By Garima Rai, Head of Marketing, India and APAC, InsideView
Digital is the New Way of Life
In an increasingly volatile business environment very few businesses’ tales end with “and they lived happily ever after”. And, it takes a lot more than just good luck to ensure that your business is amongst those selected few. Competition has stiffened, business complexity has become the new ‘normal’, and today’s digitally savvy customers have more choices at their disposal than ever before. So, what’s your business strategy to stand out from the crowd? Whatever your answer is, it must have the customer at it’s core and digital as the underlying wireframe. A key component of digital – cloud computing, has to a great extent transformed the way businesses operate and customers consume products, or should I say services.
Smart and Steady Win the Race
While the IT pundits and business strategists across the globe were debating its virtues and vices, cloud swiftly made inroads into every aspect of business, and proved to the world that it’s here to stay. Its ‘buy as you grow’ model allows you to access the latest technologies and tools, without committing to huge upfront investments, opening up a whole new world of opportunities for your business.
Businesses of all sizes, across business verticals, are increasingly transitioning to cloud technology to drive business value. This can be explained by the fact that cloud offers multiple benefits, including but not limited to accelerated time-to-market, anytime-anywhere access to information, enhanced operational flexibility and scalability, and lower total cost of ownership.
Reinventing the Role of Marketing
Amongst its many use cases, marketing technology witnessed a great deal of cloud-led innovation over the past 5-10 years.
According to a recent study by Microsoft the average attention span of humans is 8 seconds. In such a scenario the job of driving prospects to engage with your business is a daunting task. Cloud presented a viable solution for marketing to navigate today’s turbulent business environment – characterized by ambiguity, intense competition, and an extremely demanding new generation of customers. It offered a real-time digital approach to managing customer interactions across touch points, ensuring consistent and better customer experiences.
On the one hand cloud empowered marketers, providing them true control over every stage of the customer life cycle, and on the other hand it resulted in making them much more accountable for deal closures and revenues than ever before. This change in the role of marketing represents a paradigm shift in the traditional business model.
Choice can be evil
Cloud uncovered a new business opportunity and within no time the marketing technology vendor landscape was flooded with thousands of vendors offering all possible solutions, and promising step changes in the efficiencies and profitability of your business’ sales and marketing organization. This posed a new challenge for marketers – to choose the right set of tools and technologies. Overwhelmed by the plethora of choices at their disposal, and afraid of losing out to competition, marketers are likely to make reactionary purchases. More often than not they end up stacking point solutions that work in silos and hardly talk to each other. By the time they realize their mistake they have already wasted a lot of time and money to ensure seamless flow of data between these systems, while also dealing with the complexity of managing multiple vendors, product upgrades, and licenses.
Cloud is no more just an option for marketing
It’s true that thousands of point solutions, platforms, and consolidated enterprise applications have made technology buying difficult for marketers, but turning away from marketing technology is not an option.
The buyer as well as the buying cycle has changed drastically over the past 10 years. You are no more selling to an individual consumer of your product or service, but to a group of individuals that influence the purchase. These individuals are not domain experts, advisors, or consultants. They are peers of the consumer, who might not even know each other personally, but are digitally connected to each other, as well as to a myriad of information sources that help them make informed purchases.
Research suggests that over 75% buying happens using social media, and approximately 57% of the buyer’s buying cycle is over even before vendors come in the picture. Further, nearly 90% buyers don’t respond to outbound communication, and only 1% recipients are likely to respond to cold emails. These changes in the buying process necessitate corresponding changes in your marketing and selling strategy. Adoption of marketing technology is the first step in this direction.
However, success of marketing technology depends on how well you weave together the different components to form your customized network of cloud-based applications that integrate with each other in a seamless manner, to deliver your desired business outcomes. The crux is – don’t indulge in impulsive marketing technology buying, but at same time do not shy away from embracing technology and automating your marketing processes.