The popularity of cloud usage across the marketing industry isn't slowing down. From 2016, when the global cloud storage market was worth $30B, it grew it $61B in 2020, and is set to balloon to more than $390B by 2028.
So, when someone next says you've got your head in the clouds, give them a big ol' thank you.
Cloud computing is a huge deal at the moment. In fact, we're seeing moves such as Broadcom's $61B acquisition of cloud computing firm VMware, a decision made to boost Broadcom's software business, and one of the biggest tech acquisitions ever.
It's not surprising that the IDC Salesforce Economy study estimates the growth of 241.8% in investments in public cloud computing.
But why, oh why, is cloud marketing having its time in the proverbial sun?? Well, it could all be down to digital marketing being a pretty tricky game. Many digital marketers have a bunch of spinning plates, so organisation is a necessity. Cloud marketing, then, is an efficient way to boost productivity, processes, and security.
Cloud computing, and the tools and applications integrated into it, are accessible from anywhere, meaning that data storage and distribution can be conducted with ease. It also reduces the burden on IT. Basically, it's all about enhancing operations.
It allows small marketing departments to compete with large corporations, thanks to the reduced capital costs and increase in their pace. With the cloud, marketing departments big and small can engage with a wide range of prospects, and grow their resources. But how did we get here? Let's have a look into:
The History of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has come a long way since the concept was conceived by computer scientist John McCarthy in 1955. Good ol' John came up with the theory of sharing computing time among an entire group of users, as well as the term "artificial intelligence". This came from the necessity to reduce computing time in the 1950s, as often millions of dollars could be racked up. The high costs meant that small companies couldn't afford access to this new tech, missing out on advancements in automation.
Then, in 1962, Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (amazing name, by the way) came up with the idea to share data through interconnected computer systems, devising the Arpanet network. This was widely known as the "predecessor of the internet". Arpanet was to be the first network that allowed digital sources to be shared among computers that were not in the same physical location.
Now, jumping forward to 1999, Salesforce started offering cloud computing applications to companies. Then came one company after another realising the potential of the cloud. In 2002, Amazon launched cloud-based storage, computing, and intelligence services. 2008 saw Google launching its service. Then in 2009, Microsoft Azure created a platform for apps and cloud services.
All of these made cloud computing accessible to all types of marketers. But how can it benefit your team? Luckily for you, we've figured it out.
Reason Number One: You'll Get Easy Access to Customer and Marketing Data
Right, this boils down to two words: customer data. Digital marketing is pretty much impossible unless you know what your customers want. This means you need a dependable reference to find out their wants, desires, and needs.
This is where the cloud comes in. Cloud computing helps you collect and analyse customer data, at any time, any place. The quick access to this info means you can create personalised, tailor-made solutions for their pain points and concerns. You can also track changes in market trends and adapt your strategies to accommodate them.
Often it can take a lot of time and effort to collect this data the old-fashioned way, using surveys etc. So, consumer data in the cloud gets marketers some of that precious time back.
The cloud also reduces a number of issues storing and utilising data can cause. The cloud saves money since it eliminates the need for expensive on-site infrastructure. Plus, it removes the guessing game marketers have to play when they have to estimate how much storage space they'll use or need. Instead, any computer with an internet connection can view the company's marketing data.
On top of this, Software-as-a-service relies on the cloud, and many marketers rely on SaaS for analytical purposes and lead tracking. With the cloud, marketing analytics are easily accessible to all marketers.
Reason Number Two: You'll Be Able to Construct Better Content
So, now you have easy access to your customer and marketing data, you'll be able to go one step further. Having access to this credible and useful information means you'll be able to create worthwhile and superior content.
Using cloud analytic tools, you can have access to useful information and improve content performance. You'll also be able to understand all the budding trends while applying digital marketing. These tools will take the hassle out of content creation.
As a result, the cloud will help you develop the right strategies by providing highly relevant details. It'll also help you build engaging and innovative content directed to your specific target market.
This is because you're being provided with easy access to the information you need to know what works, and what doesn't. The tools allow you to see how your target audience engages with your content, which means you can shift your strategy to serve them better.
You can also use cloud hosting to boost your SEO. You might have chosen to explore on-page and off-page SEO, starting with an SEO competitor analysis. This is where the cloud comes in. It can help you rank higher with constant uptime, a decentralised network of servers, seamless mobile optimisation, better security, and more.
Reason Number Three: The Cloud Improves Data Security
Marketers have to be constantly aware of how their team is dealing with data security and privacy. This is especially true when it comes to digital marketers. Due to how damaging data breaches can be in a PR sense, no brand can afford to have its name damaged by something which is easily preventable. So, it's important to follow data privacy laws and regulations. Cloud computing makes this easy.
Cloud computing helps marketers access data with ease, but also ensures security surrounding this. This is because cloud computing prevents third-party infiltration, on top of stopping users from tampering with transmitted data.
Savvy marketers might even increase their cloud solution to evade server crashes, and then reducing to cut costs once the traffic subsides.
