When marketers look at the landscape of marketing technology solutions, it can be challenging to differentiate one from the other. When you look at websites, you’ll see so many of the same language and claims about what they can do for you that no one else can. It’s not hard to see how it can seem overwhelming.
When it comes to cross-channel messaging technology, the first thing to understand is that — generally speaking — there are two types of email service providers (ESPs): Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and On-Premises. SaaS (or marketing cloud) ESPs store your company’s customer data in their own cloud, where you then build audiences and campaigns before sending. On-premises ESPs are installed behind your company’s firewall, where your I.T. team hosts and maintains things so that control of your data remains in house.
There are lots of factors to consider when trying to determine which route might be the best for your company and your team.
But there is a third route, and that’s the hybrid approach that MessageGears takes by connecting directly to your data wherever it may live while still doing the heavy lifting of rendering and delivery in the cloud. It’s a fundamentally different philosophy and architectural structure, and it’s the route many of the world’s largest brands, which we call “Super Senders,” take. Here’s a look at how MessageGears’ hybrid approach provides you with the advantages of both marketing cloud and on-premises ESPs without the drawbacks.
Keeping data on premises makes sense
While the term “on premises” when it comes to cross-channel marketing sounds antiquated to many marketers — for good reason — there’s actually real value in keeping your data right where it is that shouldn’t be dismissed. That’s especially true if you’re a security-conscious organization, but every enterprise company should recognize the value of not shipping their data outside of their firewall.
Every time you make a copy of your data and send it out to a marketing cloud or third-party solution, you’ve lost control of that data. No matter how secure that ESP claims to be, the fact is that you’ve surrendered governance of that data. If they have a slip that results in someone else getting access to your customer data, it could cost you dearly in both customer relations and money. The on-premises solution provides you with a good deal of overall control with your data, and some organizations may even require this as part of their compliance with GDPR or other data regulations.
And that may sound great, but the security comes with a good deal of baggage. The technology is difficult to keep up-to-date and the onus of scale is almost entirely on your organization’s I.T. department, which can hinder your ability to grow your volume when you need to do so. You’ll have to lean more heavily on I.T. to ensure everything is working properly.
With a hybrid approach, you’ll still enjoy the security benefit because we’re just a light software install that allows you to use your live, real-time data where it lives without moving it at all. You maintain full control over your data while utilizing MessageGears’ cloud technology for the hard stuff – rendering and sending. That’s when you want to use the cloud, to take advantage of its efficiency at delivering millions of messages where they need to go.
The cloud is best used for sending, not building
As we mentioned previously, there’s a good reason that modern ESPs use cloud technology for sending — especially as you scale, it’s the most efficient solution for getting email, mobile push, and SMS messages out to your audience quickly and effectively.
So, the marketing cloud ESPs have that part right. The problem is that most were built decades ago, long before hyper-personalization became such a critical part of the messaging experience and customer data was so plentiful. For enterprise organizations, sending campaigns that don’t feel relevant to your individual customers simply isn’t a viable option anymore, so you need direct, live data access. These marketing cloud ESPs were built from the start to deal with a copy of your data outside your system, and they’re stuck there now.
It’s true that most marketing clouds tout a marketer-friendly UI, which can be enticing when you’re thinking about the day-to-day work of using their product. But, ultimately, the negatives far outweigh the positives.
Because they can’t connect directly to your data, you’ll constantly be dealing with stale copies of it, and everything you need has to be synced on a regular basis — often nightly or weekly. While that’s happening, there’s not much of anything you can do, and you’ll have to wait for it to complete before you can make any changes to audiences and campaigns. If you want to add any fields to an audience, you’ll have to go to I.T. and have a ticket put in; getting that filled might take weeks, if they don’t deny the request outright due to security concerns. And we’ve already talked about the security issues involved in sending data outside your firewall.
Once again, though, MessageGears’ hybrid approach eliminates those problems. No more stale copies of your data or nightly syncs that hold up your work. Our technology gets out of the way and just lets you do your job. Because you’re using your data directly, add fields and labels with the click of a mouse — no I.T. involvement whatsoever. What took weeks with the marketing cloud ESP, if it happened at all, got done in seconds with MessageGears. Instead of putting technology barriers in front of you, MessageGears allows marketers to dream up the campaigns they want to send and start setting them up immediately.
Best of both worlds
The beauty of the hybrid approach to cross-channel messaging is that you get the benefits of on-premise technology where it makes sense, and then use the cloud where it’s most helpful. Rather than committing to one or the other — subsequently dulling the advantages of both — you take the smart approach to each set of modern technology.
We’d love to talk more to you about how MessageGears’ hybrid approach to cross-channel messaging can help your marketing team be both more secure and efficient. Reach out to start a conversation today.