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Connecting e-mail to cloud computing

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Question: What's the connection between cloud computing and e-mail marketing? Answer: As cloud computing rolls onto the marketing landscape in 2009, e-mail will be even more critical to marketing success. Cloud computing allows marketers to connect business-critical systems on the fly without having to invest in new infrastructure, train new personnel or license additional software. But what's the point of building these complex, customized clouds if you can't actually leverage the rich data housed within? Enter a new role for e-mail: As you integrate CRM, Web analytics, lead nurturing and other systems using cloud technologies, e-mail should be at the core of your integrated marketing strategy. No other one-to-one messaging medium better lets you harness the awesome power created by cloud computing and turn it into measurable marketing ROI. A few pointers as you start the new year: Keep a subscribercentric mind-set. It's all about the customer. Focus on developing powerful emotional connections with them by delivering online and offline marketing messages that suit their unique wants and needs. Remember, your subscribers rule. Don't miss the forest for the trees. Only by getting a 360ø-view of your marketing strategy can you get a 360ø-view of your customers. Don't limit yourself by being just "the e-mail expert" on your team. Instead, step back and fully understand where and why e-mail fits into your overall marketing. Use e-mail to turn integrated data into ROI. Once your systems are connected via cloud technology, plug in your e-mail platform and extend the power of your integration by making the rich data inside your cloud actionable. Tim Kopp is CMO for ExactTarget (www.exacttarget.com), a provider of software, services and integrated solutions for one-to-one communications. Originally published Jan. 19, 2009
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