Cloud-based technology comes with advanced data security features, so your marketers can easily store valuable data in secure cloud storage, manage security features, and communicate with end-to-end encryption. Then, if disaster strikes, the data can be recovered with ease.
All this data security comes from the skills of the cloud providers. They are constantly elevating and updating their security, to ensure your customer's data is kept safe.
This addition is vital as the ease of data access offered by cloud solutions can be a hindrance, as well as a benefit. Though it's one of the most attractive parts of cloud tech, if it's not accompanied by improved security, it becomes a liability. Cloud computing makes it possible for marketers to complete their work in a secure environment.
Every piece of data you gather is important and needs constant looking after. Customer trust can be easily lost if you don't take care of their personal information.
Reason Number Four: Your Team Gains Independence
Utilising cloud technologies can help you manage your content and marketing with more ease, as we've explored. But this has another implication: your team will be able to create more effective processes, without relying on other departments.
So, cloud tech means you can execute your visions and plans with far more ease. Plus, cloud-based programmes involve minimal training, meaning you save time and cost on getting your team up to speed. These features can be performed either with a simple-to-use web application or mobile-based applications.
With the cloud, your team can streamline processes, and develop their own ways of working. With the elimination of consulting other teams, they'll be able to reinvest their time into more important activities.
Some examples of daily, streamlined activities made easier through the cloud can include:
- Enabling the team to use the right tools and resources to complete tasks in the cloud
- Choosing a relevant resource for managing operations
- Using a standardised and automated process for managing repetitive tasks
- Using effective procedures to prevent waste of time and effort or repeating tasks.
Reason Number Five: Cloud Tech Provides Powerful Analytics Tools
Using the correct analytics tools can mean the difference between an effective process and success, and financial waste. This is where the numerous analytics tools that come with cloud-based technology come in. These tools offer many features that will allow your tea to optimise every aspect of its digital marketer, targeting, lead generation, and more.
One of the most useful aspects of cloud-based tech and analytic tools is their ability to facilitate hyper-targeting. Hyper-targeting is all about identifying your target customer segments and delivering extremely customised content relevant to them at the precise time and place. This starts with identifying and understanding precisely who your target audience is, and once identified, you can target them across various channels. So, in short, cloud technology makes it easy to market to a specific demographic.
The Three Types of Cloud Computing
Right, now we've figured out the "why", we should really go through the "how". In order to make the correct choice for your team, you'll need to consider a few details.
This might include aligning the costs with the performance needed, the availability of the tech, and the expectations of your team. So, consider the following three types, alongside where your personal priorities lie.
This is the cheapest type of cloud computing on the market today. These are cloud environments created from IT infrastructure, not owned by the end-users. These might include Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
In the past, public clouds were run off-site. Nowadays, cloud providers have started offering cloud services on clients' on-premise data centres.
All clouds become public clouds when the environments are partitioned and redistributed to multiple tenants. So, fee structures are no longer a distinct characteristic of public clouds, since some cloud providers allow tenants to use theirs for free.
This is pretty much what its name suggests. A private cloud means a company acquires the infrastructure and then allows specific users to access it. So, basically, private clouds are environments dedicated to a single end-user or group, where it is usually run behind that group's firewall.
So, a cloud becomes a private cloud when the IT infrastructure is dedicated to a single customer, who has isolated access. As a result, this customer can customise functions according to their own business needs.
Although, private clouds no longer need to be sourced from on-premises IT infrastructure. Organisations can now build private clouds on rented, vendor-owned data centres located off-premises, which removes the need for location and ownership rules. This has caused a few different types of private cloud to pop up, including:
- Managed private clouds. This is a private cloud deployed and managed by a third-party vendor, useful for businesses with understaffed or underskilled IT teams.
- Dedicated clouds. This is a cloud within another cloud, which may look like a department having its own specific cloud within a business' private cloud.
A hybrid cloud combines the functionality of both the public cloud and the private cloud. The characteristics of a hybrid cloud can be complex, and the requirements can differ depending on the user. So, it could include:
- One private cloud and at least one public cloud
- Two or more private clouds
- Two or more public clouds
- A virtual environment connected to at least one public cloud or private cloud
This freedom of combination means it is possible to choose the best features and aspects according to your specific strategy and business needs.
This is a cloud made up of more than one cloud service, from one than one cloud vendor, be it public or private. So, all hybrid clouds are multiclouds. Although, not all multiclouds are hybrid clouds. Multiclouds become hybrid clouds when a number of clouds are connected by some form of integration or orchestration.
This might exists on purpose, or by accident. So, a business might choose a multicloud to better control sensitive data. But a multicloud may happen accidentally as a result of shadow IT.
Having multiple clouds is becoming more and more common across businesses that are looking to improve security and performance through an expanded portfolio of environments.
So, whichever cloud you pick, your team will thank you. Small, and often overworked, marketing teams will finally be able to compete on a more level playing field with large companies, allowing them to reach a large audience and utilise resources to their fullest extent. So, due to the obvious benefits in organisation and productivity, companies are beginning to understand that the cloud is far more than just a storage device.