For many modern businesses, the need for flexibility trumps the need for continuity. Yes, that’s a mouthful, but as a whole, these are times when companies are looking to rent instead of hire talent. They are also looking for ways to use technology to streamline business operations to reduce both costs and headcount. The cloud has already done this for a lot of companies, mainly in terms of their IT needs. Even HR, accounting, and sales are being run on an as-a-service model. But are we there yet with marketing?
The Business World is Getting “Cloudy”
It’s true, today’s businesses have the option of putting pretty much everything on the cloud and businesses are taking advantage of this opportunity, though some are still hesitant to make the move. It’s becoming common to maintain servers, storage, apps, and security in the cloud. Considering the growing IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) market, the cloud might soon become the norm.
Marketing As-a-Service (MaaS)?
Many business operations, including customer service and sales management, have found their way into a more streamlined role with cloud CRM. But what about marketing? Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein pointed out why marketing-as-a-service is a good idea saying, “If we can create marketing components that we can assemble on demand, then we can deliver new marketing experiences quickly and effectively.” The concept of automated marketing is not a new one, it’s been around for almost a decade. In fact, it’s one of the most significant leaps we’ve taken in terms of making marketing less tedious. While marketing automation has popped up and has shown impressive growth over the years, compared to automated accounting and CRM it is still relatively slow to grow. Why? Because the challenge is that marketing takes a lot of asset creation, and marketing automation tools have limited value. But as we emerge with more platforms that can curate content or even create new content, the growth of creating, sharing, and spreading ideas through systems is starting to look like it will have a big future.
Why Marketing-as-a-Service May be Essential?
Whether it is a managed service like creating visual content, or writing white papers and e-books, or it becomes a cloud service that manages lists, distribution, data, and conversions, marketing is on a path to become a subscription service. With marketing-as-a-service, companies can benefit from practices that are more consistent and measurable over time. This could help companies generate greater ROI from marketing.
Between talent and tools, companies can subscribe to an end-to-end marketing solution that handles the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, all while leveraging the cloud and the most appropriate human resource to create the next giant as-a-service model.
Making Marketing-as-a-Service Work
Technology definitely plays a key role in today’s organizations, but it’s not a magic bullet that can solve all your business problems, at least not on its own. To get the desired outcomes from a tech solution, you need to think strategically about where to place it, how to benefits most from it, and how to ensure adoption across all levels of your organization. For instance, a CRM can provide the best results only when you build the right strategy around it. So you see, we can’t leave everything to technology. People are not yet redundant…at least not for the foreseeable future!
Similarly, to make a successful move with marketing-as-a-service, you first need to plan and develop a framework for all your marketing campaigns. Plus, you need workers who are tech literate, to create the right mix of tech-enabled automation and manual methods.
As the scope of marketing expands, the marketing department will grow to include many specialized job functions. For instance, social wasn’t in the marketing lexicon 10 years ago; now it’s an inseparable part of it. New technologies will continue to change and even disrupt the marketing landscape. Therefore, it’s going to be difficult, at best, and impossible, at worst, for companies to have all of the marketing expertise they need within one organization.
This especially holds true for small and mid-size companies for which a full-blown marketing team will become an extremely expensive investment. That’s why companies will need to separate their core skills from the non-core ones, with core skills maintained in-house, and the rest being outsourced or rented, as a service.
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