Cloud Communications Keep Marketers Connected, In Control

The proliferation of digital media has made it easier for companies of every size to sell and market effectively. In fact, The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) shared data from private equity firm Veronhis Suhler Stevenson that shows total communications spending, including marketing, advertising and communications is expected to grow 5.6 percent this year.


And while the barriers to implementing marketing programs are falling in this digital era, the stakes are higher than ever for marketers and the businesses they serve. The proliferation of mobile devices and social media have added new, dynamic communications channels, each with their own best practices, delivery platforms, agencies, and metrics. But despite this more diverse landscape, the need for consistency in strategy and messaging persists.  


As a result, today's marketing and communications professional is not only in high demand, but is also managing an expanded role as traditional marketing, digital marketing, social media and search intersect. This challenge makes it important to find efficient and cost effective ways to quickly respond to customers, clients and teams. The smart use of technology can reinforce your own professional brand, improve efficiency and bolster productivity. 


Consider adding the following tactics to your marketing toolbox to save time and maintain a competitive edge:


Out of the office, but not out of reach: When you are out of the office, allowing communications to pile up can be a disaster. Not only do you risk being unavailable when clients need you, but a considerable amount of time is spent catching up on missed communications. A cloud-based phone system, also known as a virtual phone system, can help you stay in touch in or out of the office. You can turn your smartphone into a mobile office with features like call routing, call screening, multiple extensions, personalized greetings, voicemail to text transcriptions, and more. Your professionalism will show and your personal brand will grow.


Document management in the cloud: Marketing professionals manage a dizzying amount of documents on a daily basis. Fortunately, the cloud has you covered. Document storage apps allow you to store files in the cloud where they can be retrieved on any mobile device. Your client wants to see the mock-up of a new brochure but you're at a trade show. No problem! Call it up on your iPad. The Finance Director is headed into a meeting and can't find the latest copy of the marketing plan. No need to sweat it, download the file from the cloud to your smartphone. With document storage in the cloud you are prepared to handle any request, without a rolling file cart.


Face time: Visual imagery is a large part of marketing today. Often you need to show, rather than tell, clients about planned strategies or campaigns. Use web conference apps to video chat with clients. You can walk them through a brochure mock-up or the design of a new Facebook page. Best of all you can conduct on-demand meetings, no conference room required.


Eliminate roadblocks: Juggling multiple tasks daily will often make you wish you had the power to be in two places at one time. There is no app for cloning yet, but you can keep documents and processes moving while on the go. Vendor contracts, proposals and other documents requiring a signature can easily be managed with new online fax apps that allow you to receive, review, sign and send faxes from any mobile device. The ability to process "paperwork" anytime from anywhere ensures that you keep things moving forward even if you're on the road.


Marketing professionals can work efficiently and effectively with cloud-based technology and mobile communication apps. Prioritize phone calls with call screening and call routing, respond to real time sales opportunities with meetings in the cloud, or review and sign event contracts on your smartphone. You're in demand and technology enables you to be in control.


About the Author: Mike Pugh is vice president of marketing for j2 Global Inc., a pioneering provider of cloud-based services. He joined j2 Global in 2000 with the acquisition of eFax, where he had held management positions in sales, marketing and product development since 1997. Pugh currently manages the company's domestic marketing organization. Prior to this, he was the VP of product marketing, with responsibilities including product development.