Byline by Dana Drissel, published by Exhibitors Daily
In recent years we’ve seen explosive growth in the marketing technology sector, causing research firm Gartner to famously predict that CMOs would outspend CIOs on IT by the year 2017.
As sales enablement tools trend more and more toward digital applications, marketers want to automate their content deployment across multiple outlets and devices, to both engage prospects and take the guesswork out of interpreting their interaction.
As marketers are turning to cloud-based applications, they can gain actionable insights through the use of analytics by tracking user engagement (devices used, global location, content of interest, frequency of interactions) along the way. This real time user intelligence and measurement will help refine messages and provide clear insight into the success of outward facing prospect marketing and sales enablement tools. And guess what? The cloud helps them achieve this magnificent feat and more.
Buyers engage in almost 60 percent of their buying cycle without the assistance of a traditional sales representative. Marketers need to ensure that they find new ways to bring interactivity and engagement to customers along their nontraditional decision-making process, which spans numerous channels.
It’s time for B2B marketers to pull their heads out of the clouds and start realizing how hosted technologies and cloud adoption will help them differentiate their offerings and inevitably sell more both on and off the trade show floor.
As marketers look to implement interactive sales and marketing applications cross-platform, we’re encountering literally hundreds of different devices, architectures, platforms, global networks, enterprise firewalls, intermittent connectivity and proxy servers. On top of all that, we have a user base of prospects, customers, channel partners and sales teams that need everything to be very simple. Using the cloud will help overcome the following constraints:
Deploying Large Applications: Interactive sales and marketing applications can be very large, so the updates need to be incremental, particularly for global users with limited Internet connectivity. The content of these applications can also be very rich, including video, animation, and real-time photo-quality 3D rendering. By using a cloud-based server, you allow for extremely high-speed information transfers with the potential to have greater bandwidth.
Providing Real Time Updates: Sales and marketing content is constantly being updated to parallel your company’s shifting objectives or newest product offering. Therefore, new product launches, case studies, videos, presentations, and any recently updated content must be deployed seamlessly to your sales, marketing, channel, customers and prospects.
Every second you spend not educating your team about your offerings or getting your products to market costs your company money.
By placing content in the cloud (versus hosting on your own central server) the information is now replicated in multiple data farms around the world, making it local to the end user. This causes less latency in accessing data. Incremental content updates can be made via the cloud in real-time, ensuring that relevant information is immediately getting into the hands of the people who need it the most.
Cost Effectiveness & Efficiency: Hosting your own server can be a very expensive upfront investment that requires significant IT involvement and ongoing maintenance. Marketers looking for cost efficiencies (and to avoid extensive work with their IT department) are turning to the cloud to share the expense with multiple users, paying as they go, based on usage.
With sales and marketing applications being hosted via the cloud, there’s less chance of deployment failure. If one data farm incurs an issue, content will automatically be redirected and accessible via another location, ensuring that your applications ALWAYS work without downtime.
With so many prospects delving into the buying cycle on their own, we need to make sure they have the right interactive and engaging sales and marketing content at their disposal, to clearly differentiate our offerings and coax buyers further into the sales cycle, with or without sales assistance. By putting content into the hands of buyers, it empowers them to make more informed buying decisions, based on their interests and business challenges.
Given the intermittent nature of wireless Internet connectivity in exhibit halls, reliance on Internet-based content is not a robust strategy for delivering interactive experiences at trade shows. To combat this issue, booth managers must be sure to download interactive content from the cloud prior to the start of the show and make sure is 100 percent accessible offline (on tablets or touch-screen appliances).
Harnessing the power of the cloud empowers marketers to have their message heard, track user engagement and provide unlimited global access to everyone who needs it, cheaper and faster.