Want to deploy and react to your marketing initiatives faster? Want to cut out unnecessary interactions with your firm's internal information technology (IT) specialists? Of course you do, everyone does — which is why 100 percent of the businesses surveyed in a report by consultancy Big Blue Moose claim they are using at least one Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based software tool as part of their day to day operations. The report, Marketing From The Cloud Research Brief: How Digital Marketers Are Using SaaS Based Software Tools, finds that marketers are becoming less dependent upon IT and more dependent upon SaaS and Cloud-based solutions for their marketing efforts. The report also claims that web analytics and email campaign management are already well established, cloud-delivered solutions, while web content management and web content testing and targeting have not been adopted with equal urgency.
The survey defined the following tools as "the suite that digital marketers are currently utilizing in both on-premise (e.g. installed) and (SaaS) delivery models":
- Web Analytics;
- Web Hosting;
- Web Content Management;
- Email Campaign Management;
- Content Testing and Targeting; and
- Lead Nurturing/Drip Campaigns.
Of the 105 businesses that responded to the survey, 72 percent label themselves as being involved in some kind of marketing function, 19 percent say that they are in technology, and 9 percent say that they are in "other" business functions.
The vast majority of respondents (90 percent) utilize web analytics as a hosted service, a clear landslide over the other services, most of which the report says are used by "right around the 50 percent mark." Customer relationship management (CRM) is implemented as a hosted service by 62 percent of respondents, web hosting and email campaign management are each deployed by 57 percent of the surveyed businesses.
The hosted services least deployed by the survey's respondents are web content management (43 percent), content testing and targeting (29 percent), and lead nurturing/drip campaign (24 percent).
"There is a fragmented approach to [content testing and lead nurturing] products," says Ian Truscott, a senior analyst at consultancy Gilbane Group. Truscott claims, in the report, that SaaS and other services available outside the server room are an increasingly essential part of the marketer's solution palette as they strive for agility. He attributes the slow adoption of the "fractured hosted service marketing tools market" to businesses who "still think of the value of their Web site in terms of number of hits and how long someone spends on the Web site," he says. But he does predict that there will eventually be a leveling of SaaS implementations.
The survey asks respondents to choose the hosted service tool they consider the highest priority of the tools that they have not yet implemented. Oddly enough, content testing and targeting is selected by 57 percent of respondents. Web content management is chosen by 43 percent, web analytics by 42 percent, and lead nurturing/drip campaigns by 38 percent.
The hosted service tools that have not yet been implemented and are of the lowest priority are email content management (14 percent), web hosting (19 percent), and CRM (24 percent).
The report's key findings predict the following: The need for measurability, productivity increases, and speed will be combined with a lack of up-front capital spending; IT resources will continue to be reduced; up until this year, most SaaS applications have been under the radar but will grow in importance; and new marketing organizations are exploring hybrid solutions that will allow some of their existing marketing tools to be installed or retained.
The research for this report was done in July and August of 2010 by Big Blue Moose in conjunction with, and partially underwritten by, CrownPeak, a provider of SaaS web content management and optimization solutions.