nature of the campaigns and enhances the customer experience.
Cloud also enables vast amounts of customer data to be collected and stored, which can then be used to more effectively target marketing and sales at potential customers. Companies are also making more use of Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) to manage customer service data and feedback instantly as it feeds in through multiple channels such as social media, email and telephone.
Many businesses are now moving their systems and processes into the cloud at a rapid pace as its ability to provide a platform for innovation, and to improve the efficiency of business processes becomes a vital source of competitive advantage. As a result, CMOs are being entrusted with greater budgets to invest in various cloud solutions that improve the customer proposition.
The rate at which organizations are migrating systems to the cloud is accelerating, but in order to enable CMOs to extract maximum value from the cloud, companies will need to recognize this shift. The companies that realize this the fastest will benefit the greatest from the benefits that this technology has to offer.