By: Rose de Fremery
Marketing automation has become a fundamental tool on which marketers rely to deliver sophisticated, relevant campaigns in an era of changing customer expectations. As the technology matures, what new capabilities and features can we expect to see? Here are three predictions for the future of marketing automation, with some observations on how businesses will benefit from advancements in the software.
1. Marketers Will Personalize Their Campaigns
Marketing is becoming more personalized across all platforms, and that of course includes marketing automation solutions. As brands have discovered that tailoring their messaging and content to match unique buyers’ interests and profiles boosts engagement and revenue, they have increasingly rolled out more personalized calls to action. This approach is more responsive to the way customers now conduct their purchasing online and select which brands to patronize. And, because those same customers expect a seamless, personalized experience at every touchpoint they use to engage with a brand, marketers understand that the messages and appeals they deliver through the marketing automation platform must be incorporated into a unified, personalized marketing strategy.
2. Marketing Automation Will Become More Mobile Friendly
Although marketing automation began as a web-driven platform, it is adapting to our mobile-centric age. Marketers must reach their customers where they are. Increasingly, that means on their smartphones or tablets. Millennials in particular are known to do most of their research and purchasing on mobile devices, so businesses that want to reach that large demographic have a particular incentivize to go mobile.
Necessity isn’t the only driving factor behind the transition to mobile marketing automation, however. Mobile marketing automation offers some intriguing benefits that traditional web-based marketing automation does not. It can track user behavior across multiple channels, for example, building a more complete customer profile that can then be used to deliver personalized experiences. Apps can also collect more detailed and nuanced user information, including location information, that marketers can use to further tailor their campaigns for maximum impact. There’s a wealth of opportunity when it comes to mobile marketing in general, so expect this area of marketing to expand considerably in the coming year.
3. Marketers Will Use Marketing Automation More Effectively
Although marketing automation is certainly here to stay—if anything, it’s becoming more tightly woven and integrated into the mix of marketing platforms in use today—marketers themselves freely admit that they haven’t yet maximized its benefits. Only 14 percent of markers describe their use of marketing automation features as “good or higher,” and almost 60 percent of businesses that have adopted marketing automation do not yet fully use the software to its potential.
Although the technology itself is maturing, we cannot yet say the same about user proficiency. This is a natural part of the cycle of technology adoption. We will likely see the current state of affairs shift in the near future, as businesses have already recognized the value of marketing automation beyond just streamlining operations and saving time spent on repetitive, tedious tasks. Marketers will no doubt pursue opportunities to use analytics to gain greater insight into buyer behavior, for example, so they can optimize their marketing strategies to drive greater revenue.
As marketing automation becomes more full featured and the strategies for using it become more sophisticated, we will no doubt see continued innovation in this area. Longer-term trends may well include the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and even virtual reality for marketing campaigns, which may involve some integration with marketing automation platforms (particularly AI). We’re clearly entering an exciting period of great potential for marketers, who are just beginning to tap the benefits of what this technology offers. It will be worth keeping a close eye on this space to see how it evolves.