Technology’s role in transforming marketing cannot be understated. Digital channels, automation and a multitude of platforms have helped expand the marketer’s role, requiring expanded skillsets and increased IT investments for successful execution of marketing plans. Yet most marketing teams remain understaffed and overburdened. It is in this environment that marketing as a service (MaaS) has emerged.
Research firm IDC defines MaaS as a bundle of technology and marketing services that enable world-class digital marketing capabilities to be outsourced. MaaS combines marketing infrastructure, IT and data management services, and creative and execution services into a single offering. IDC predicts that by 2020, 33 percent of CMOs will outsource some digital marketing activities via MaaS.
At Vya, we’re seeing the growth of MaaS first hand. Our clients are outsourcing an expanding set of tech-driven marketing functions and execution services, as they focus on hiring only for core roles on their internal teams.
Here are some of the ways we’re seeing MaaS help lean marketing teams implement their most ambitious marketing plans.
Maximizing Platform Investments for Tech-Driven Marketing Initiatives
Among the biggest challenges for companies today is keeping pace with technology advances. IT departments are often absorbed with large initiates, like data security. Marketing’s evolving IT needs are often lower on the priority list. This leads to slow approvals and implementations for marketing software requests.
Outsourcing allows marketers to get marketing programs to market as quickly as possible, generating revenue. Working with an already approved vendor can mean marketing doesn’t have to wait for IT’s involvement. This is why many marketers are turning to the marketing platforms they already have in place, in an attempt to get as much into and out of them as possible.
Supporting Smart Hiring Strategies
This leads to the use of service providers for activities ranging from email marketing, direct mail, design and content to back office functions like assembly, backend fulfillment and purchasing of promotional items.
Most businesses reserve headcount for strategic positions, like a CMO, or for project managers who can keep plans and their execution on track. In particular, we anticipate companies will continue to outsource tech-driven activities, because hiring for technology doesn’t make good business sense – tech obsolescence and attrition of trained staff are just two good reasons to outsource tech-related marketing functions rather than hiring.
Finding a Partner Who Can Deliver
Successful MaaS engagements require a partnership approach. The MaaS provider becomes an extension of the marketing department. Look for a provider who can handle your requirements and handle them well.
A recent VentureBeat article describes the MaaS relationship this way: “A ‘virtual marketing department’ that knows your company, speaks with your voice, and is indistinguishable from full-time staff.”
Transitioning from transaction-based outsourcing to a relationship-based approach often yields better results. This doesn’t happen overnight – relationships are built on trust. It’s a continuous conversation between a business and its MaaS partner. When a MaaS partner understands your goals, they can help you uncover new opportunities to advance your marketing plans through outsourcing. As a buyer of marketing services, look for a versatile provider – someone who can sit at the table with you and help you with multiple challenges.
Do you believe MaaS will become the prevalent marketing model in the years ahead? Post a comment and tell us what you think.