Reflections on Marketing Automation in 2016

Reflections on Marketing AutomationWe live in a time of extraordinary change. Marketing has come a long way in a small amount of time. And the industry is just continuing to refine itself! To be able to entirely appreciate the current state of marketing automation, it’s best to briefly acknowledge where it has been.

Marketing automation first came into existence in 1992, focusing on email alone. Businesses did not have a lot of online presence at the time, so there wasn’t really a huge opportunity for it to take off until the late 2000’s. Now, it has grown its capabilities so greatly that it is able to help companies deliver various marketing content through different channels to customers based on their online behavior.

As digital platforms become increasingly more powerful, there is more untapped data at our fingertips than ever. The need for organizing, integrating, and maximizing the benefits of that data has become essential. The phrase “work smarter, not harder” rings true. We have access to increasing demographic, psychographic, historical, and behavioral information. It’s information overload!

Marketing Automation now has the ability to capture all of this data, listen to it, interpret it, and utilize it in the most effective ways possible. The field of marketing automation is something that started small, exploded, and is now refining itself. Technology is more intuitive. Platforms are becoming easier to navigate. Consequently, the tools are more often used to their fullest potential.  Companies such as us have mastered content personalization, customizable resource centers, and integration.

What’s to Come in Marketing Automation

The marketing automation industry is somewhat saturated. This can be beneficial to the end user, in that companies must listen to their clients’ needs, wishes, and dreams. Even more customization, personalization and integration (with systems like mail or additional CRMs) is in the near future.

Another thing that is fast-approaching is an upgrade to the customer journey, or more specifically customer journey optimization. Instead of combining many customers’ courses of action into a few general paths, automation is challenged to grow to support infinite customer journeys. According to industry expert David Raab, this is “quite different from pre-determining an ideal customer journey and trying to force customers to follow it.” The industry seems to be taking back control over the user experience, instead of just reacting to it.

It’s an exciting time in marketing automation. With every challenge comes greater exploration and innovation. What do you see on the horizon for the industry? We look forward to hearing your feedback below!

Grow Your Business through Customer Responsive Marketing Automation

Grow Your Business through Customer Responsive Marketing AutomationBuilding a relationship with prospective customers should not be seen as a one-way street, with your brand constantly reaching out—calling, mailing, posting—and hearing nothing in return. Rather, this process is more successfully a bi-directional path with many winding trails. Encouraging customer responsive marketing automation will pave this process of nurturing your leads to their state of buying readiness. Providing the means and the channel(s) of communication between your brand and your prospects can open up an enlightening conversation.

Everyone likes a personalized message (except when it’s a little too personalized). I couldn’t delete emails starting “Greetings #1 Customer” any faster. It’s no surprise that personalized marketing encourages customers to respond and interact at a higher rate. Personalization of each message based on their previous interactions with your brand (read: lead scoring) helps to determine their stage of the buying cycle, and thus the types of messages you should be sending.

Seamless Interaction

The end goal of carefully personalizing each message broadcasted is to encourage seamless interaction between sales and prospects across multiple channels. There are a multitude of tools that make customer responsive marketing automation a process easily integrated with your current system. Mobile applications are increasingly a crucial part of engaging customers and text messaging is burgeoning into an acceptable means for B2B communication.

Tailor your customer experience and encourage their response by scheduling social media posts (make it easier on yourself) that survey or poll your followers. This somewhat organic way of discovering data can then be used to create relevant content. Ask about the customers’ needs, determine an appropriate means to “score” your posts (evaluate the number of “likes” or “retweets,” for example) to gauge your audience’s interest level in various topics. Don’t forget to keep in consideration the peak times for posting to maximize exposure and response.

Realize Customer Needs

Through customer responsive marketing automation, your business is enabled to more fully realize your customer needs through their interaction with your brand. Analyze their past behaviors (CTRs, landing pages, etc.) to predict how they might respond to future messaging campaigns. Incorporating customer service into the customer responsive marketing automation process becomes second nature through technology. Catering to the customers’ needs at a time when they’re ready (timing is everything) can be the make it or break it of the deal. It’s important to have the marketing and sales teams in communication with each other to coordinate respective campaigns and actions to maximize touchpoints, get to know the prospect, and go in for the win. Utilizing strategic techniques such as the “sense and respond” in correlation with other technology advances will provide a better grasp of what prospects and customers alike want and expect from your brand.