It's a new marketing year and we at Leadfront start by predicting the future of various Marketing Automation trends. We want to flag five strong trends that we think you as a CMO should be aware of now.There is a lot happening in Marketing Automation. There are constantly new developments, tools and technologies opening up new possibilities for what we can achieve as marketers. But we see five major trends in particular that we want to highlight. And these are the areas where we think you, as a CMO, should put the most effort to get the most bang for your buck this year.
1. Artificial Intelligence
The accelerating development of artificial intelligence technologies for marketing automation is paving the way for predictive personalisation.The biggest trend is the further development of artificial intelligence (AI) as a marketing tool and the head start that early adopters will have as the technologies improve. AI technologies can be incredibly effective in organising data, identifying patterns and optimising automated marketing communications. Next, AI can help us predict customer behaviors, aid in tracking campaigns and predict the outcomes of various marketing efforts. AI also enables easier production of relevant and personalised content. And also the delivery of the right content to the right person at the right time, so-called "predictive personalisation".In 2018, we expect to see more of chat-bots and intelligent support tools that will eventually replace their human counterparts.One of the biggest benefits of seriously starting to explore the possibilities in artificial intelligence is that it can replace much of the contact that has been human-driven so far. Freeing up marketers to focus on more creative tasks, and that's when real innovation is born. The time to embrace artificial intelligence in marketing is now.
2. Account Based Marketing
Marketing Automation enables tracking and triggering activities at the person level for effective Account Based Marketing.Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B strategy that focuses sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined list of target customers who are worked on through personalised campaigns specifically designed to appeal to each individual customer. ABM implemented in conjunction with Marketing Automation can have significantly higher ROI than other types of marketing.The basis of the approach is a reverse start - instead of starting with lead picking from marketing efforts, an ABM strategy begins with identifying the target customers who have the greatest revenue potential for your company.For organizations using ABM, Marketing Automation systems provide great opportunities to segment users. Segmentation creates a good picture of how many users from a specific organization are visiting your website, downloading content, and otherwise interacting with you. This in turn enables optimised communication through the delivery of highly personalised content to key individuals and decision makers of the target client through the channels they are actively using.
3. Data-driven decision-making
Better data quality and integration lay the foundations for data-driven decision-makingGDPR's arrival will mean that data quality will be significantly higher. Old and irrelevant data will have to be weeded out and newly collected data limited to data we know we will use. It must also be qualified by the requirement for active consent, i.e. that contacts appearing in the database are there of their own volition.We also predict that marketers' decision-making will become more data-driven as our data quality improves. Most marketers already have access to lots of data - the challenge is knowing how to extract relevant insights.Often, a company's data is split across different systems with different owners, making it difficult to get an overview of the customer journey as it happens across different channels. This is where modern business intelligence tools can enable you to easily connect different data sources to see correlations between different data points, and build integrated visualizations across trends and insights.In 2018, we believe more CMOs will embrace these tools and use them to create real-time dashboards and scorecards to provide visibility into the effectiveness of different marketing efforts. CMOs who master this will also have a huge advantage in the job market.
4. Integration between marketing and sales
Marketing automation structures create better collaboration between marketing and sales.The line between marketing and sales continues to blur. This is as we start to work more on attracting leads through personalised content. Instead of generic ads and intrusive sales efforts.Marketing Automation systems enable a better handover of leads from marketing to sales. At the same time, it is equally important that MQLs that do not lead to sales are passed back to the marketing department for further processing. This enables marketing to increase relevance and optimize communication accordingly.
5. Customer Life Cycle Personalization
Increased personalisation in a new era of Customer Life Cycle MarketingThe end goal is no longer to simply convert leads into customers. It is to maximise the value of loyal repeat customers throughout their lifecycle as buyers. The focus must therefore be on building long-term relationships, creating great continuity of communication between business and customer, and building robust content assets so that communications can be tailored to individual customers' different needs throughout the customer journey.It will continue to be a challenge for marketers to meet customer expectations of personalized marketing, dynamic personalization and predictive personalization.The days when personalization was about getting first names into otherwise standard emails are over. It is now time to recognize that a lead's customer journey can begin at several different stages of the traditional customer journey. In other words, that they don't always take the different steps in the order that you intended. The customer journey has become highly individual; it is important to take control of and analyse the whole customer journey. As well as finding points where prospects are ready to be responded to by automated contact. But also identify the points where a personal, human contact is expected.Today, personalisation is more about being able to use behavioural data (the prospect's individual customer journey) than attribute data (what we know about the prospect). We won't get all the way there via Marketing Automation systems alone. This requires Customer Data Platform (CDP) that collects and analyzes data across the digital landscape. This includes CRM, MA, support, customer service, checkout data, etc... The biggest challenge we marketers face in the coming year is delivering personalized, relevant multi-channel customer journeys. These should appeal to the unique needs and desires of our potential customers.Do you have a handle on Marketing Automation Trends now? And are you ready to take on the challenge?
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