Nov 07 2018 5 Trends That Will Define the Future of Marketing Automation
Today’s MarTech platforms advance at an uncatchable rate, and it is incumbent upon marketers to strive to make the customer experience better by being present, relevant, and helpful. In this article Inga Romanoff, CEO of Romanoff Consultants, explores the top five trends that will define the future of marketing automation.
by Inga Romanoff, Romanoff Consultants
But we still have a long way to go. Today’s MarTech platforms advance at an uncatchable rate, and it is incumbent upon marketers to strive to make the customer experience better by being present, relevant, and helpful. This imperative to improve will be the underlying theme in how marketing automation evolves – the industry will need to shift to anticipating what buyers need and how to serve them. In this blog post we explore the top 5 trends that will define the future of marketing automation.
The Need for Experimentation and Testing
In traditional marketing, the cost for “trial-and-error” experiments was significant, and it was quite possible you could lose your job. Today, the proliferation of digital and the capabilities of specialized testing tools allow marketers to make micro-investments in new channels and tactics that enable rapid optimization and course-correction.
The concept of experimentation will have a profound influence on the marketing automation industry. Marketers crave the ability to test and learn to get ahead of the competition, and to connect with busy and distracted buyers. Those looking to achieve sustainable results will need to develop a fearless culture innovation, with an iterative approach to strategy and tactics.
In a 2018 interview with VentureBeat, Steve Lucas puts forward – “[The Future] belong to those who embrace change, act boldly on their convictions, and understand that the willingness to take risks is what drives innovation.” When it comes to marketing automation, these questions must be considered:
- Are we using marketing automation to deliver better experiences for our customers and prospects?
- Are we investing enough in experimentation, to try new things and new approaches?
- Are we using technology to automate processes that can free up time for our marketers to be able to think more strategically and holistically?
The Shift Toward True Omni-Channel
Many marketers today excel in mainstay digital channels like email and social media, but it will be the marketers who look at all channels holistically as a way to build relationships with customers that will be successful in the future. What used to be known as integrated marketing, omnichannel marketing will be the name of the game in years to come, as more consumers prefer their own individualized communication mix. Technology will inevitably advance to incorporate and invigorate how marketers leverage these channels.
“Marketing automation is vital to omnichannel marketing,” says Helen Abramova, Marketing Automation Leader at Verizon Business. “Generally speaking, marketing automation is all about connecting dots, creating a complete picture, planning and executing upon your strategy. Of course, there are some gaps, as not all channels are easily tracked digitally, but that makes it even more important to collect and process all possible touchpoints.”
The marketers and MarTech platforms of tomorrow will embrace and integrate all channels, while still allowing for personalization and relevance every step of the way.
The Resurgence of “Permission Marketing”
Though almost 20 years since its publication, Seth Godin’s book “Permission Marketing” rings as true today as ever. With new data privacy laws and regulations, consumers and governments alike are requiring companies to take consumers’ personal information seriously and to treat it with respect.
New anti-spam and data acquisition laws necessitate earning the trust of your audience. To do that, marketers must provide value, and demonstrate authenticity and transparency.
“Being ‘anticipated, personal and relevant’ is not optional – it is a must.,” Helen continues, “It’s easier to load a list and send them an email – but it’s so much more important to find the right people, create the right message and deliver it at the right time.”
Business buyers today are informed, curious, and aspirational. The marketing automation of the future will work evolve to support that: to let buyers know what is interesting, what is helpful, and what can be done to achieve greater heights for their business.
The never-ending evolution of social media
The ever-changing landscape of social media further defines the future of marketing automation. Social media is rapidly becoming a staple in the lives of digital consumers, and it falls onto marketing leaders to orchestrate the right recipe of channels to best engage them. This includes listening to what customers are saying, guiding them to the resources and answers they need, and crafting the right conversations based on the given platform.
An online study from IDC showed the 55% of senior decision makers tap into their social networks before making a purchase, a number that will continually rise in the future. Marketing automation can be a part of that framework by automating processes and workflows triggered on specific social behaviors, or cumulative activity.
The marketing leaders of the future will need to define the right marketing mix of digital, social, and other methods to move their business forward.
The need for new ways to deliver content
As the go-to channels become more saturated, it becomes more important for marketers to communicate to buyers through new and innovative channels. This includes changing and matching the communication style to the medium, such as shorter content when consumers are busy, and more in-depth content when you have their undivided attention.
The growing trend because of advanced technology, more reliable internet connection, and better devices is the proliferation of video. As buyers want faster and more visual explanations to become informed, marketers need to cater to this need by communicating in this new medium
“Video content isn’t new, but the way in which marketers use video to connect to their audience is shifting,” says a marketing leader from an enterprise video platform. “Information that is typically consumed via written guides (think tutorials, articles, updates) can be now be delivered in a quick, digestible video that users can consumer right on their mobile devices.”
Along with an evolution of video marketing, the ideas of experimentation and new marketing mindsets will continually drive growth of marketing automation technology and talent. These improvements will undoubtedly create a better overall experience for both buyers and businesses alike.