Digital marketing for cloud services_Master's thesis results

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B2B digital marketing‘s influence on organisational buying behaviour and its key success drivers for promotion of cloud computing services - An empirical study as part of a Master's thesis

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Digital marketing for cloud services_Master's thesis results

  1. 1. MASTER’S THESIS RESULTS B2B digital marketing‘s influence on organisational buying behaviour and its key success drivers for promotion of cloud computing services An empirical study by Stephanie Schulze stephanieschulze@hotmail.com 31 January 2014
  2. 2. Presentation Outline The researched fields and perspectives should be especially interesting to professionals, who sell or market IT services to a cloud knowledgeable audience. B2B digital marketing‘s influence on organisational buying behaviour and its key success drivers for promotion of cloud services Abstract: Summary of Findings Slides 3-8 Study Outline Slides 9-14 Study Results – Key Findings Slides 15-33 Study Results – Additional Evaluations Slides 34-56 2
  3. 3. Master‘s thesis topic: B2B digital marketing‘s influence on organisational buying behaviour and its key success drivers for promotion of cloud services Desktop Research How is online and social marketing used to influence the B2B buying process? At what point does it have the biggest influence? Which marketing methods are the most successful in B2B social media? Online Analysis Which cloud players are most performing on social media? Towards which target group should cloud providers direct their marketing efforts? What are the main trends in cloud computing as perceived by its community? Empirical Research How do IT professionals perceive marketing for cloud services? Which online marketing channels are potentially the most successful? How are professionals engaging with cloud providers? Outcomes How can B2B digital marketing influence organisational buying behaviour and what are the key success drivers for promotion of cloud services? 3
  4. 4. Research abstract – Findings from secondary research Desktop Research How is online and social marketing used to influence the B2B buying process? At what point does it have the biggest influence? Which marketing methods are the most successful in B2B Social Media? The B2B buying cycle Brand awareness Recognizing the need Implementing & evaluating Need recognition Evaluate purchase options Brand consideration According to several secondary sources, marketing should address each of these stages. Other authors highlight that especially the first stages of the buying cycle are crucial. Solution search Purchase Making the purchase decision Resolving concerns Long list An exemplary model for a potential marketing mix can be found on page 21 of the thesis. Trial How can B2B digital marketing influence organisational buying behaviour and Negotiation Investigation which are the key success drivers for promotion of cloud services? Proposal review Short List 4
  5. 5. Research abstract – Findings from the online analysis Online Analysis Which cloud players are most performing on social media? Towards which target group should cloud providers direct their marketing efforts? What are the main trends in cloud computing as perceived by its community? Amazon Web Services (AWS) was identified as the most powerful player in the cloud market – not only according to online rankings, but also based on the results from interviews and online questionnaire responses. Marketing of cloud computing services should be designed in line with a two-sided approach: 1. IT benefits: CIO and the IT staff 2. Business benefits: CEO, CFO, COO and other high-level decision makers This applies for cloud providers, as well as for their partner companies, such as Managed Service Providers (MSP) and Value-added resellers (VAR) that offer cloud services. Security concerns and integration issues are still roadblocks of the cloud trend. Therefore hybrid cloud solutions and cloud brokers are expected to dominate the cloud market. Cloud providers further need to consider how to address MSPs and VARs in order to be recommended to end-customers. This kind of marketing requires direct contact measures such as events. Branding is in any case essential, since B2B brands rely on trust, which is How can B2B digital marketing influence organisational buying behaviour that the created through brand awareness. Also, IT professionals claim and cloud market is not transparent. As a result, many customers stick to the which are the key success drivers for promotion of cloud services? companies they know. Therefore, educating customers in the early stages of their search for a cloud provider can help to establish trust. 5
  6. 6. Research abstract – Findings from empirical research Empirical Research How do IT professionals perceive marketing for cloud services? Which online marketing channels are potentially most successful? How are professionals engaging with cloud providers?  The most important marketing channels are technology blogs and LinkedIn groups, since they are the major online sources of knowledge about cloud services.  LinkedIn is the leading social media channel among the survey respondents.  The majority of marketing outlay is still distributed to the traditional forms of online marketing: Email marketing, display advertising and search marketing  Advertisements for cloud services can be successful if they are directed towards the correct target group, that is the group of professionals who are interested in cloud services. How can B2B digital marketing influence organisational buying behaviour and  Considering that the second most popular form of engagement is participation in webinar sessions, which are the key success drivers for promotion of cloud services? adverts that involve webinars can be potentially successful. 6
