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Pete Winter

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Pete Winter

May 25, 2017

The marketing automation crystal ball - 3 future predictions


Smart marketers are now thinking about what’s ahead in the field of marketing automation. Here are our predictions on what the future holds.

Automation is playing an increasingly large part in marketing. Nearly 70% of marketers surveyed by Aberdeen Group in 2014 were either using a marketing implementation platform, or currently implementing one.

And according to the same study, the most successful companies are the most likely to be using automation. 67% of the companies defined as “best-in-class”, and 87% of the top-performing firms, were using an automation platform, compared to 52% of other companies.

With interest in automation showing no sign of decreasing, smart marketers are thinking about what’s down the road. Here are three of our predictions for what the future holds:

1. Predictive analytics

Automation allows companies to define different paths through the buying cycle for leads, depending on the information you have about them. So you can send emails tailored to customers’ interests, based on what content they have downloaded.

And this is just one example – by using data from a range of sources like phone calls, social media, web analytics and past purchases, you can design ever more sophisticated workflows.

This is a great opportunity. But the increasing complexity can be hard to manage – and with more information constantly coming in, it can be difficult to keep your systems up to date.

Machine learning can take the human effort out of this process, making intelligent adjustments to your workflows as data feeds into the system. And because the process is automatic, it is more agile as well as easier for you. As predictive intelligence develops, expect it to play an increasingly large role in marketing automation.

2. Open source software

At the moment, marketing automation tends to come as an all-in-one bundle. But as the software becomes increasingly sophisticated, it will develop more specialised uses.

Many experts predict that marketers will move away from single platforms and begin to develop bespoke stacks to suit their particular purposes. And software providers will respond to this by using open APIs that allow collaboration.

Vik Singh, the co-founder and CEO of Infer, says that “Rather than trying to house everything in one monolithic marketing automation system, tomorrow’s platforms will be more intelligent and thinner, plugging in many smaller specialized applications.”

A pick and mix approach to automation looks likely to be the future as marketers get to grips with what the software can do.

3. Personalisation

Amazon has led the way in personalised marketing – targeting their communications to customers appropriately and effectively. And more and more companies are now looking to follow this example.

Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census this year found that companies who considered themselves proficient in personalisation were more than twice as likely to rate the performance of their email campaigns as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ compared to those not doing personalisation.

And in the same survey, 61% of email marketers named personalisation as an area where they were not satisfied with their business’ current capabilities.

As predictive analytics develops, personalisation is set to reach a whole new level. Marketers will become increasingly able to fine-tune their communications to individuals.

Automation is getting easier than ever

Automation is already a powerful tool for marketers who want to streamline and refine their efforts across different channels. Currently, its capabilities are not necessarily being fully exploited. But as automation becomes more sophisticated and flexible, it will become easier than ever for marketers to use it to communicate more efficiently and effectively with customers.

Takeaways:

  • Automation is playing an increasingly large part in marketing.
  • Predictive intelligence can take the human effort out of automation, making intelligent adjustments to your workflows as data feeds into the system.
  • Many experts predict that marketers will move away from single platforms and begin to develop bespoke stacks to suit their particular purposes.
  • In future, marketers will become increasingly able to fine-tune their communications to individuals.
  • As automation becomes more sophisticated and flexible, it will become easier than ever for marketers to use it to communicate more efficiently and effectively with customers.

Find out how automation can get you measurably better results from your marketing spend. Download: The CMO's Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation

Topics: Marketing Automation

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