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Software & Solutions for Marketers

By August 13, 2020 No Comments
Software & Solutions for Marketers

Software & Solutions for Marketers is the final section in our Marketers Guide to Data Management and Analytics series. Throughout this series, we’ve covered major terms, acronyms, and technologies you might encounter as you seek to take control of your data, improve your analytics, and get more value from your MarTech investments.

In case you missed them, you can access the intro here , part one here, part two here, and part three here.

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In this last section, we will cover various aspects of Software & Solutions, including:

  • The differences between the cloud and on-premise solutions
  • Customer data platform (CDP)
  • Custom dev (Development)

Cloud vs. On-Prem

Cloud

Also known as “cloud computing,” the cloud is a global network of software and services that run over the internet on someone else’s server, as opposed to running locally on your computer or server.

Why it matters for marketers:

  • Get the flexibility your business needs. Today’s marketing teams are mobile, require a variety of working schedules, and are often spread across geographies and time zones. Cloud-based software and services are accessible by any device with an Internet connection, quick to set up, and reliable to access, regardless of the user’s location or device.
  • Deliver the level of service your customers expect. Hosting your website or e-commerce business on the cloud means your site won’t get bogged down with high traffic or large data files. Additionally, hosting your data in the cloud reduces the amount of siloed information, empowering teams to work more seamlessly and deliver a higher quality, personalized experience to customers.
  • Spend your money on campaigns, not infrastructure. While many software’s are sold with on-premise or cloud options, the cloud-native options (tools such as Snowflake, Azure, AWS, and Looker) enable marketers to use these technologies with little to no reliance on IT resources to maintain the back-end infrastructure.

Real-world examples:

Most marketing organizations use cloud-based applications such as Salesforce, HubSpot, or Sprout Social. These cloud-based applications allow marketing users to quickly and reliably create, collaborate on, and manage their marketing initiatives without being tied to a single location or computer.

On-Prem

On-premise or on-prem refers to any software, storage, or service run from on-site computers or servers.

Why it matters for marketers:

Most marketing software is run on the cloud these days. Cloud solutions are faster, more dynamic, and more reliable.

So why would a business choose on-prem? Today, there are 2 main reasons a business might still have on-prem software:

  1. The company is in a highly-regulated industry where data ownership or security are big concerns.
  2. The company has legacy on-prem solutions with massive amounts of data, making the switch to cloud more challenging.

However, many of these companies still recognize the need to update their infrastructures. On-prem is harder to maintain and has reduced up-time as glitches or breaks are fixed at the speed of IT teams. What’s more: on-prem solutions can bottleneck your insights and ability to deliver insights at scale.

With this in mind, even companies with more complicated situations can use a hybrid of cloud and on-prem solutions. By doing this, they migrate less sensitive information to the cloud while keeping more regulated files on their own servers.

Real-world examples:

In marketing, it’s likely that most data will be in the cloud but if you’re working with a client in a highly regulated industry, like government or healthcare, you might have some on-premise data sources.

Healthcare companies have patient privacy regulations like HIPAA about how customer data can be used, including marketing campaigns. In this case, an on-prem solution might be a better alternative to protect patients’ rights.

Customer Data Platform (CDP)

A customer data platform is a software solution that synthesizes customer data from various sources to keep them in sync with each other. CDPs often additionally offer the ability to send this data to a database of your choice for analytics.

Why it matters for marketers:

CDPs allow your various tools (such as your CRM, Google Analytics, and e-Commerce systems) to stay in sync with each other around customer data. This means if you change a detail about a customer in one system, everyone else sees this update come through automatically without any manual updating.

Real-world examples:

CDPs make it really easy to create quality Account-Based Marketing (ABM) campaigns. CDPs deliver a persistent, accurate, and unified customer base, making it easy to use data throughout the ABM campaign.

For example, selecting and validating target accounts uses data from across your entire organization. Once pulled into the CDP, you can perform analytics on that data to identify the best accounts to go after. You will have thousands of attributes to better understand which customers are more likely to purchase.

One note: CDPs do not usually tie these customers and their information to other subject areas like products, orders, loyalty, etc. They are also not meant for analytic use cases. If you are doing deeper, company-wide analysis, you might want a data warehouse.

Custom Dev (Development)

Custom dev is a term that refers to any application or solution developed to satisfy the requirements of a specific user or business rather than for general use.

Why it matters for marketers:

Even the best out-of-the-box software’s or solutions are designed to overcome the challenges of a broad user base, providing functionality that only satisfies generalized needs. Custom dev solutions address your specific business needs in a way that gives you a competitive advantage or reduces the amount of time spent trying to make a generic software match your unique needs.

Real-world examples:

One retail company was receiving flat files from a monthly vendor report that were hard to integrate with the rest of their reports. This made it challenging to get the deeper insights their marketing team needed to make informed omnichannel decisions.

Since there were no tools available in the market with a connector to their system, a custom dev solution was needed. An application was created to automatically take in these flat files from the vendor so the marketing team could receive new data without the lengthy request and ingest process that relied heavily on IT resources. This enabled the marketing team to easily target the same customer across channels by using personalized campaigns that aligned with purchasing habits and history.

Another example of custom dev is the implementation of automated customer touchpoints. Adding features that trigger events based on business rules is a great way to personalize your customers’ experience. For example, you could create a rule that emails customers a coupon for their most frequently purchased product when they haven’t made a purchase in the last 6 months.

Throughout this Marketers Guide to Data Management and Analytics series, we hope you’ve learned about the different tools to manage, integrate, analyze, and use your data more strategically to get the most out of your investments. Please contact us to learn how we can help build and implement these various solutions, so you can better understand your customer base and target your customers accurately.

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