In their song “Cut Your Hair”, the rock band Pavement acerbically mused on the ceaseless stream of bands starting up in their music scene. “I saw another one, just the other day … a special new band,” they sang. Nearly two decades later, Pavement could easily rewrite those lyrics to lampoon the tech scene, since it seems like every day Techcrunch discusses “a special new” brand or solution.
It can be difficult to navigate the ever-changing landscape of new businesses and solutions. Companies are bought-up, brand names change and old companies continuously reinvent themselves by rolling out new platforms. As evidence-based marketers, we are always on the lookout for solutions that will add insight, expand our reach and improve our performance. Though we have to view certain solutions through a lens of skepticism, there are others that look quite promising. Going into 2012, here are five cloud marketing solutions that we are excited about.
What percentage of your site’s traffic is being generated through mobile devices? If your site isn’t optimized for mobile phones, you might be losing on converting those valuable mobile leads. Mobile was hot in 2011 and it’s only getting hotter. Socialnomics estimates that within five years mobile will overtake the PC as the most popular way to browse the internet. As such, brands need to find ways to create compelling content that’s optimized for smartphones and tablets. Appifier lets you take your mobile marketing efforts one step further. Appifier is a service that, for a reasonable fee, converts WordPress sites into actual mobile apps, complete with push notifications, offline access, social media sharing options and a native look and feel. While there are other site-to-app solutions, Appifier is interesting to us due to the fact that it’s geared toward non-developers. It’s therefore an inexpensive way for marketers to go mobile without involving IT.
This month, startup Parse.ly, a predictive content platform is rolling out their first product called Dash. Dash aims to help brands drive pageviews by not only suggesting topics that are trending, but also analyzing a web publisher’s content and suggesting which topics they should be writing more or less about. By providing marketers with “predictive, actionable insights,” web publishers will be able to stay on top of trending topics. We predict that Dash is going to be a hit with content marketers.
PR pros and outbound marketers are sure to love Contactually. Contactually bills itself as ” a personal assistant for your contacts.” In fact, it’s a lightweight customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed to help individuals or small businesses prioritize and group their contacts, automate follow-up emails, and seamlessly integrate their contact data into larger CRMs like Salesforce.com. We see CRM integration as an integral component of marketing and are excited about solutions like Contactually which can help businesses with their customer relationship management needs.
Kiip (pronounced Keep) has come up with an exciting new way for B2C businesses to conduct mobile advertising engagements. Casual games like Angry Birds and Farmville have swept the nation. Audiences who never played games before are now addicted to playing fun casual games on their mobile devices. Kiip allows brands to make meaningful connections with these gamers by offering them tangible rewards at the moment that they complete a notable achievement in the game. For example, brands like Dr. Pepper (who have advertisted through Kiip) can reward gamers with a free beverage at the point that they clear out a level in Angry Birds. Kiip can therefore create a positive association in a gamer’s mind between their in-game accomplishments and a particular brand.
ClickSquared’s “The Hub”
Clicksquared’s cross-channel marketing hub (or “The Hub” for short) is a new cloud-based marketing-in-a-box platform designed to provide businesses with an affordable, integrated marketing solution.
The Hub allows marketers to manage customer data and engage customers across multiple channels through recurring and automated trigger campaigns. It also lets marketers easily deploy polls, contests and games into social media sites.
All-in-one marketing solutions like “The Hub” are excellent options for small businesses who have yet to experiment with marketing automation, but don’t have the resources to invest in big-name solutions like Marketo or Eloqua. These businesses stand to experience exponential revenue increases by delving into marketing automation. If your business has yet to explore the lucrative world of marketing automation, “The Hub” might be the perfect point of departure.