  7. 7. Research abstract – Findings from empirical research Field Empirical results Knowledge 87.8 % of all respondents either know a lot about cloud computing or are experts. Source of knowledge 50.4 % of respondents gained their knowledge from technology blogs and 43.5 % from cloud computing groups on LinkedIn. Attitude towards advertising on websites 51.1 % either don’t mind it or like the advert if it is interesting, while 45 % find online ads annoying or just don’t like them. Inbound marketing activities It is remarkable that almost 80 % are likely or very likely to search for a cloud provider online. Almost half of the respondents would look up a cloud provider on social media and more than a half of the respondents would click on an advert that informs them about a cloud service. Social media usage LinkedIn is clearly the most used social network, followed by Facebook and YouTube, which are similarly popular. Twitter is less used and Google+ is the least popular. Perceptions about advertising on social media Advertising on LinkedIn is the most appreciated. The second most acceptable are adverts on Twitter and thirdly on YouTube. Google+ adverts are less appreciated and Facebook ads are the most disliked. Marketing channel mix Email marketing is the most used marketing channel. The second most used channels are display advertising and paid search marketing. Advertising on LinkedIn is in third place and Facebook and Twitter follow behind. Cloud computing groups on LinkedIn Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization and Cloud Computing are the most visited groups for cloud computing on LinkedIn. Engagement on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube The respondents follow all social platforms almost equally – just Twitter and YouTube are slightly ahead. The majority does not use a provider’s customer service on social media. For those who do, Facebook and Google+ are the best platforms. The respondents are slightly more likely to comment on updates and they are even more likely to take invitations for webinars. Most webinar invitations will be accepted on LinkedIn and Google+. 7
  8. 8. Research abstract – Outcomes Outcomes How can B2B digital marketing influence organisational buying behaviour and which are the key success drivers for promotion of cloud services? 1. Challenge industry best practices Cloud provider benchmarking Industry perceptions 2. Clearly define the target group Cloud provider buying centre 3. Define the right digital marketing mix Effective digital marketing techniques & channels Social media communication in cloud computing 8
  9. 9. STUDY OUTLINE  Purpose and design of the study 9
  10. 10. Marketing of Cloud Computing Services What makes the cloud trend so interesting for marketers? “I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion.” – Larry Ellison, chairman, Oracle (2013)  It used to be a pure IT trend and surprisingly transformed into a business trend.  Highly technical solutions are communicated as easy-to-use toolkits and draw the attention of business professionals just as much as of IT professionals.  It has been promoted just as much by the media and by business decision makers as by the IT industry.  This phenomenon is even more curious considering that a lot of IT professionals do not find the hype around cloud computing justified.  Which role does digital marketing play in this trend and what are key success factors? 10
  11. 11. Research Focus In order to discover the major success factors of cloud marketing, empirical research will focus on… Effective digital marketing techniques & channels  Inbound and outbound marketing techniques of cloud providers,  The most effective marketing channels for promotion of cloud services,  The effectiveness of online advertising for cloud services, Social media communication in cloud computing  The use of social media marketing for promotion of cloud services,  Electronic word-of-mouth (WOM) in cloud computing – social media discussions of trends in the cloud market and perceptions of cloud professionals, Cloud provider benchmarking  Competition in the cloud market – benchmarking of the major cloud providers’ online and social media marketing techniques, Cloud provider buying centre  Defining the main decision makers within the buying centre of a cloud customer and their functions,  Identification of other industry players that have an influence on organisational buying behaviour of cloud services, Industry perceptions  Perceptions about online and social media marketing within the industry,  And different players’ awareness towards cloud brands. 11
