Marketing and technology have increasingly merged since the internet transformed the way products and services could be communicated, shared and purchased. Modern marketing must now include an understanding of search engines, social media, email providers, pay per click advertising and much more.
Servers are one area which still largely resides in IT departments around the world, and while it isn’t necessary for marketing teams to start deploying server technology, it’s important to understand what is required as the foundation for a successful website or application when you’re working with an internal or external team.
Speed for success
Website speed an important part of success. The initial reaction to a website is formed within 50 milliseconds (Google), and that can turn to a decision to leave and shop elsewhere in 400 milliseconds (New York Times), which around the same time as it just took you to blink (roughly 300 milliseconds).
Meanwhile eCommerce sites in general are becoming slower to load, taking around 10 seconds on average – whilst design and navigation can help alleviate the wait, Amazon found cutting load times by 100 milliseconds gave a 1% increase in sales, which is a prime reason to take server speed into account.
A faster server and improvements to site speed can mitigate the desire for larger images, code for analytics and tracking, icons for social media accounts and everything else which is desirable on homepages or other landing pages.
In addition, the idea that faster home broadband alleviates this pressure means ignoring the knowledge that better connections have actually made internet users more impatient in waiting for slow sites, whether in 2009 or 2012.
In addition, site speed has become increasingly important in other areas, such as search engine optimisation, as announced by Google in 2010. So your site speed may hamper your chances of even getting someone to view your website, even before you can convince them to stick around.
Security and data laws
Password security, email addresses and personal data are all concerns for marketing. And while access to them is important, security and data protection are of equal significance. Recent breaches to popular media sites have highlighted not only how easy it can be for a breach to occur, but also how hard it can be to reassure customers, clients and website users once a problem has happened and they are frantically contacting their bank and credit card provider (Sadly too many people still use the same password for everything they do!).
When servers are left purely as a technical requirement, security will be factor alongside budget and bandwidth, but there are also additional aspects to consider regarding data protection. For instance, there are differences between American and EU law, which will depend on the location of your business, and also your servers storing such information.
With this in mind, it can simplify things somewhat to look at servers residing in the same territory as your business, even if they’re not located in the same office. High levels of confidence in the security of data can also be a marketing asset to communicate to your customers.
Access and APIs
One enormous benefit for modern marketing teams is that many of the overwhelming options and tasks can be automated due to interoperability between services. The smartest marketing people are automating much of the work which used to involve downloading data, re-formatting and re-uploading for analysis, for example.
It’s important, therefore, that servers and the access to them are set up to allow the marketing team to function most effectively without compromising the security mentioned above. Unexplained limitations often drive people to look outside the business for solutions, potentially meaning data and functionality gets shifted to an additional supplier – one which may not be as secure, or which may be tied to a specific employee. Suddenly you can discover that your company has been relying on software ‘owned’ by someone no longer with the business, and with their passwords gone it can be expensive and time consuming to replicate or solve.
Marketing and technology
To make the most of rapidly improving and evolving server technology doesn’t require in-depth technical knowledge. It means knowing enough to work with internal and external technical specialists, and to understand the important factors in your marketing strategy and implementation.
Work in conjunction with the IT team, find the solutions which will support both departments and ensure marketing objectives are considered in the buying process, and you’ll align your future needs with the right technical advantages to succeed.
About the Author: Ben Jones is a budding tech writer, particularly interested in how technology can help small businesses.