As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) continue to become modern business imperatives, organizations are leveraging technological progress to automate various procedures.
From automating their outreach efforts to streamlining their leads and prospects – marketing automation has become a staple feature of successful organizations and individuals.
These technological advancements allow businesses to innovate their promotional activities using tools and software that automate workflows and marketing tasks.
For example, marketers have the power to automate welcome e-mails, identify qualified leads, and send follow up e-mails automatically, whereas the use of chatbots for interaction with website visitors has also become commonplace.
The revenues for the B2B marketing automation market are expected to cross US$ 14 Billion by 2024. This evolution in automation makes it crucial for marketers to stay on top of recent trends in the industry.
Here are some emerging marketing automation trends that you cannot afford to miss out in 2020:
#1 Omni-Channel Experiences
Whether it’s e-mail, social, mobile, content, or search engine marketing – automating specific processes and tasks allows you to provide a consistent experience across platforms, channels, as well as devices.
This multi-channel approach helps businesses create an integrated experience for customers no matter where they reach out.
Omni-channel marketing leverages technology to integrate marketing across different channels. 87% of retailers agree that it’s vital for business, yet only 8% claim that they’ve achieved it.
Marketing automation can bring forth new omni-channel marketing strategies by creating genuinely connected experiences. Integrating the two can result in enriched client profiles and enhanced customer touchpoints.
This allows businesses to provide accurate, timely, and relevant information to their prospects to help them finalize the purchase decision. Omni-channel strategies such as this retain 89% of customers on average.
#2 AI In Digital Marketing
The sole purpose of marketing automation was to free marketers from tedious and repetitive tasks, helping them deliver marketing messages on time.
But in 2020, it incorporates AI and Machine Learning capabilities to deliver an optimized message to your audience. According to the Tech Republic, 61% of businesses had already started implementing AI in marketing back in 2017.
AI discovers and catalogues the content on your website, sorting it by relevance and delivers personalized content recommendations based on the needs of users. It can track users’ behavior on-site as well as other channels like social media (the omni-channel experience).
It then uses this data to suggest the optimal message and content for audiences based on their interests and buying intent.
Case in point: Google’s organic search.
You’re essentially getting better audience targeting and improved digital marketing strategy through marketing automation.
Messaging, segmentation, workflows, and other marketing aspects can be A/B tested more accurately, all thanks to AI. The use of additional data in these tests can increase the performance of these tests, leading to better optimization of campaigns, easing some of the work that goes into campaign creation.
#3 Predictive Lead Scoring To Ensure Quality Leads
Qualified leads are the lifeblood of a sales business and it takes a lot of hard work to find leads that show promise of conversion.
Segmentation can help businesses select the right prospects, who are further along in their buyer journey, ready to buy at a moment’s notice. You can then nurture these leads along your sales funnel until they’re eager to buy.
Marketing automation software allows you to prune your email list and go through contacts to find lucrative opportunities that manual sorting could otherwise miss.
It also helps with predictive lead scoring, which is similar to pruning your email lists to make sure your leads are highly qualified. It’s the process of identifying leads based on parameters such as demographics, personal data, interests, and online behavior.
Marketing automation tools that come with built-in predictive lead scoring features help increase conversions by identifying such leads, so you concentrate on bringing those qualified leads home.
#4 Chatbots Are Here To Stay
Chatbots are programs that carry out text or voice-based conversations with users, prospects, and customers. Many companies have already adopted chatbots on websites and socials like Facebook to offer a smoother customer experience.
In fact, research shows that the majority of B2B companies (58%) have already adapted a chatbot, with B2C companies fast catching up (42%).
Chatbot responses used to be very limited – users would grow sceptical of automated responses up until a few years ago.
However, advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) have allowed chatbots to become the flagbearers of marketing automation thanks to the fact that they have become more sophisticated and capable of holding interactive and human-like conversations.
AI has had a significant role to play in the creation and adaptive learning of these chatbots – they can modify their responses based on demographics, user interests, and behavior.
This personalizes the interaction between businesses and their customers, making the customer experience more rewarding.
A typical example of how a chatbot can enhance customer experience and subsequently benefit the business can be the first time a visitor directs a query towards your website bot.
Fun fact: Drift reports that the predicted primary use case for chatbots is to provide a quick answer.
Coming back to the example, once a query is submitted, your chatbot will be able to provide a quick answer, while also allowing a link to the FAQs page. Once a visitor lands on your FAQ page, they are exposed to the details of your business which increases brand awareness.
More importantly, the rapid response builds goodwill and increases customer engagement, inevitably affecting your bottom line.
#5 Predictive Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Retention becomes easier for brands when they provide a pleasant and engaging experience throughout the customer’s lifetime. That’s why brands are adapting to a more dynamic approach as they create customer segments to facilitate changing their evolving preferences and needs.
Marketers can assess user’s online transactions, online activities, and their motives behind searches and interactions. Predictive CLV and advanced segmentation allow them to optimize ad spends according to the revenues they expect to generate.
This can help brands identify low, medium, and high CLV customers to create personalized marketing campaigns on different channels like social media, emails, websites, and search engines – they can also reduce the marketing costs involved in campaigns to a higher degree.
Predictive CLV also helps create user profiles with high accuracy through software, analysing the necessary attributes of the target market, including behaviors and purchase history.
As marketing automation continues to grow and evolve, these trends will free-marketers like you from repetitive and mundane tasks.
You get time to let your creative marketing juices flow as you focus on data-backed and insight-based marketing strategies for the long term good of your company or brand.
Marketing automation also reduces the cost of hiring employees for manual and menial marketing tasks, as a result of which, you can reassign your marketing budget to more important aspects of marketing like content creation and curation.
It even improves the scope of scalability of the company or brand as it becomes easier to automate and handle daily mundane tasks as you aim for better growth. Customers also see a marked improvement in their experience with your brand as you start to handle customer queries proactively.
This, in turn, improves customer retention and loyalty. Personalized recommendations and on-time email reminders help drive better conversions and increase your overall ROI from marketing campaigns.
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