Historically, marketing has been about communicating brand messages and ensuring they get to the right audience. Its primary concern was providing the right message at the right time to the right people in order to generate quality leads or retain existing customers.
But that was Level 1 marketing. We are now moving to Level 2 marketing where personalization also has to be taken into account. The goal of marketing now isn’t only to target the right audience but also to take the right next steps for them. Marketing is expected to elevate the purchasing journey for consumers and help ensure more loyal customers and clients by connecting the dots for the buyers.
Additionally, marketing needs have significantly changed even for businesses since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deficiencies in operating models, limited budgets, the emergence of newer technologies, and inadequate in-house skills and expertise have forced businesses to rethink their marketing. Instead of spending their limited resources stacking up on new technologies, they are adopting a new and innovative approach to marketing- marketing in the form of a managed service.
Continue reading to learn more about Marketing as a Service (MaaS), how it works, and why you need it for your business.
What is Marketing as a Service (MaaS)?
MaaS is an agile marketing solution tailored to support a business’s marketing functions by delivering value-based, on-demand marketing services. These vary from marketing strategy development to execution.
MaaS delivers tailored marketing solutions that meet the marketing needs of businesses. It meets you where you’re falling short. For example, if you’re struggling with lead conversion, MaaS will optimize your marketing campaigns. MaaS providers enable you to tap into whatever expertise you need at the time to deliver strong and effective marketing campaigns. They are usually made up of a team of experts who can execute marketing strategies, ranging from content creators to web developers, media buyers, and social media experts.
One of the reasons why MaaS is gaining popularity is because it delivers high-impact marketing campaigns in a cost-effective manner. It enables businesses to adopt data-driven marketing strategies and processes, therefore adapting best marketing practices in the industry.
How Marketing as a Service Works
In the past, marketing departments had to develop and present a budget to the executive while also lobbying for more employees on their team. After getting the management’s buy-in, they would take an average of almost two months to hire and get the right candidate on board. Then they would have to repeat the process all over again in a few years when the employee gets a promotion or moves to another job.
But with MaaS, marketers can tap into whatever expertise they need at the time to carry out strong and effective campaigns quickly. It is designed to synthesize strategy and implementation in order to support your marketing efforts, depending on your campaign priorities.
MaaS providers develop tailored marketing strategies and solutions to help you achieve your marketing objectives and business goals. Basically, they become an integral extension of your marketing department. They deliver services tailored to your marketing needs and market requirements.
MaaS delivers high-impact marketing at a lower cost, focusing on data-driven strategies and decision-making, and leveraging new marketing technologies and industry best practices. To be able to enjoy the benefits of MaaS, you need to:
- Invest in collecting cross-device consumer data: Generally, marketing relies on data for decision-making and impactful campaigns. But in the MaaS era, consumer data is going to play an even more critical role in effective marketing campaigns. You will need to know who your customer is and gather data so you can actually understand them across multiple touch points.
- Create cross-agency functional teams: Many businesses often work with different agencies for – customer relationship management, digital marketing, and creative agencies among others. You should encourage all your partners to work together to ensure knowledge transfer so you can have a collective understanding of your target audience and what your marketing service should focus on.
- Consider customer experience from the design stage: MaaS is all about enhancing the customer journey with actionable moments at every stage of the sales funnel. You will therefore have to look and analyze the customer journey from the very beginning so as to offer personalized marketing solutions.
- Incorporate marketing innovation as part of your product offering: New technologies such as chatbots, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are helping to revolutionize the marketing scene. They should not only be viewed as innovation projects but also incorporated into your product offering as an integral part of the CRM strategy and experience.
If you are going to engage consumers and have an edge on your competitors, you will need to go beyond personalized content and deliver experiences that allow consumers to act on that content. This is the difference that MaaS brings.
Marketing Functions Perfect for MaaS
If you’re wondering whether MaaS will take over all your marketing functions, the answer is No. At least for now. With the right team, you can keep the core functions of digital marketing in-house. These include brand messaging, customer acquisition strategies, market research, and social media management.
MaaS is primarily concerned with the technological aspect of marketing, considering the speed of innovation and how difficult it is for marketing professionals to keep up. It enables you stay on top of marketing technology trends in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Some of the marketing functions that can be outsourced to MaaS include:
- Public relations
- Print and online media designs
- Content development and presentation
- User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design
- Marketing automation
- Lead scoring
Programs that generate interest for a service or product can also be put under MaaS.
While it’s still too early for all businesses to need MaaS, industries such as travel, hospitality, and eCommerce are ready and ripe for it.
Marketing as a Service is particularly beneficial for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups that have limited budgets and are short-staffed but still looking to execute effective marketing campaigns. MaaS delivers all aspects of marketing so SMEs can have a complete and successful campaign while the employees work on the other important needs of the company.
But it’s not only SMEs and startups that can benefit from MaaS. Even large and established corporations with exclusive in-house marketing teams can also find MaaS handy in certain situations. For example, MaaS can help when entering new markets, launching new products, trying out new marketing channels or technologies, or trying out anything that’s outside the skill set of current employees.
