Does Your Company Need a Marketing Cloud?
There are so many tools available for small to medium business owners these days, it’s genuinely overwhelming.
So many offer to soothe pain and add value. Many promise a swift return on investment, and a lot of them seem pretty credible, too.
But which ones does your business really need?
We live in a world now flooded with seemingly endless streams of “big data.” Improved marketing intel stacks up the pressure to boost return on investment and squeeze even more from monthly advertising spends.
All-in-one cloud marketing services certainly seem a tempting proposition among all the technologies vying for attention. So here’s what it is, and how to figure out if you really need it.
What is a Marketing Cloud?
Cloud marketing is to an SMB owner what a quality Swiss Army knife is to an explorer. It’s an all-in-one solution that automates and monitors just about every imaginable aspect of your digital marketing efforts.
It allows you to:
- Build, monitor and tweak entire social media campaigns
- Run and track pay per click and other online advertising
- Automate and track many email campaigns simultaneously
- Offer detailed content marketing flows and tracking via your blog
- Track search engine results pages (SERP) keyword progress
- Get detailed viewing, click and conversion analytics on all of the above…
All of this in one service? It’s certainly a tempting proposition. Let’s consider the pros and cons.
- Reduced data noise
Sure, you can have separate social media listening tools, email marketing systems and use Google Analytics. But that leaves you with a bunch of competing datasets from different sources. A marketing cloud gives uniform data from the same place, nice, simple and without conflicting insights.
- Boosts efficiency
Integrate all of your marketing tools into a single department with a single monthly budget. That certainly makes it easier than performing the same operations over 10 different marketing platforms.
- Potentially increase qualified leads
Comprehensive integration of tools and data means increased efficiency that streamlines your processes which could result in a greater number of qualified leads. The entire consumer lifecycle is handled all in one place, from prospect, to lead, perhaps a free trial, to a paid customer, and finally retention strategies. And that helps conversions.
- Multichannel behavioral analysis
Marketing clouds allow you to see how your specific audience interacts with different marketing mediums so you gain a clearer idea of which combinations are most effective for your business. See high conversions coming from LinkedIn when they sign up to your email list? Now you know where to focus your efforts.
- Potentially tricky setup
Plugging in all of your social media accounts, blogs and other marketing platforms can be a tricky business. Unless there’s decent customer support, you could be in for a headache setting things up.
- Must be fully utilized
If you pay $1,000 a month for the deluxe Swiss Army knife of marketing, you must invest the time to master your new tool. The staff needs time, training and a willingness to take on the challenge. Anything less is leaving money on the table.
- Financially prohibitive
Many of the higher quality, more established systems charge a premium for the all-in-one convenience and effectiveness factors of this service.
Does your business need one?
If you’re especially particular about the quality of your data, or you simply like the convenience angle of an all-in-one solution, it’s likely you’d consider a marketing cloud.
But, do you actually need one?
It’s time for a thorough assessment of what your marketing requirements truly are. Questions to consider include:
- What kind of marketing tools do you, or would you genuinely use?
- Do you have the staff hours to invest in teaching someone the intricate interface to maximize ROI?
- What will your metric of success be if implemented?
If you’re a relatively new company and already on a tight budget, it’s important to be ruthlessly realistic when considering the cost. All-in-one marketing integration is attractive, but potentially a luxury for many start-ups.
To buy, or not to buy?
Marketing cloud technology is undeniably impressive. And such comprehensive lead nurturing throughout the entire customer life cycle will undoubtedly prove an effective way to make money if you master how to use one.
But if your company assessment shows you probably wouldn’t get the most from it, leave the idea on the backburner.
This is not a one-size-fits all solution. If you decide you want to invest, and now you have your specific requirements planned out, it’s worth contacting a few companies.
If the services offered match your needs, request a free demo. And try to see several brands over a short time frame to help you draw meaningful conclusions between the different services.
Before parting with your cash, make sure you vet the signup process and general customer care carefully. If the demo seems suitable, request a free trial to see how things stack up against your pre-defined success metrics.
Danny Roberts is part of the marketing department at Chekkt.com, a new B2B marketplace featuring SaaS solutions and outsourced services. He lives in Tel Aviv, and when he’s not doing marketing-related things, he enjoys eating, playing basketball, cycling, reading tech blogs, and watching American football.