  12. 12. Research Design B2B Digital Marketing’s Influence on Organisational Buying Behaviour and its Key Success Drivers for Promotion of Cloud Services Management Decision Problem What are the key success factors of B2B online and social media marketing and how these can be used to boost sales of cloud computing services? Marketing Research Problem – Research Question How should online marketing for cloud services be designed to influence organisational purchase intentions and what role does social media play in the marketing mix? Research Aim To define target groups among IT professionals and promotional message elements, that can potentially influence organisational purchase intentions through online channels. Research Objectives 1) To define the best target group for promotion of cloud services. 2) To investigate cloud professionals’ perceptions of major trends in the cloud market. 3) To discover the most effective marketing channels for promotion of cloud services. 4) To investigate the major players’ online and social media marketing mix and to define key success factors. 5) To investigate IT professionals’ perception of online and social media advertising for cloud services and their user behaviour on social media. 12
  13. 13. Connection of Research Focus and Objectives The research objectives need to be categorized according to the research focus as follows… Effective digital marketing techniques & channels 3) To discover the most effective marketing channels for the promotion of cloud services. Social media communication in cloud computing 5) To investigate IT professionals’ perception of online and social media advertising for cloud services and their user behaviour on social media. Cloud provider benchmarking 4) To investigate the major players’ online and social media marketing mix and to define key success factors. Cloud provider buying centre 1) To define the best target group for promotion of cloud services. Industry perceptions 2) To investigate cloud professionals’ perceptions of major trends in the cloud market. 13
  14. 14. Methodology The research was distributed over several periods and conducted through various research methods. Research Method Phase I Phase II Research Input IT professional Cloud customer •Exploratory research: Face-to-face interviews Perceptions about online and social media marketing for IT services; decision makers for cloud purchases IT professional at an IT services company (VAR), US Technology Support Specialist at a retail company, US •Exploratory research: Telephone interviews Insights about the cloud selling process, cloud purchase decision makers & social selling practices Business Development Executive at a MSP, India Vice President of a video distribution company, US Phase III •Observation Research: Trend analysis & competitive analysis Perceptions concerning cloud trends Cloud trends: Analysis of responses to a LinkedIn cloud & social media marketing computing group discussion, benchmarking of major cloud players Cloud player benchmarking: Social media performances Phase IV •Exploratory research: Telephone & e-mail interviews Insights on cloud purchase decision makers & digital marketing practices of cloud companies Email: Senior Consultant at a MSP, India Telephone: ICT Consultant at a retail company, South Africa Phase V •Exploratory research: Telephone & e-mail interviews Detailed insights in the situation of a cloud provider and a MSP, as well as current marketing practices Email: Marketing Manager at a Cloud provider, Germany Telephone: IT services specialist, self-employed and VAR, Germany •Descriptive Research: Online survey Brand awareness of cloud providers, social media usage, perceptions towards cloud advertising Phase VI 131 respondents from both sides 14
  15. 15. STUDY RESULTS – KEY FINDINGS 15
  16. 16. Phase I – Exploratory research Perceptions about online and social media marketing for IT services; Contact persons and decision makers in the cloud buying process Summary of interview results Perceptions about online and social media marketing for IT services LinkedIn:  No postings in groups for promotion of services  Used to contact prospects  However, prospects often don’t respond to contact requests Phase I •Exploratory research: Face-to-face interviews  Facebook:  Blocked in many firms  Not seen as a business marketing channel  Promising non-social media marketing channels:  Events, webinars, emails  SEO  Website appearance Contact persons and decision makers in the cloud buying process Hypotheses in respect to findings Hypothesis I: The key decision makers for buying cloud services are on the C-level and obtain functions such as CEO, CIO and CFO. Hypothesis II: Marketing needs to address the business and the IT level in order to influence buying behaviour for cloud services.  CEO and CFO are the most important decision makers  Almost all IT manufacturers are marketing to the CIO  For more details see slide 35 16
  17. 17. Phase II – Exploratory research Insights about the cloud selling process, cloud purchase decision makers & social selling practices Summary of interview results Insights about the cloud selling process     Selling to existing customers Major selling channel: emails Cloud selling is a long process of negotiations Identifying the right contact person is critical for success Cloud purchase decision makers Phase II •Exploratory research: Telephone interviews  Who is the best contact person depends on each company  Some prospects will rather contact a company when they need something  Assumption: specific product marketing will not influence them, rather branding Social selling practices  Indirectly related: since there are so many cloud offers on the market and sales cycles become longer, new forms of communication are needed  LinkedIn is used to collect information about prospects; however since the prospect usually does not respond to invitations to connect, the actual contact is created by phone or by email; in most cases by email  Facebook is rather restricted in companies  For more details see slide 36 Hypotheses in respect to findings Hypothesis III: B2B sales people still rely on traditional sales techniques such as emailing and cold calls. Hypothesis IV: A large amount of IT services are sold to existing customers. 17
