Every IT industry news website, whitepaper, analyst research, and eshot seems to reference ‘hyperconvergence’. As the public cloud continues to grow so does the negative press when any form of a security breach occurs on its network. Big or small, many business leaders are now looking to systems that can have the commercial and technical agility of the public cloud whilst ensuring any data that is core to their business remains on-premise, with anything on the periphery being pushed out to the public cloud. Hybrid cloud environments have been in operation for many years but the difference with hyperconverged infrastructure, such as ones including by the likes of Nutanix, is that it takes a much more agnostic approach to server, storage, networking and virtualisation. More effort is instead focused on software defined architecture for deployment and integration. If deployed effectively hyperconverged networks can also be very competitive on cost compared to their public cloud rivals.
Another significant and disruptive topic gathering momentum across the industry is GDPR. Once General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes come into effect on 25th May 2018 the rules of engagement will change dramatically and as a consequence so will the way in which data needs to be handled – particularly for marketing departments and agencies. Obtaining consent from the person whose data a business holds is going to be a major factor as there will be no more options around ‘opt out’ of a database as businesses will have to systematically ask people if they want to ‘opt-in’. They’ll then have to provide the necessary evidence that a clear ‘yes’ has been communicated by the data owner rather than an ambiguous ‘well, they didn’t say no’ approach. Companies that specialise in obtaining contact databases that are used for marketing campaigns will probably no longer exist in their current form due to GDPR changes. This change will be immediate from May 2018 in the B2C world but once all criteria is defined it will also play a major part in the B2B market so companies need to act now. This is just skimming the surface of a very complex area but any business breaching the new rules will be fined heavily for breaking the law – up to 4% of their global revenues or €20 million, whichever is greater. A fine of this magnitude could put many firms out of business. Current legislation means these fines are capped at £500k, so when Talk Talk were in the press for their security breach relating to the theft of over 150,000 customer records last year they were reportedly fined around £400k. If the new rules were in place that figure could of been closer to £70m which is similar to the £80m they lost in the first quarter following the breach due to a 11% fall in share price and the loss of over 100,000 customers.
Born in the cloud marketing automation platforms are also driving disruption as businesses look to automate and orchestrate the way in which they engage with their target audiences. Similar to businesses view of hyperconverged infrastructures, marketers don’t really care what technology a platform sits on. The core piece of information is how it can shorten the buyer journey, build buyer personas, and create actionable reporting that enables marketing departments to focus on the campaigns that are delivering the greatest return. These platforms also give businesses the agility of having multiple agency resource but delivered through an internal team of marketers or sales enablers. What this does is provide more time defining the strategy based on qualitative and actionable intelligence and therefore decreases the cost of customer acquisition.
The omnichannel world of social media, e shots, web, automation, mobile, CRM and the likes are also fusing into a hyperconverged software centric architecture. Marketers need to work with IT, finance and the broader business to aggregate operations into a single interface where actionable and informed information becomes the output for driving business change and growth. It is important to ensure the whole business is brought on that journey by informing them of what your customer needs are. If everyone in business understands the customer, experience throughout the whole path to purchase will be much more positive and in turn that lead to increased loyalty.
Changes to GDPR, marketing automation, balanced with the rise of storytelling is defining the future direction of inbound marketing. Companies are reviewing consumer search terms, downloads, page visits, social conversation, heat maps and satisfaction surveys to really understand what consumers want assistance with. Essentially the success of inbound marketing is the result of much more targeted and relevant content being shared with those who have a specific need. This is why marketing teams are creating buyer personas to ensure the right information is being shared with the right person at the right time. Next year’s changes to GDPR will really fan the inbound marketing flames as companies are going to need to push the boundaries of inbound techniques and ‘own’ their data rather than rely on the traditional outbound approach that relied so much on generic data lists.
Over the years marketers have always had to adapt to change and embrace technology advancements in order to succeed. With digital engagement, customer experience and value forming the future shape of marketing, change is happening at a rapid rate. As a result a new breed of the collaborative hyper-marketer is emerging that will need to accelerate that pace of change in today’s hyperconverged workplace.