Marketing Heads in the Cloud

Or: Three reasons why CMOs should care about cloud

I started out as a real technology geek. I was nuts about computers, the Internet and everything that made it work.

Today, I love to think about the business challenges that drive the technology, about the marketing opportunities it offers and the customer experiences it can create. Rarely does pure technology still get my blood boiling, but now and then I still get ridiculously excited.

Cloud computing is such a tremendously exciting technology to me. I have been following the cloud development in the last year and it pains me to see that many marketing leaders still don’t quite see the benefit of it. Granted, cloud washing – the abuse of the term ‘cloud’ for any old story, just because it’s cool – has a lot do to with it and I don’t like to see all the fluffy confusing marketing B£#%{ that more often than not comes with it.

But: For CXM professionals and online marketing leaders, cloud technology has the potential to totally transform the way we are doing business. Here my top three exciting cloud opportunities for online marketing:

Time to market

In the 13 years that I am following large scale online projects, the first big hurdle has always been to get the infrastructure up and running. No matter how good the internal IT procurement and processes, with all the signatures and delivery timeframes, getting started with the actual physical hardware usually is a matter of weeks. Weeks that nobody has time to lose.

WHAT IF you could start within hours? What if from the time you get the go for your new campaign website or micro site until when you can get to work, is a matter of minutes? That’s what a cloud ready CMS does for you. It’s called ‘rapid deployment’ or ‘rapid provisioning’ or a few other terms with ‘rapid’. What it means is, there is a new server or entire environment pre-built and all you have to say is: one of that, please. That’s going to make your organization a lot more agile.

Protecting your investments CTO Dr. Werner Vogels said it so nicely at the Cloud Expo Europe 2012: “In offline business, our biggest fear used to be that nobody shows up. In online business, our biggest fear is that EVERYBODY shows up.” That is sooo very true.

When you put serious money into your marketing campaigns, can you afford your sites to be slow? Or even go down? When you find that golden egg and your campaign goes viral, can you afford to lose face and not be able to deliver? When you hit the news or your customers need you in the moment of crisis, can you afford to leave them in the dark? Of course not. You might as well flush your budget down the toilet.

WHAT IF you could have the guarantee that – no matter how much traffic – your sites will always be up and performing well? If you wouldn’t  have to fear being ‘too’ successful? Didn’t have to supersize your webfarm? That’s another thing the cloud does for you. It’s called ‘elasticity’. It means that your line of servers can expand and contract(!) automatically, based on the capacity needed to meet your requirements. That means you got your business continuity covered and can be sure to always deliver a well performing customer experience.

More money left at the end of your budget

Truth now, how much of your capacity is idling about the data centre, waiting for that hour of peak traffic for 23 hours a day, merrily keeping your maintenance team and the air condition busy and the electricity meter turning? How often did you expect the big run on your website with a campaign but it didn’t quite get as crowded as you hoped and now you are stuck with lots of hardware that you don’t need but that isn’t appreciated?

WHAT IF you only paid for what you are using and when you are using it? If you could just hand hardware back when you don’t need it anymore at no cost at all? The cloud does also that for you – ‘usage based pricing’. what it means is that you pay per hour for the hardware you are using – and not a minute longer.  A bit like the way your water supply works. It saves you hours of calculating and guessing work and for websites with volatile traffic, it saves a lot of money too.

So you see, cloud computing isn’t just for IT and geeks, but is a totally new canvas for online and marketing professionals. And that’s only my top three reasons! There is many more.

How can cloud technology help you to do a better job? Let me know!

Guest Post

Sonja KeerlSonja Keerl LinkedIntwitter
Sonja is in the online business since 1999 and a passionate voice for Customer Experience Management. She has helped many large global companies with CMS implementations, global rollouts and multichannel strategy. Sonja frequently speaks on industry events. Sonja currently works for SDL WCM as Senior Product Marketing Manager and is engaged to Julian.

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