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New age marketing in the era of the cloud

Gone are the days where companies devise marketing campaigns and push them through traditional media to customers. Due to the increasing penetration of smartphones, applications and the proliferation of social media, there has been a fundamental shift in the way we do marketing. Great marketing no longer starts with an 'aha moment' in a boardroom or within the agency. It now starts with the customer.

With the era of the tech-savvy customers in full swing, companies increasingly have to turn to customer insights and social media to inform and develop their marketing strategies. The socially savvy always-on customer of today can easily gather information not only on the products they desire, but on the brands they wish to be connected to.

Bringing the customer closer

So where does this leave us as marketers? This new era of the tech-savvy customer means that we have to evolve with our customers. We are not immune from the effects of the information age and need to seek new ways of engaging with our customers.

Over the past two years, we have generated the majority of the world's data. Analysing and understanding this data was always the job of a data scientist, but no more - the consumption, analysis and use of this data is now in the hands of the marketer. Bringing the customer closer to the business has never been easier - with the right tools. Understanding and using these tools to bring this competitive advantage to the fore will enable us to unlock key insights about our customers, and engage with them in a more personalised way.

Today, we have different communications channels like call centres, apps, websites, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook at our disposal, which all help us engage with our customers and influence their perception of our brand. By using data analytics tools, we can unlock the key to real and sustainable competitive advantage, an intangible known as customer experience.

Deliver an experience

A lot has been said about the importance of customer experience in setting your organisation apart, but all you really need to remember is that it places you, as a marketer, in the centre of the business strategy and that you are responsible for more than just campaigns. Furthermore, the traditional stuff you do is so much more likely to resonate and you're in great shape to take your customers from being purchasers and consumers of your product, to being real brand loyalists and ambassadors.

Technology will put companies and marketers in the moments that count with customers, whether they are at work or at play and irrespective of what smartphone, smart TV or gaming device they own. Surprise and delight customers, and deliver a rich and interactive experience, which will make the customer experience a real and tangible thing. This is what it means to be a marketer in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

About Farren Roper

Microsoft global engagement lead for collaboration. Farren is also a divisional director for the Schools Division of the Advtech group appointed for his expertise on innovation and technology. Farren has his roots in technology and applications, having formerly founded his own businesses, run a dynamic internet service provider and taken to market Apps which have topped the South African App stores.

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