  18. 18. Phase III – Cloud trends Perceptions concerning cloud trends –discussion in a cloud computing LinkedIn group about the top cloud trends in the next 5 years Security 35% Respondents: 48 professionals of the LinkedIn group Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization Integrated solutions 31% The displayed results only summarize some of the mentioned aspects and many of them are connected with each other IaaS 25% More data in the cloud/ more hosted & managed services - 17% Private cloud 14% Mobililty 12% Big data 14% SaaS 12% Cloud becomes standard 10% Community cloud 8% Cloud brokers 6% Cost management 14% Hybrid cloud 12% Public cloud 10% Pay as you go 6% According to the observed discussion, the most mentioned trends are security and integration of cloud services. Cloud-enabled apps 8% Data privacy 6% PaaS 10% Since the hybrid cloud trend responds to security issues and cloud brokers offer integrated solutions, the results are coherent with Gartner‘s major trend prediction for 2014: hybrid cloud services and cloud brokerage. Gartner‘s Trends for 2014 Disaster recovery 8% Amazon Web Services 6% Evolving hardware 6% http://goo.gl/aTjcPt Network aaS 6% Interoperability between cloud services 4% MSPs become cloud Long-tail phenomenon providers or disappear - 1% 1% Automation 1% Dominance of biggest cloud Less differences between providers - 1% on-premise and SaaS - 1% OpenStack 1% 18
  19. 19. Phase III – Competitive analysis Social media benchmarking of major IaaS players, which are represented in Gartner’s magic quadrants for IaaS and European Managed Hosting First analysis: Gartner‘s Magic Quadrant for Cloud IaaS IaaS cloud players that are represented in the Gartner magic quadrants for IaaS and European Managed Hosting Second analysis: Growth rates of fans and followers within 3 months (November 2013 – January 2014) Cloud providers that are represented in Gartner’s magic quadrants for IaaS and for European Managed Hosting Company page number of fans Company page number of followers 1. 2. 3. 4. IBM Rackspace Fujitsu Verizon Terremark 5. Century Link (Savvis) 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. Fujitsu (21 %) 2. Century Link (9 %) 3. IBM (8 %) 4. Rackspace (5 %) 5. Verizon Terremark (4 %) 1. Rackspace (8 %) 2. Century Link (8 %) 3. IBM (8 %) 4. Verizon Terremark (7 %) 5. Fujitsu (6 %) IBM Fujitsu Rackspace Century Link (Savvis) 5. Verizon Terremark Among the compared cloud players, IBM, Rackspace and Fujitsu have the most followers. On Facebook, Fujitsu has shown a superior growth rate of fans next to its competitors. 19
  20. 20. Phase III – Competitive analysis The top 10 most influential cloud players in 2013 and the principle cloud services that they deliver; Social media performance comparison of three providers Salesforce is behind IBM in point of LinkedIn followers, but beats the IT giant with a Facebook audience of >320,000 fans and has with >156,000 followers the largest audience on Twitter among the compared companies 1 IaaS PaaS 2 PaaS > 210,000 > 45,000 > 1,615,000 vCloud 3 # of followers > 156,000 > 52,000 > 87,000 SaaS > 320,000 > 81,000 > 293,000 According to Gartner, Rackspace is outstanding with its marketing mix; in regard to the IaaS benchmarking, it is the provider with the most LinkedIn groups and Twitter channels next to IBM With more than a million followers IBM has an outstanding LinkedIn audience 4 5 PaaS > 23,000 > 377,000 > 36,000 PaaS SaaS OpenStack IaaS IaaS 6 7 SaaS IaaS PaaS SaaS > 39,000 > 4,000 > 35,000 Benchmarking 31.01.2014  Among the three cloud providers, Salesforce is most successful on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Salesforce, Rackspace and IBM were CloudStack PaaS 8 chosen for the benchmarking, since they are three cloud-focused companies,  IBM is leading on LinkedIn which are leading on social media in 9 IaaS their categories. and Rackspace on Google+ Amazon and VMware were excluded, because they are clear leaders in their IaaS 10 market segments. Microsoft and Google Source: Business Insider (2013) http://goo.gl/UaYB1U were not analysed, because they are by nature strong players on social media. All the other players are less competitive in their social media appearances. 20
  21. 21. Phase III – Competitive analysis Salesforce, Rackspace and IBM – What are these companies doing right? Analysis of the best practice social media pages and their key success factors Salesforce is continuously publishing new articles from their blog, which makes the channel enriching for customers and prospects. The Facebook page appears automatically in the user’s country format. To the success of the page contribute market studies, which are conducted by the Salesforce software and prove Salesforce’s expertise. One of the most viewed videos shows Salesforce’s engagement in helping Haiti’s rebuilding. Salesforce is successfully proving corporate social responsibility, which is essential in today’s marketing. Rackspace is actively promoting Google+ hangout sessions, which they are doing on a weekly basis.  These sessions provide an expert talk, during which questions are answered.  They are connected with the Rackspace community, an open forum for customers and prospects.  This concept is especially successful, since its content is accessible by everyone without any registration. Company page: More than one million followers due to its brand and its product portfolio Groups: IBM Cloud Computing is with > 11,000 the biggest cloud-focused group among the competitors.  The group is not only a promotional channel for IBM, but also a discussion forum for cloud-enthusiasts.  Most importantly, it encourages engagement! 21
