Top Marketing Automation Predictions For 2019, 2020 and Beyond
Marketing Automation is literally in every part of our lives, and we’ve just seen the beginning.
It enables you to order a sandwich from your phone and get it delivered to your door in 15 minutes - without having to think twice about it.
It enables large companies to track and follow up with thousands of leads without anyone writing a single e-mail.
It enables small companies to act like companies twice their size.
And the best part?
It can accelerate your growth beyond what you ever thought was possible.
But… it’s still in its infancy, meaning we have barely scratched the surface of what’s actually possible.
The first industrial revolution used water and steam to power factories with endless assembly lines.
The second industrial revolution used electricity to speed up production time.
The third industrial revolution used IT and robotics to (almost) fully automated production.
The fourth revolution… is data-driven marketing and sales.
We’re on the brink of revolutionary change, and I for one can hardly wait to see how it all unfolds.
And when it comes to Marketing Automation, it’s not as much an industrial revolution as just an evolution.
Every company needs marketing and innovation to survive, and every marketer in history have struggled with customer acquisition, up/down/cross-selling current customers and keeping old ones in the loop.
But what if you could approach every single one of your prospects and customers individually – place them in a personalized and tailored customer journey - based on their off- and online behavior, interests, and needs?
Marketing automation can do that for you.
And when used right, it’s every marketer's wet dream.
But, the world of business is moving fast – which means that marketers must be on the forefront of what’s new and always look 1, 2, 3 years ahead.
It’s a constant struggle finding new ways of acquiring customers, finding new offers, finding new “hacks”.
Because let’s face it:
Even the best strategy will stop delivering results after a certain period of time and all channels eventually become saturated.
It’s hard to keep up with the trends, and it’s just as hard identifying the ones worth riding along.
Just look at the surfers.
The good ones know that not every wave is worth chasing.
It’s the same in business. You just need to find a couple of big waves, ride them, and wait for the next one.
Marketing Automation is like a tsunami coming right at you, but you’re not the only one who wants to ride along.
Here are a few predictions:
Prediction #1 – More Unique Experiences Will Be Created
We have moved away from the page view-craze in the early 2000’s to where we are today with a heavy focus on user experience.
For this prediction, we’ll look towards the social media networks.
Social media is quickly changing the way we interact, both with websites, mobile and the people around us.
The real-time experience of using social media change our expectations around how long it should take for products and services to deliver on their promises.
And competing with a social media network is often no joke.
In the end, this basically boils down to user experience, and that’s what this prediction is about.
If you want to create a better user experience, if you want to become more relevant in your communication, you need to know which data to collect and how to use it.
A lot of companies will say “If we only had more data…”
But the lack of data is rarely the problem, it’s actually the opposite.
Most companies have A LOT of data whether they know it or not, they just don’t know how to use it.
According to the Guardian, approximately 3% of all data is currently tagged and ready for manipulation, and only one-sixth of this - 0.5% - is used for analysis.
One of the companies using their data to enhance their user experience is Facebook.
Despite their latest scandals, let me just ask you one question:
Is your website or application optimized for blind people?
Check out this quote from their newsroom:
“Automatic alternative text, or automatic alt text, is a new development that generates a description of a photo using advancements in object recognition technology. People using screen readers on iOS devices will hear a list of items a photo may contain as they swipe past photos on Facebook.”
...and this is what they’re talking about:
When you upload a photo on Facebook, they run it through their AI which identifies what’s happening in the image and adds contextual information as text in an alt-tag.
This little text snippet might seem insignificant at first sight, but it’s enabling the blind to “see” (listen to) the photos their friends upload.
They have a voice that reads the text inside the alt-tag out loud.
If you want to check this out on one of your own photos, follow the steps below:
- Login to Facebook and click on a photo
- In the bottom right corner, click on “Options” and choose “Enter full screen”
- Right click the image and click on “Inspect element”
- You’ll see an alt tag that says: “Image may contain:”. The text within that alt-tag is what Facebook’s image processing engine see’s.
