$100+ Billion Market for Public Cloud Services


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It’s Time B2B Marketing Steps Out of the Box and On to the Cloud—Up, Up and Away!

There are no more “ifs” and “buts” or “when”—Cloud for the enterprise is real and the questions now are “how”, “why” and “what”. IDC chief cloud analyst, Frank Gens, speaking at the Cloud Leadership Forum in Santa Clara earlier this year said, “Cloud is most interesting when it’s not just about how the CTO can make it happen, but it’s about what can make the CEO excited about what it can do for the business.” As Gens explains, the Cloud can involve a whole new service architecture to transform IT staffing, enterprise cost structures and business processes, for the better or worse depending on how it is implemented.

Here is a statistic to take note of: the public cloud services market is forecast to grow 19.6 percent in 2012 to total $109 billion worldwide, according to Gartner, Inc.

What does Cloud mean then for B2B marketing? This is a wide open field for discussion and I am by no means an expert on Cloud. I have, however, been a keen observer and continue to watch what is happening in the industry and how it is changing the way business is conducted in an environment of “virtual reality”. Quite the opposite though of a simulated three-dimensional world—Cloud is definitely, common sense marketing. You may call it innovative and pat your back about out-of-the-box thinking but clear the cloudy fog and you’ll see what it really is:

  • Buy only what you need—and it can sit on a Cloud
  • Make it available to those who need it in your community—and they can reach it on the Cloud
  • Access it only when you need it—the Cloud is open for business, at your convenience
  • There’s no need for licensing, software, hardware and other infrastructural investments—the managed-services providers, SaaS solution providers, third-party application vendors can take care of that for you
  • Choosing a Cloud deployment model is not affected by the need to integrate offline and online marketing channels (this in fact, is one of the highlights of IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management product suite) as long as you clearly know what the online-offline integration should do for you.

So what can Cloud do for B2B marketing? What about Cloud will get your B2B organization’s CEO excited?

Let me give you a quick list of the top 5 benefits of Cloud for B2B in my opinion:

  1. For organizations that need to integrate their existing CRM and market intelligence systems with the customer / lead behavioural data insights through online channels, Cloud enables the use of Big Data. Business transformation and growth are achievable, minus the mega investments in infrastructure and / or resources.
  2. B2B marketers can create demand generation campaigns uniquely geared towards various target segments because Cloud allows you to seamlessly match and utilize different technologies and content platforms. It truly is a buyer’s market on the Cloud. As I said earlier, buy what you need and use it when you need it.
  3. You don’t need to struggle with balancing the load of marketing campaigns. Even if you have a range of viral campaigns that you need to scale without any hiccups, Cloud enables you to do this without security and reliability issues.
  4. Marketing distribution costs can be minimized because everything that once comprised your “marketing in a box” is now on a Cloud. Quite literally so; companies are moving away from printing / producing collateral, user manuals, demo kits, etc. and making all this and more available for their Cloud community to access from anywhere, anytime.
  5. The biggest benefit that I see being delivered by Cloud is that it leaves us free to build and nurture relationships that matter. That is the overarching USP of Cloud, whether you are a buyer, a seller, a B2C retailer or a B2B marketer, you are free to move around and yet, get things done at the speed of light. Combining the forces of social and mobile marketing, Cloud has simplified our day to day business and marketing functions.

And this brings me to what I believe is the one area organizations, particularly mid-sized and large organizations need to be careful about. It’s easy to get enamoured by the silver lining, uh, silver everything of the Cloud, but you cannot allow internal organizational complexities to creep in and ultimately transfer over into external complexities on Cloud. To effectively use the Cloud, we need solid, well-defined marketing KPIs, the ability to measure results and stay focused on what matters, i.e. demand generation and lead management.

Cloud marketing has come a long way with the backing of social media. We use the Cloud to store and share media—that’s the social part in the “sharing”. In the B2B demand generation world, we are sharing common challenges and solutions to “pull” people towards our brand or product. Relationship marketing is powerful and we all seek greater engagement of our audiences. So we use the cloud to share value, to share information seamlessly with prospects and customers, to socialize in order to listen, understand and participate in conversations that will contribute to lead nurturing and ultimately, the golden goose of conversion.

A joint research project by Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles in January this year called “The Evolved CMO 2012? was based on a survey of nearly 200 global marketing leaders. The objective of the study was to measure CMOs’ influence within the organization, their business objectives, and the skills and competencies necessary to drive a customer-obsessed organization and respond to the technology-empowered customer. Not surprisingly, one of the key findings was that in a world powered by a technology-empowered customer, the No. 1 skill to improve on is digital: 40 percent of CMOs say increasing their technology savvy is their top self-improvement goal.

Let’s take a walk in the Cloud then…

Which direction is your organization headed towards in the marketing Cloud? There are some very interesting dynamics at play in the current Cloud marketing scenario. I would love to hear your thoughts, observations and concerns about this subject. Email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


  1. Thank you for the fantastic information!
    The data stated above, clearly displays the importance of cloud-based office suites in today’s competitive marketplace. With the introduction of social CRM, affordable cloud-based office suites can now be more efficient when collecting data and utilizing this data to better suit a business’ needs.
    Futhermore, cloud-based office suites encourage relationships, internally and with customers, as well as increasing the efficiency/productivity of the business’ employees.
    Social CRM integration has allowed a crucial channels of communication between clients & businesses, previously unavailable. A relationship is easily built when social CRM is available and adopted by all employees. As a member of the GreenRope family, I have been fortunate enough to see the increased ROI and growth of businesses that are utilizing CRM. To compete in today’s globalized marketplace, social CRM is a must have.

  2. Thank you Daniel for your comments. There are no easy solutions as we are still trying to find the best solution. The industry is still trying to find the best way to address this opportunity and time will tell who comes up with the best solutions.


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