Why cloud-based interoperability is critical to the modern marketing stack

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 92 percent of B2B companies and 86 percent of B2C organisations now depend on content marketing to drive growth and customer retention. With daily online, social media, and video campaigns supplanting traditional print and television advertising media, marketers increasingly need a more robust, efficient way of creating diverse content and getting it in front of potential customers.

Traditionally, marketing departments have stitched together a variety of software platforms to create, visualise, and track the status of content development efforts. This inevitably creates confusion and content bottlenecks, especially as content volume grows.

When the first marketing resource management (MRM) tools were introduced in the early 2000s to solve this problem, vendors pushed for a single-platform solution that would serve as a one-stop shop for everything from content creation to approvals and resource allocation. But those on-premise, first-generation solutions rarely lived up to their promise. Expensive, clunky, and slow to deploy, they inevitably left marketers to deal with a content deluge by scrambling to find makeshift workflow and campaign execution solutions.

New cloud-based “MRM 2.0” solutions are finally emerging—and are increasingly replacing expensive, on-premises legacy software. Years in the making, these new systems provide the framework and structure that enterprises need to manage their marketing operations at scale. They allow users to produce the diverse, personalised content and materials needed to create the high-quality experiences today’s buyers and consumers expect.

The MRM 2.0 solutions that work most successfully allow enterprises to integrate best-of-breed individual tools across the marketing stack, operating seamlessly with other core platforms. But perhaps the most significant aspect of MRM 2.0 is that these solutions have been developed specifically to address the needs of today’s agile marketing departments; they are no longer generic solutions that were adapted to serve marketers’ needs after the fact.

Cloud-first

According to Forbes, marketing intelligence firm IDC predicted that, by 2020, 67 percent of enterprise IT infrastructure and software will be based in the cloud. Companies are increasingly moving away from clunky on-premises software solutions and opting for more nimble cloud-based platforms that allow for easier access and better data portability between systems.

On-premises solutions are expensive to deploy and maintain, require costly expenditures upfront, and often require users to get IT specialists involved when it’s time to make upgrades. In contrast, cloud-based solutions can allow companies to pay as they go and scale up or down depending on their needs.

Many work management solutions that began as on-premises deployments are now attempting to transition to the cloud—a process that is often expensive and almost never smooth. Because MRM 2.0 solutions were created in the cloud, they enable better performance and easier management of these increasingly mission-critical programs.

Interoperability is job one

Marketers know that the journey from content creation to campaign launch is a long and winding road. The more people who need to be involved in the process, the more bottlenecks are likely to arise. MRM 1.0 solutions boasted an ability to accomplish everything with an all-in-one platform, but the tools inevitably failed to deliver on that promise.

Unlike earlier MRM systems, the 2.0 solutions prioritise interoperability with companies’ legacy tools and systems. They allow marketing departments to manage and improve their current workflows without having to migrate all of their data to new systems or train their teams on all new software. Scott Brinker, VP of platform ecosystem at HubSpot, predicts that solutions that can bring greater cohesion to marketing stacks can be “transformative” for the martech industry. “What’s held martech back,” he says, “has been the lack of deeper integration.”

Rather than locking enterprises into a limited number of pre-selected apps and tools from today’s marketing stack, a fully capable MRM 2.0 solution offers flexibility that allows teams to pick from top-shelf applications and access them through centralised dashboards. Merging data and product workflow from existing marketing and content tools into a single platform makes it far easier and faster to manage the production of a diverse array of content.

Purpose-built for marketers

By and large, workflow platforms used by marketers today were not created specifically for marketing content development. At their core, they are generic work management solutions that were later applied to marketing teams in a broad attempt to meet basic demands.

Content marketing—delivering personal, engaging, and consistent storytelling in multiple formats and for different channels—has fundamentally disrupted traditional marketing. To engage customers in today’s experience economy, marketers need to produce growing quantities of high-quality content at an increasingly rapid pace.

Complex content marketing campaigns require participation from a greater number of team members. For example, one campaign might involve a multimedia specialist, a graphic designer, and a team of copywriters working on content creation. Added to the mix are management approvals, budgeting allocations, and other steps necessary to move the project forward. Marketers therefore need a tool designed to handle robust content workflows, keeping all parties on task to avoid bottlenecks.

In today’s increasingly competitive and complex marketing departments, teams need to shift from traditional campaign management to a more sophisticated kind of campaign orchestration. They need project management systems designed to meet their needs during every step of that process.

To stand apart from traditional MRM systems and off-the-shelf workflow solutions, MRM 2.0 platforms need to be efficient and user-friendly, seamlessly integrate with the entire marketing stack of enterprise solutions, and allow teams to keep pace with the breakneck speed of today’s content generation requirements.

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