  22. 22. Phase IV – Exploratory research Insights on cloud purchase decision makers & digital marketing practices of cloud companies Summary of interview results Insights on cloud purchase decision makers Phase IV •Exploratory research: Email interview (cloud consultant) and Telephone interview (cloud customer)  Only the senior management can approve and sign cloud deals, since they affect the whole organisation  Marketing actions need to be addressed towards two target groups: a. Business decision makers, e.g. CEO and CFO b. IT professionals, e.g. CIO and the IT staff Hypotheses in respect to findings Hypothesis V: Marketing is responsible for the buzz around cloud computing. Digital marketing practices of cloud companies  Marketing is responsible for the buzz around cloud computing  IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can be equally promoted  Assumption: In any case branding is most crucial  Marketing needs to address not only the key decision makers, but also the IT people who have to implement the solutions  Storage is one of the hottest topics and needs to be addressed Hypothesis VI: The cloud trend may be supported by the CEO, but not necessarily by the IT staff. Learnings:  Within cloud customer companies, there are often cloud specialists, who worked for cloud companies before  This needs to be considered when addressing the target group of IT professionals  For more details see slide 37 22
  23. 23. Hypotheses and Assumptions Phases I-IV led to the formulation of hypotheses and assumptions. These were then tested in Phases V and VI. Research Input Hypothesis I: The key decision makers for buying cloud services are on the C-level and obtain functions such as CEO, CIO and CFO. Phase I • Exploratoryabout online and Perceptions research: marketing for IT social media Face-to-face services; decision makers for interviews purchases cloud Phase II •Insights about the cloud selling Exploratory research: cloud purchase process, Telephonemakers & social decision interviews practices selling Hypothesis IV: A large amount of IT services are sold to existing customers. • Observation Perceptions concerning cloud Research: trends & social media Trend analysis marketing benchmarking of & competitive major cloud players analysis Assumptions: Trends – Cloud brokerage and hybrid clouds are the major trends. Thus, marketing for cloud services needs to address the issues of integration and security. Competition – Brands are potentially successful with a consistent, informative marketing mix, which engages the community of cloud enthusiasts. Phase III Phase IV • Exploratory Insights on cloud purchase research: decision makers & digital Telephone & emarketing practices of cloud mail companies interviews Hypothesis II: Marketing needs to address the business and the IT level in order to influence buying behaviour for cloud services. Hypothesis III: B2B sales people still rely on traditional sales techniques such as emailing and cold calls. Hypothesis V: Marketing is responsible for the buzz around cloud computing. Hypothesis VI: The cloud trend may be supported by the CEO, but not necessarily by the IT staff. 23
  24. 24. Phase V – Exploratory research Hypotheses and assumptions from phases I-IV were tested based on further expert interviews with a cloud provider and a MSP. Hypotheses Responses from a cloud provider and a MSP H I: The key decision makers for buying cloud services are on the C-level and obtain functions such as CEO, CIO and CFO. H II: Marketing needs to address the business and the IT level in order to influence buying behaviour for cloud services. Phase V •Exploratory research: Expert interviews Cloud provider: Mainly CIO and IT department, CFO later MSP: CEO, CFO, CIO are equally important; also highly influential are consulting firms, such as auditing companies Cloud provider: Business benefits are more highlighted MSP: Business benefits drive the buzz, but those who need to implement the cloud don’t get the essential information H III: B2B sales people still rely on traditional sales techniques such as emailing and cold calls. Cloud provider: A direct mailing campaign was very successful; Sales mainly rely on events and webinars H IV: A large amount of IT services is sold to existing customers. Cloud provider: 60 % existing – 40 % new Trends – Cloud brokerage and hybrid clouds are the major trends. Thus, marketing for cloud services needs to address the issues of integration and security. Competition – Brands are potentially successful with a consistent, informative marketing mix, which engages the community of cloud enthusiasts. Main roadblocks: Cloud provider: Security concerns, loss of control, issues to achieve cost-savings, integration of existing legacy; MSP: No transparency of cloud providers in regard to their pricing and services - Main topics and trends: Cloud provider: Security, integration, big data, open cloud standards; MSP: cloud brokerage, few major providers H V: Marketing is responsible for the buzz around cloud computing. MSP: The problem of the cloud trend is that it’s all marketing. It makes it difficult to assess the technical details. H VI: The cloud trend may be supported by the CEO, but not necessarily by the IT staff. MSP: It‘s a wrong perception that cloud services replace people. Someone still has to implement and run the services. 24