This is the kind of unique experience that companies will have to create on to become true leaders in their space.
Unfortunately, most companies won’t be able to make use of their spearhead technology next to their marketing and sales activities.
Instead, we will have to rethink our sales funnels, how we promote our products and services, and how we can spot business opportunities in its earliest stages.
Because even if though we might not be able to compete with real-time interaction, we can use tactics like trigger-based emails, live chat, and personalization to satisfy the on-demand part in all of us.
Prediction #2 – We will collect less, but better, data
Too many companies collect data about their visitors and prospects without actually analyzing or using it. This results in a poor success-rate when trying to implement a data-driven culture.
In fact, a recent study shows that only 37% of companies who try to be more data-driven succeed in their efforts.
The reason for this is probably the amount of data they’re gathering in combination with not being able to uncover the actionable pieces.
If you’re in sales you probably know (perhaps a little too well) that a deal isn’t closed until the papers are signed.
Any deal can go kaput at any time, even if your prospect explicitly told you they are interested.
Either someone in their company decided to go with another solution, or you didn’t collect the right data.
You didn’t hear what was being said during the silence.
If you had known that your prospect visited your website 9 times before you ever contacted her, and if you had known that she visited a specific case study 7 out of those 9 visits - could you have changed the outcome?
Perhaps not, but at least you would have the chance to try.
Google Analytics gives you a good overview of what’s happening on your website, but a service like Triggerbee can help you understand your visitor's actions.
Your prospects behavior, their actions (not their information) tells another story than what’s being said during phone calls and emails.
Let’s say that you’re a customer success rep in a SaaS company, and you’ve just met with one of your most loyal customers.
Everything seemed fine last time you talked to them.
But suddenly, you get a notification that they have visited your pricing page 6 times in the last couple of days… Should you be worried?
This type of data - behavioral data - helps you understand what’s happening when you’re not looking and gives you a chance to act.
Our prediction is that companies will want more actionable data, not just “more data”.
Prediction #3 - A more integrated approach
The days of All-in-one software suites are long gone.
With over 7000+ martech solutions available, the only way forward is the best-of-breed approach.
By integrating multiple solutions and connecting them with each other, you can streamline your marketing and sales activities and create a marketing stack tailored to your needs.
Jason Lemkin from SaaStr recommends:
[Jason Lemkin Quote form Quora]
Letting your people work with tools they already know how to use and integrating them with your customer data platform, will be a key insight for companies who want to accelerate growth in the future.
Prediction #4 – Being Creative Won’t Be Enough
Decades ago, a marketer’s job was basically branding.
They were responsible for coming up with campaigns and advertising concepts to increase awareness and brand recognition which, eventually (and hopefully), increased sales.
The best became legends, but there’s a reason only a few of them are still remembered to this day.
Creativity and hunches are not reliable ways of increasing sales today.
Tactics that work in the USA probably won’t work as well in Sweden, and tactics that are successful in Europe won’t necessarily work in China or Africa.
If you’re halfway through a big TV-launch, there’s too much equity at stake to risk things getting out of hand.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
Creatives will always be needed wherever there is marketing, but they will have to broaden their skills to be able to put an ROI-number to their campaigns.
They won’t need to become data scientists, but it’s becoming increasingly more important to have a basic understanding of digital analytics and how to make meaningful decisions based on the information you have.
This means that you have to go from being “creative” to analytical.
These predictions are based on trends we’re seeing in the marketplace. More and more companies want to use services like Zapier, Piesync, and Triggerbee to integrate services that allow them to do one specific thing.
But if that service is unable to easily integrate with their main platform, the arousal will quickly turn into a disappointment.
Marketing automation is a tool used in the efforts of becoming more data-driven and doing more with less.
A common misconception of marketing automation is that it’s expensive and takes a long time to implement.
But if you take an integrated approach - a stacked approach - you can easily build your own marketing automation system, tailored to your specific needs and wants, for less than $100 / month (and sometimes even for free!)