Cloud Storage services such as Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are growing quickly in popularity as more and more users prefer to have their content accessible on multiple devices rather than tethered to their hard drive. As the usage of these services grow cloud storage providers have an opportunity to leverage their identity models and security credentials on a broader scale.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon.com and other cloud providers allow users to login into third party sites using social sign-on techniques. End users benefit from not having to create another set of login credentials (user id and password). Cloud storage providers could offer a similar social sign on model, but with a much broader range of benefits to end users.
B2B marketing is one area that would benefit from this new model. The primary goal of most B2B marketing programs is to get a user to register (and share their contact details) on a web page. Once registered, the vendor can then monitor the user’s behavior online or have a sales rep contact them. The most popular call to action for these B2B campaigns is to request that the user register for an upcoming event (webinar, seminar) or register to download marketing content (white paper, research report). Many vendors offer users social sign-on options via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+ so that users can skip the registration process. Offering social sign-on via a cloud storage service would open up new possibilities.
1) Download to Cloud – Today landing pages only allow you to download marketing content to your local hard drive. But up to 50% of all marketing emails are now being opened on mobile devices. It is challenging to store and retrieve files on most smartphones and tablets. So why not offer an option to upload files to cloud instead of downloading to the local drive? Storage in the cloud would make it easy for the content to be viewed later on a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. On the landing page, vendors could offer users the option for social sign-on with their cloud storage accounts. Once they are logged in they could easily upload the file to their personal cloud.
2) Content Updates – Another challenge for marketers is ensuring that their customers always have the most up-to-date version of content. What happens when a vendor updates a white paper six months after it releases it? Everyone that has already downloaded the file will have a local version on their hard drive that is out-of-date. What if cloud storage vendors offered an Open API that would allow vendors to publish updates to content stored in cloud file systems? End-users could opt-in to ensure they always have the latest version of a file in their cloud storage service. Or they could approve each update one-by-one much like you accept updates to apps on your iPhone or Android device.