  25. 25. Research overview – objectives, hypotheses & phases Overview on the research objectives and the connected hypotheses, as well as on the areas that will be regarded in phase VI Effective digital marketing techniques & channels Objectives 3) To discover the most effective marketing channels for promotion of cloud services. Social media communication in cloud computing 5) To investigate IT professionals’ perception of online and social media advertising for cloud services and their user behaviour on social media. Cloud provider benchmarking 4) To investigate the major players’ online and social media marketing mix and to define key success factors. Cloud provider buying centre 1) To define the right target group for promotion of cloud services. Industry perceptions 2) To investigate cloud professionals’ perceptions of major trends in the cloud market. Hypotheses from phases I-IV H III: B2B sales people still rely on traditional sales techniques such as emailing and cold calls. H IV: A large amount of IT services is sold to existing customers. H V: Marketing is responsible for the buzz around cloud computing. Competition – Brands are potentially successful with a consistent, informative marketing mix, which engages the community of cloud enthusiasts. H I: The key decision makers for buying cloud services are on the C-level and obtain functions such as CEO, CIO and CFO. H II: Marketing needs to address the business and the IT level in order to influence buying behaviour for cloud services. Trends – Cloud brokerage and hybrid clouds are the major trends. Thus, marketing for cloud services needs to address the issues of integration and security. Phase VI Social Media usage frequency Source of cloud knowledge Blog popularity Forms of social engagement Perceptions about adverts Favourite cloud providers Cloud provider marketing mix Professional status Cloud selling involvement Hottest topic in cloud computing 25
  26. 26. Phase VI: Descriptive research Online survey about cloud provider brand awareness, social media usage patterns and perceptions towards cloud advertising – respondents Classification Total number of respondents: 131 C I Phase VI Online survey Percentage of respondents Companies = Influencer on other companies e.g. MSP/VAR, cloud consultants, consulting firms and other independent advisors  •Descriptive research: = Cloud provider, telecommunication company with cloud services or cloud partner/MSP/VAR that is focused on certain providers  Those cloud companies that have an influence on a customer’s decision to choose a certain cloud vendor  X And that can be influenced to recommend a cloud service by a cloud vendor’s marketing or sales activity Those cloud companies that have their proper cloud portfolio, which they will not modify in response to a cloud vendor’s marketing or sales activity = Cloud customer  A company that is a potential or an actual cloud customer  And that can be influenced by a cloud provider’s or an influencer’s marketing or sales activities 36.64 % 51.15 % 12.21 % 31 identified companies, 4 unknown 50 identified companies, 14 identified companies, 8 anonymous cloud consultants, 2 unknown 17 unknown The qualitative study was conducted through an online questionnaire filled out by professionals from the LinkedIn groups “Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization” and “Cloud Computing France”. For more details see slides 38 et seqq. 26
  27. 27. Phase VI: Addressed fields of digital marketing The roles of owned, earned and bought digital marketing channels and how they were addressed in the questionnaire. Q 8) Cloud provider marketing mix Q 1-2) Source of knowledge about cloud services  Search online, blogs, LinkedIn groups,… Q 6, 9) Frequency of social media usage (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube,) Q 12) Popularity of technology blogs DIGITAL MARKETING INBOUND MARKETING Content Marketing Strategy Owned Earned Q 5, 10) Forms of engagement with IT firms on social media  Look them up on social media  Follow them  Comment on updates  Use their customer service  Take webinar invitations Q 11) Most popular firms Bought Social Media .com Organic Search Blogging & Social Media Social Media Newsletter subscription Online videos, Pod casts Webinars, Ebooks Calls to action Q 3) Favourite cloud providers Q 13) Hottest topic in cloud computing Q 4, 7) Perceptions about advertisement on  Websites  Social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube) = Content Marketing Paid Search, SEO, Digital Ads Social Media Email marketing Display advertising Search engine ads Social media ads Mobile advertising Direct Mailings Bought Telemarketing Cold-calling Trade Shows Seminars TV commercials Banner adverts OUTBOUND MARKETING The in dark blue highlighted areas are those, which were addressed in the survey. 27
