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How the Public Cloud can help marketers succeed – and why should you care

What are the top three reasons why you should be using the power of the public cloud and applying it to your marketing initiatives?

How the Public Cloud can help marketers succeed – and why should you care

When I first learned about the public cloud a few years ago, while writing my thesis on innovation adoption, I felt like Jen in the IT Crowd TV series receiving the small black plastic box with a tiny red light on top – which was introduced to her, much to her colleagues’ amusement, as ‘The Internet’.

I knew the basics and understood that cloud refers to computing services provided over the public Internet, but that was about it. I was unaware of how to apply the cloud benefits to my role as a marketer, how it could help me do my job better, attract and retain customers, personalise customer experiences or ensure that the customer data is secure and safe.

It certainly didn’t feel like something I needed to know much about – it was clearly in the IT team’s domain, right?

It turns out there is more than one reason for marketers to care about the public cloud and understand how it could be applied to enable their brand strategies. I would go as far as saying that it is every CMO’s responsibility to know the basics of cloud computing, to build their brand, creating meaningful and trusted connections with their target market.

Not convinced? Here are three reasons why:

It enables you to build truly agile marketing teams

Agile in the marketing context means taking an iterative approach to solving big problems. Businesses which have adopted this way of working have fully integrated, cross-functional teams working together in closed cycles (sprints) towards understanding a problem or an opportunity, identifying business value along with the users, testing and delivering a relevant solution quickly and then continuously evolving this in line with the changing user/customer needs.

At scale, a highly functioning agile organisation can run hundreds of campaigns at the same time and continuously evolve their digital engagement channels.

There are essential pre-requisites for transitioning to the agile marketing model – starting with putting the right teams together and providing them with a clear direction of expectations, definition of success and how and when to measure outcomes.

Agile teams typically involve people with technical expertise, whether they are developers, architects, data analysts or Bas. Synchronising their activities with those of the more traditional brand managers can be a challenge, and in many organisations, this process forces the IT and Marketing teams to develop a much closer relationship than either would have previously experienced.

But as if it wasn’t tricky enough, transitioning to this new way of working requires a different approach to IT enablement – a conversation which is often way out of the CMO’s comfort zone.

Imagine that you are building a new B2B supplier portal to integrate with your website. A team trying to enable the iterative delivery and fast execution of milestones, while relying on traditional development in an on-premises environment is set to fail.

Existing technology constraints can roadblock the workflow – imagine if it takes a developer a week to provision the infrastructure because they run out of space on a server.

This is one example of where cloud and agile go hand in hand – building in the cloud allows infrastructure deployment to be done simultaneously with the other activity carried out in the team, a way that used to be impossible for traditional infrastructure.

Teams are now able to run experiments, quick prototyping sessions, rapidly test, and roll out their idea. Similarly, the cloud enables the end product, whether it’s a supplier portal, a website or an app to be scaled on-demand in situations that drive increased traffic, such as large scale events.

Marketers must be aware of this and challenge their IT teams in providing the right tools that enable the marketing team to succeed – a conversation that should be an integral part of the transition towards an agile business.

It brings your end-to-end customer experience strategies to life

Have you heard of the Common Data Platform or Customer Insights? If not, it is something you should look up and familiarise yourself with. The Common Data Model is a standard and an extensible collection of schemas which enable data interoperability. It sounds geeky, but it is the foundational principle that allows a consistent view of all your customer interactions across all your digital channels.

It allows you to unlock insights from a variety of sources and power personalised customer experiences at a scale. Each interaction, whether it is via your website, a mobile app, a phone or a payment gateway can be captured and used to accurately segment your market to the point when you can deliver 1-1 engagement with your customers, providing your business with visibility of these engagements and their impact via a centralised depository, such as your Content Management System (CMS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

This type of personalisation has only become possible in recent years with the rise of cloud-based platforms. As a leading Microsoft partner Intergen has an extensive experience delivering end-to-end Customer Experience (CX) personalisation, leveraging EpiServer and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite of products, hosted in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud.

A great example of personalisation is the award-winning Toyota New Zealand transformation - watch the video case study here.

It helps you ensure your customers’ data is safe and secure

Traditionally, customer engagement systems, whether they are whole platforms, single applications or ISVs have been judged primarily on their functionality and value based on costs and benefits.

Privacy and data security should be at the same level of requirements. It is also worth remembering that recent legislation changes such as the mandatory data breach notification soon to be included in the Privacy Act, or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe have made lax data security a costly mistake.

The importance of privacy and data security grows even further when medical or financial data is involved.

In reality, financial institutions drive the adoption of public cloud with 85% of global systemically important financial institutions (GSIFI) relying on Microsoft Azure and Office 365 Cloud. 

As a marketer, it is your responsibility to know how your customer and stakeholder data is protected and manage your services in line with the regulations. You must know what questions to ask of your technology partners, making sure that the level of security meets the need and the expectation of your users and the regulations in your industry and location.

Public cloud providers such as Microsoft recognise this as a top priority and have a range of tools to help CMOs embrace their journey to the cloud with confidence.  

A great example of the tools available in the Microsoft Azure cloud is Stade de France, the largest event stadium in France and one of the venues for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. Stade de France collects personal data such as full names, email addresses, phone numbers and credit card information through its ticketing process. To help safeguard its customers and help comply with its GDPR obligations, the organisation uses Microsoft Azure Information Protection to classify documents and emails and apply automatic protection settings for sensitive information.

By labelling confidential customer data this way, Stade de France maintains control over who has access to sensitive information both internally and externally, because the classification stays with a document if it gets shared outside the organisation. 

You can read the Stade de France case study here. This is just one of the examples of how the public cloud allows you to ensure that your customers’ data is always secure and safe.

 

This blog is part of the #cxreimagine series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download the whitepaper, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download the whitepaper, click the banner #cxreimagine

Posted by: Katerina Thomas, Client Manager | 09 March 2020

Tags: Cloud, digital, customer experience, #CXreimagine


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