As small businesses increasingly deploy data and digitally driven marketing strategies, they’re also likely to realize the benefits of the cloud marketing platforms that are beginning to proliferate.
A study by Parallels, a cross-platform application and cloud automation platform, has found that small business participation grew the cloud services market to $45 billion in 2012, and should help it reach $95 billion by 2015. Small businesses account for $18.9 billion of the cloud market, the firm found, which should jump by 19 percent through 2015. Cloud marketing platforms are expected to account for the seven cloud services, on average that the small business sector will use by 2015.
What are cloud marketing platforms and why are they so attractive to small businesses?
Cloud marketing is a concept that arose in 2007 – the “cloud” being the Internet, or a network of servers, and the pool of computing resources that power cloud technologies, including storage, applications and voice services.
In business, the cloud has been associated with IT departments, as a subscription-based way to add capabilities without a correlating investment in equipment, software, people, space and power. For end-users, it means immediate access to features that are always accessible from any Internet-connected device.
With cloud marketing, companies outsource their software/hardware infrastructure, enabling them to develop and maintain their marketing plans at a reduced cost.
Marketing is a top discretionary business expense for any sized company, yet there’s a constant battle by marketing personnel for budget for capital investment and IT support. There’s a need for what cloud marketing can deliver: Fast, easy access to tools that will help marketers drive demand for their products and quickly evaluate the effectiveness of their programs.
For small businesses, cloud marketing levels the playing field. It provides a cost-effective way to manage the vast quantities of content required to build a brand and business in today’s complicated channels to customers in an Internet and digital marketing era. It also helps them become smarter about your product and the problem it can solve, giving them access to the tools it takes to analyze the high volume of data being created in today’s environment.
Cloud marketing optimizes a company’s computer-based resources to enable better interactions between users and services within the cloud. Such resources help small businesses build and maintain their online presence, and the cloud’s flexibility means it easily accommodates business changes. Among the other benefits:
- Cost Flexibility. Cloud marketing can be free or paid as a subscription service or pay-per-use model. It enables the move from capital expenses like servers, and networking equipment, to less expensive operational expenses.
- Business Scalability. As IBM has said: “By allowing for rapid provisioning of resources without scale limitations, cloud enables a company to benefit from economies of scale without achieving large volumes on its own.” This promotes company growth and provides greater options.
- Market Adaptability. The cloud also lends businesses the ability to respond quickly to changing customer needs and market demands. The cloud allows businesses to rapidly alter products, processes, and services to align with shifting customer preferences.
- Enhanced Mobility, Efficiency. It’s easier for all parties involved to create, modify, use and share assets that have been placed in the cloud. They can be accessed from any location, providing mobility and helping small businesses lower transportation costs and increase productivity.
- Content Variability. With greater computer power and capacity, the cloud stores more information, opening the door to greater opportunities to customize products and services.
- Greater Connectivity. The cloud provides a platform on which partners, customers, influencers and others in the larger community can share information, resources and processes.
Organizations are exploiting these top business enablers empowered by the cloud to drive innovation and create a sustainable competitive advantage. Cloud computing unleashes new more efficient and innovative ways of doing business that organizations should consider employing. Are you taking advantage of cloud capabilities and the opportunities it offers?
The cloud is changing the way marketing is done, allowing businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to better respond to a marketplace that is increasingly wired. It’s leading to more efficient and innovative ways of doing business, and smart organizations are taking advantage of the opportunities the cloud offers.