  28. 28. Phase VI: Descriptive research Survey evaluation – Target groups for cloud providers and influencers Cloud provider buying centre 1) To define the right target group for promotion of cloud services. Professional status The sample includes 37% of cloud providers, 51% of influencers and 12% of cloud customers. Thus, the C and the I groups are most representative. They both include a majority of cloud professionals, IT professionals and account executives or sales persons. Roles among cloud customers are widely distributed. The sample shows a significant C-level involvement, as well as a dominant number of IT professionals and CIOs.  For more details see slide 39 Cloud selling involvement Within the cloud provider sample, 90% of professionals have been involved in cloud selling processes. Thus, the sample can be seen as representative. From the perspective of a cloud provider, who wants to be recommended by an influencer, the sample is partly representative. 48% of I-category respondents indicate that they would consider themselves as the right contact person for a cloud provider who wants to sell a service to their company. Among the cloud customers, professional functions are widely distributed. It shows clearly that both IT professionals, like cloud professionals and CIOs, as well as business professionals, such as CEO, CFO and COO, can be involved In a cloud buying process. Professionals in these positions stated that they have been involved in cloud selling processes. Inside of these companies, there also need to be considered influencers, such as security consultants or sales people who don’t consider themselves as the right contact persons, but have been involved in a cloud buying process.  For more details see slide 40  The study confirms that both IT professionals and business professional in C-level positions need to be addressed by cloud providers. It also needs to be considered that some cloud customer companies have their own cloud professionals. Since this also applies for influencers, who are addressed by cloud providers, a clear marketing focus has to be directed towards the IT-relevant benefits. Also, a two-sided (business and IT) marketing approach can be considered. 28
  29. 29. Phase VI: Descriptive research Survey evaluation – Cloud trends Industry perceptions 2) To investigate cloud professionals’ perceptions of major trends in the cloud market. Hottest topic in cloud computing I = Influencers C = Cloud providers X = Cloud customers Percentage of professionals from category C Percentage of professionals from category I Percentage of professionals from category X 23% - Security and privacy 22% - Security and privacy 25% - Security and privacy 10% - Big data 10% - Big data 18% - Internet of things/ big data 8% - Hybrid cloud 4% - IaaS 6% - PaaS 3% - Cloud Service Broker Hybrid cloud Mobility, Microsoft 4% - Cloud Service Broker 2% - DaaS, SaaS, Storage, Google, Integration, Disaster and recovery 1% - Advertising and communication Cloud insurance Business Intelligence SaaS Storage Automation VMware 12% - Big data 6% - Cloud Service Broker Infrastructure Data sovereignty  Security and privacy are considered as the majors trend by all respondent categories 29
  30. 30. Phase VI: Descriptive research Survey evaluation – Marketing channels for promotion of cloud services Effective digital marketing techniques & channels 3) To discover the most effective marketing channels for promotion of cloud services. Source of cloud knowledge 88% of all respondents either know a lot about cloud services or are experts.  This was a precondition for participation in the survey, since only professionals with cloud knowledge can have a veritable impact on the cloud buying process. 100% of respondents from categories C and I do have their knowledge from their profession. The same applies for 81% of X. Marketing-relevant sources: 50% or all respondents named search on the internet and technology blogs as sources of knowledge. Technology magazines and LinkedIn cloud computing groups were mentioned by 40-43% of respondents. Interestingly, only respondents from category C named technology blogs and cloud groups on LinkedIn with an equally high strength as the major sources. For I and X, technology blogs are the most important sources. Social Media usage frequency Blog popularity LinkedIn is clearly the most used social network… Professionals who regularily read blogs:  followed by Facebook and YouTube, which are similarly popular. 70% cloud professionals  Twitter is less used and…  Google+ is the least popular.  For more details see slide 46 63% of influencers 50% of cloud customers The most mentioned blogs from both cloud professionals and influencers are:  TechCrunch  Gigaom Among cloud customers, there is no dominating blog.  The most important marketing channels are technology blogs and LinkedIn groups, since they are the major online sources of Further mentioned by respondents from all three categories were knowledge about cloud services. Also, LinkedIn is the leading business meetups, conferences and webinars. social media channel among the survey respondents.  For more details see slides 42-45 Abbreviations: C = cloud providers, I = influencers, X = cloud customers 30
  31. 31. Phase VI: Descriptive research Survey evaluation – Benchmarking of cloud provider marketing strategies Cloud provider benchmarking 4) To investigate the major players’ online and social media marketing mix and to define key success factors. Cloud provider marketing mix Favourite cloud providers The most liked cloud company among all listings is Amazon Web Services. Cloud professionals further indicated Google, IBM, Microsoft, Rackspace, Salesforce, Softlayer, VMware, Oracle, HP and Verizon Terremark as their favourite providers. After AWS, Microsoft has the most votes. However, it needs to be considered that almost all of the above mentioned cloud companies were strongly recommended by their own employees. Among the group of influencers, AWS and Microsoft are equally the leaders. Amazon was the most mentioned cloud provider. Several votes also received Google and Rackspace and on the third row IBM, Salesforce and VMware. Cloud customers mostly mentioned AWS and at second instance Google and Salesforce.  For more details see slide 48 Among all respondents, email marketing is the most used marketing channel. Second most mentioned are display advertising and paid search marketing. Cloud providers indicated that they are using the different marketing channels as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Email marketing: 85% Display advertising: 75% Paid search marketing: 67% Advertising on LinkedIn: 56% … on Facebook: 38% … on Twitter: 33% The first mentioned overall distribution of marketing expenditure is thus the same for cloud providers.  For more details see slide 49  Amazon Web Services is the clear leader in the cloud market among all three groups of respondents.  The majority of marketing expenditure is still distributed to the traditional forms of online marketing: Email marketing, display advertising and search marketing 31
