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A marketing cloud is no longer the hot new technology—it’s now a fundamental part of how leading companies execute their digital marketing strategies. But like consumers, marketers have growing expectations, and they increasingly demand more flexibility from their cloud providers. Scott Webb, president of cloud technology provider Avionos, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about how marketing clouds are evolving, and what’s next for the technology.
eMarketer: Now that technology giants like Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle and others have built out their marketing clouds, is the buzz dying down?
Scott Webb: The language has started to evolve. In the early days of the cloud, it was easy to encapsulate challenging technology questions into this idea of something that’s floating far out somewhere. But now that kind of language is unnecessary, because a digital business is no longer a nebulous concept. From an enterprise technology standpoint, nearly every tool has a hosted element. The buzz has died down because the cloud became so established.
eMarketer: Does that mean on-premise solutions are soon to be entirely obsolete?
Webb: Companies such as Amazon are driving organizations towards this. The Amazon Web Services model, for example, is driving down the cost of moving traditional on-premise solutions into something called a private cloud, or an extended public cloud. It’s now hard to justify building a physical data center to host physical machines or owning on-premise software. That’s just not a consideration that most corporate IT organizations make anymore.
eMarketer: What do marketers need to consider when choosing a cloud provider?
Webb: They should be aware of that fact that microservice models are emerging. That means marketers no longer have to buy a whole platform all at once—they can buy individual capabilities. There’s no need to get an entirely new platform that’ll handle every single channel. Instead, it’s better to take individual marketing, commerce or analytics services and integrate them.
eMarketer: That sounds a lot like what’s happening with cable subscriptions and cord-cutting. Are there any parallels there?
Webb: Absolutely. Cord-cutters are not interested in replacing every single channel because they’re not all relevant to them. They want to subscribe to a streaming service and watch what they want to watch on their own time. The same applies to marketers—they want to be able to subscribe to individual services that can coexist in a common interface. Those consumer desires are the same desires that marketers have.
eMarketer: Will artificial intelligence [AI] play a role in the future of cloud technology?
Webb: As marketers consider individual services that will eventually break big behemoth clouds into nuclear units, they have to start thinking about the intelligence behind each of those individual services. That’s where AI comes in. Marketing interactions will be all about micromoments powered by predictive data.
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