Cloud starting to revolutionise marketing: digital veteran (highlights)

Dana Teahan, founder of tech and brand start-up, Divide by Zero, shares his perspectives on the potential of cloud to increase the effectiveness of the CMO and CDO.
Written by Angus Macaskill, Contributor

Having held roles as Chief information and digital officer at the Australian Institute of Management, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at Virgin Money Australia, and e-commerce manager at motoring services business, NRMA, Teahan draws on a wealth of experience to assess the potential of cloud in marketing.

Teahan says CMOs and CDOs are to some extent cloud natives, they've been running cloud-style services for some time. "The concept of cloud always existed...because you're delivering web sites, web services, but it wasn't called cloud, and it's only recently that technology has caught up with where...digital web had been for many years," he explains.

"The biggest impact [of cloud], probably, for Chief Digital Officers or CMOs is they now have back-end IT technology that they can access readily to help them deliver marketing aims."

"That's been a massive shift. Where technology hadn't really caught up for a long time, but now, especially with cloud offering so many different services, it's really starting to revolutionise the marketing side of things."

Teahan cites cloud apps like email marketing and marketing automation as breakthrough technologies in the way they're accessible to organisations big and small. Previously these were obtainable only by large businesses, were delivered from on-premises infrastructure, and managed by IT teams who "often didn't really understand what a CMO - or marketing - were trying to achieve."

While some marketing teams have rushed out and signed up for Software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps, sometimes without referencing IT teams, Teahan says that's changing as marketing teams begin to understand the importance of getting their apps to integrate to other systems. The IT teams have the knowledge, skills and methodology required to implement robust technology services, and can help marketing teams achieve a better outcome by working together.

"Marketing teams have got this capability [to acquire SaaS apps] but may not necessarily be leveraging it properly...or even thought through all the risks associated with picking some of this technology up: where does data reside, what is your DR around all this important information that you're collecting about your customers...but I think a lot [of marketers] are starting to realise it's not just as easy as signing up for a service online."

Teahan also sees more engagement between tech and marketing: "I've seen technology teams and marketing teams work much more closely together," he adds.

He talks of a symbiosis linking the tech and marketing teams: "There's no point having the world's best marketing automation tool if it doesn't interface with your CRM, and vice versa, marketeers can't get the best value if they don't have good systems backing what they're trying to do."

Teahan is evangelical about the need for businesses to avoid a fragmented experience where consumers see a shiny front-end, but, after that drives their engagement with a product or service, they find the delivery behind it to be disappointing. "Just having a tool there, and not interfacing it with what the rest of the business is trying to do, is quite dangerous because you get a bit of a disjointed experience or you're not harnessing the power of all the infrastructure you've got there," he says.

For other topics Teahan discussed, including the future of cloud in Australia, mobility, the internet of things, and big data please click here for the full interview.

For a shorter piece focusing on cloud and the CMO/CDO, please click the image above.

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