Do You Need Marketing as a Service For Your Business?
MaaS is a holistic approach to marketing that gives businesses with limited resources access to professional branding. It customizes each program to the individual needs of the business which can choose just a single service or a bundle of services for a complete marketing experience.
Some of the benefits of adopting MaaS include
1. Free up resources to spend on strategic resources
When you are operating on a tight budget with limited resources (technology, skills, and time), you have to be strategic about what you put your efforts into… and they have to deliver results, too! The problem is that most businesses focus their marketing efforts on execution instead of strategy. While they get quick wins, the end goals are often unsustainable. Not to mention that they rarely have strategic capabilities.
To succeed in the modern digital marketing landscape, there’s no room for gambling. Your marketing strategy should be informed by insightful data and expert input. MaaS can help with both. As a business, you get to only spend on marketing initiatives that you need and you receive quality, continuous results that have growth prospects.
The marketing space is also highly competitive. It can be difficult to continually deliver stellar marketing campaigns with minimal operating costs.
However, MaaS makes it possible to scale your marketing efforts at lesser costs compared to in-house marketing. This enables you to support additional marketing initiatives or projects. Resources can be quickly and painlessly shifted to areas they are most needed, whether launching a new product or scaling a marketing campaign. It also gives you access to insightful marketing data that can help to identify new opportunities.
When you only pay for the marketing services you need and avoid the ones you don’t need, you get to save money and keep your budget manageable.
MaaS providers also get to enjoy huge discounts from paying for marketing tools in bulk. They can pass these cost savings to you as a customer by charging you a lower fee to access those tools. This also saves you from having to buy the entire tool when you only need to use a component of the tool
4. You can adapt to changing business needs in real-time
Businesses, especially those in the eCommerce industry, need to stay on top of digital marketing trends. But it can be difficult to keep up with trends and adapt to the changes in real-time. It is cost, energy, and time-consuming to develop a new marketing strategy every time a new trend comes up. It is near-impossible if you are working with limited resources.
This is where MaaS is most rewarding.
Your service provider will always be attuned to the latest trends and you won’t have to worry about keeping up or always starting from scratch. Service providers also give you access to the latest marketing tools and technology, enabling you to stay ahead of the curve.
5. Better focus for your marketing team
Lastly, outsourcing your marketing needs to a MaaS provider frees up your workforce to focus on high-value and rewarding tasks such as ensuring consistent brand messaging. It improves your workflow and productivity.
Additionally, your in-house team gets to pick up industry best practices and new trends from working with industry experts. They can apply these skills to their job even after your contract with the service provider ends. It reduces the burden of having to constantly retrain your employees.
This isn’t to say that the other marketing models are not effective, but MaaS would enable you to get more with less. See the table below for a summary of how MaaS is different from the traditional marketing models:
|MaaS||In-house Marketing||Freelancers||Marketing Agencies|
|Cost||Low- you pay only for the services you need||High- salaries and benefits, staff training, technology maintenance||Economical- hourly rates depending on the size of the project||High- fee depend on marketing function you need, eg, website development, social media marketing, etc|
|Range of skill sets||Wide- the team is made up of industry experts skilled in different marketing functions||Limited- depends on organizational budget and ability to hire the right expertise||Very limited- every freelancer has a different range of capabilities||Limited to the marketing service that they offer. Though there are full-range marketing agencies|
|Speed of marketing strategy execution||Quick- expertise is readily available and services are on-demand||Slow- largely depends on resource availability and employee morale||Slow- freelancers often have very limited capabilities. Also difficult to scale with business growth||Fast- their expertise is built around a particular marketing function|
|Access to marketing technology||Immediate access||Limited access as it depends on resource availability||Limited access- freelancers majorly rely on the organization’s technology stack||Immediate access|
|Adaptability to marketing needs||Good adaptability, agility, and up-to-date with latest industry trends||Low adaptability, often difficult to retain or reallocate fixed resources||Adaptability depends on their depth of knowledge and familiarity with industry best practices||Limited- contracts can make it difficult to shift resources quickly|
Take Your First Step to MaaS
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Marketing as a Service isn’t a short-term solution. It won’t work if you are looking for marketing services for a one-off project or quick wins. It’s a partnership intended to achieve continuous growth while offering flexibility, agility, and data-driven decision-making. This is only possible if your marketing efforts are consistent.
Don’t stress and waste your precious resources on marketing functions you can outsource. Your marketing team should focus on more productive responsibilities as expert professionals take care of your marketing services. Whether you are just starting out or an already established business, MaaS is for you as long as you need help with digital marketing-related functions.
Salt Marketing is an established MaaS agency that provides cost-effective and agile marketing solutions tailored to help your business flourish and grow. Our top-of-the-range marketing strategies have helped thousands of Irish businesses to find success in key marketing functions such as lead generation. Find out how our MaaS expertise will set you apart from the rest.