  32. 32. Phase VI: Descriptive research Survey evaluation – Social media engagement and digital advertising Social media communication in cloud computing 5) To investigate IT professionals’ perception of online and social media advertising for cloud services and their user behaviour on social media. Forms of social engagement The most performed activity by all respondents is to follow a technology company on social media. In this regard, there is no clear leader among the investigated social networks. The second most performed activity is to take webinar invitations and at third place is to comment on updates. The lowest number of respondents uses the customer service of cloud companies on social media. Most of all respondents indicated that they look up cloud providers online and half of them are likely to search them on social networks.  For more details see slides 50-51 Perceptions about adverts More than half of all respondents would click on an advertisement that informs about a new cloud service. Also, 31% of respondents indicate that they even like adverts if they are interesting. Adverts are more likely to be successful if they are informative, engaging and not too intrusive.  For more details see slides 51, 52, 55 An approximate 30% distribution of respondents, who like interesting advertisements, was observed in all three categories of respondents. Overall, positive and negative perceptions are almost equally distributed among C, I and X respondents.  For more details see slide 54 Among the social networks, LinkedIn advertising is perceived as the least negative. The second most acceptable are adverts on Twitter and thirdly on YouTube. Google+ adverts are less appreciated and Facebook ads are the most disliked.  For more details see slide 53  Advertisements for cloud services can be successful if they are directed towards the right target group, which is the group of professionals that is interested in cloud services. Considering that the second most popular form of engagement is to take webinar invitations, adverts that involve webinars can be potentially successful. 32
  33. 33. Outcomes: How can B2B digital marketing influence organisational buying behaviour and which are the key success drivers for promotion of cloud services? Final results – Hypotheses in relation to the quantitative research sections that confirm their credibility 1. Challenge industry best practices 2. Clearly define the target group Cloud provider benchmarking Industry perceptions Competition – Brands are potentially successful with a consistent, informative marketing mix, which engages the community of cloud enthusiasts.  Proven in section: AWS proven as Perceptions leading in: about adverts Favourite cloud providers Trends – Cloud brokerage and hybrid clouds are the major trends. Thus, marketing for cloud services needs to address the issues of integration and security. Hottest topic in  Proven in section: cloud computing Cloud provider buying centre H I: The key decision makers for buying cloud services are on the C-level and obtain functions such as CEO, CIO and CFO.  Proven in sections: Cloud selling Professional status involvement  Proven in sections: H II: Marketing needs to address the business and the IT level in order to influence buying behaviour for cloud services. 3. Define the right digital marketing mix Blog popularity Forms of social engagement Effective digital marketing techniques & channels Social Media usage frequency Social media communication in cloud computing H III: B2B sales people still rely on traditional sales techniques such as emailing and cold calls.  Proven in section: Cloud provider marketing mix H IV: A large amount of IT services is sold to existing customers.  Due to the general character of the questionnaire, this was not part of quantitative research. H V: Marketing is responsible for the buzz around cloud computing.  Can be assumed from section: Source of cloud knowledge 33
  34. 34. STUDY RESULTS – ADDITIONAL EVALUATIONS  For more detailed results, please don’t hesitate to contact me at stephanieschulze@hotmail.com  Also find me on LinkedIn under http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stephanie-schulze/33/384/828 If you are a recruiter or you are searching for someone with my abilities to enrich your team, please read on… I am a Double Master’s degree graduate with 2.5 years of professional experience in Assistant, Analyst and Junior Consultant positions in different fields of marketing and consulting. Since I gained these experiences in India, Germany, France and the U.S., I was able to develop exceptional intercultural communication skills. As a next step in my career, I would like to work in a digital marketing manager position in the technology industry, preferably in France, starting from March 2014. 34

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