Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Delivering marketing emails using the cloud

Email communications are a mainstay in the marketing plans of many organisations. Delivering emails effectively (both in time and cost) is critical, as so many marketing communications tactics are only measureable by cost – not delivery rate / costs per view. The measurability of email marketing puts the pressure on marketers to deliver – in more ways than one.

Research shows that many companies like to maintain responsibility for sending emails from within the organization, often because it gives a feeling of control. Coupled with that control is a sense of security; both of customer data and of the overall marketing plan. This feeling is probably more prevalent in smaller organisations. However, keeping email marketing in-house can be expensive in terms of time, delivery rate and opportunity cost for alternate marketing activity. Not to mention the problems of coping with scaling up if necessary. There is an alternative which is available to small and large organisations alike – using cloud-based email for marketing / for day to day business communications.

Email Marketing in The Cloud


Cloud-based operations are relatively new, so they have been taken up by early adopters, those who are fleet of foot or those individuals in positions to persuade others to take risks with new technology. Traditionally in commerce the organisations that are faster to move and adapt to new technologies are the start-ups, the smaller businesses and the large organisations that are organised as small business units with an ethos of innovation and creativity – think 3M.

The cloud as a storage facility has been around for a few years but it’s extended into a decent system for delivering email services. Basically it is a service provider that processes, manages or stores customer data in a remote data center. Cloud-based email services include backend email, spam and virus filtering, archiving, encryption and other remotely managed housekeeping tasks. It can be used in conjunction with existing in-house IT infrastructure or as a replacement.

There are benefits to all users of the cloud:

Costs are relatively low – especially for smaller businesses that don’t invest in IT. By using the cloud for email marketing delivery costs are more predictable too.

This predictability enables better planning and budgeting in the short, medium and long-term. So the organisation can operate more strategically without getting waylaid by second-guessing software upgrade costs for instance.

This predictability enables better planning and budgeting in the short, medium and long-term. So the organisation can operate more strategically without getting waylaid by second-guessing software upgrade costs for instance.

It’s simpler for an organisation to manage as the skills requirement is lower.
Using the cloud should free up the IT department / person to spend more time doing things that contribute to the bottom line in skilled ways.

Cloud email is scalable so the company can adapt better to change.

As cloud based email matures, it attracts the later adopters and the organisations that are a little slower to make changes to embrace new technology and a new way of thinking. The larger companies acting as pioneers include those shifting to use Gmail. (In fact, Google is a cloud pioneer from search engine, to email provider.) There are plenty of companies providing cloud based email delivery services. To many it is an extension of their services and they will trade on their trusted brand values to encourage the next tier of organisations to make the jump to cloud. Look to the large, established software providers and see what they are up to. Lotus, Microsoft and IBM are all offering cloud based solutions. It is to be expected that innovative industries are those who have moved first; so for inspiration or reassurance research what industries such as motor manufacturing, pharmaceutical, architecture, design and media are doing with their marketing emails and the cloud.

In-house and cloud-based systems aren’t mutually exclusive.

A combined approach to email communications makes sense, both financially and logistically for many organisations. For compliance some applications – personal data or transactional information for instance – might have to remain in-house but there might be a benefit to archiving customer data in the cloud. Or an in-house email system might be used as the primary system with a back-up or recovery, cloud-based email system. Cloud providers will need to reassure organisations that their data is safe.


It’s up to each organisation to decide to whether email marketing stays in-house, moves out to the cloud, or whether to combine the two.

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