The future of marketing automation — when drones are delivering products and virtual goods are as sought-after as physical ones — is in view but remains on the distant horizon. For the foreseeable future, high-tech innovations will continue to draw venture capital with their automated inventions but those innovations will remain far from the actual market.
Instead, the immediate future of marketing automation will be an advancement of what’s already here. Email marketing automation, social media monitoring, lead prioritization and content creation will all see significant improvements in both the products themselves and how the products are used.
Increased Data Capture Across Devices and Platforms.
We already live in the age of big data, but even today’s vast knowledge of consumers’ behavior will pale in comparison to what marketers will know tomorrow. As data becomes the currency of commerce, companies will continue to mine for information. Automation software will let them mine more than just one device or platform.
As data mining applications and techniques advance, companies will collect data on consumers across devices and platforms. A web of information that creates a full picture of consumers will be generated. Companies will know what motivates people, when people take action, where people are and what people are doing.
Of course, learning and cataloging all of these details will be done automatically.
More Mobile Integration Across the Board.
As consumers show an increasing preference for smartphones and tablets, marketing automation tools will integrate even more with mobile devices than they do now. Advancements in data capture and content delivery for mobile devices will be made out of necessity. If the industry doesn’t continue to grow in this area, marketers will lose their ability to reach consumers.
Better Accuracy When Forecasting and Modeling.
Thanks largely to the continued increase in data, marketers’ abilities to forecast and model potential campaigns’ returns on investment will be more accurate. Initial tests will still be needed to confirm campaign predictions, and split testing will remain useful when fine-tuning campaigns. Companies will have a much better idea of what they can expect from a campaign before launching it, however.
Highly Personalized Campaigns and Interactions.
The additional data will also help marketers customize campaigns for individual consumers. Online ads, social media updates, blog posts and emails will all be highly personalized for intended recipients. Materials will be relevant to a recipient’s interests, and they’ll be formatted and delivered in a way that the recipient is likely to respond to and engage with.
Marketers Will Learn to Better Use Automation Programs.
Perhaps the biggest area of improvement won’t be with marketing automation programs themselves but rather with how well these programs are utilized. Currently, programs are greatly underutilized, with only about 49 percent of companies using marketing automation. Moreover, those that do use software frequently don’t take full advantage of it because they aren’t aware of how to all the features a program has.
In the coming months and years, marketers will become more familiar with the tools their companies do have. As they learn all of the features, they’ll see even better results from automating processes. In turn, more companies will be prompted to also adopt marketing automation techniques.
Still a Place for Real People.
While many marketing processes can be automated, there will always remain a place for real people. Automated programs may be able to interact in a personalized way with consumers, but they can’t provide a truly personal relationship. To do this, marketers will need to become brand ambassadors who connect with targeted leads on another level to close the sale, make sure customers are satisfied and set their company apart from the competition.
Lots of Reports or Great Ideas.
The increase in data and automated processes will produce a two-fold result. Marketers will have a lot more time available to develop and implement campaigns, but they’ll also have a lot more information to sit through. How marketers and their campaigns fare will depend largely on how executives and their teams respond to the increase in time and data.
Those who become bogged down in numbers will find themselves slaving away at reports and endlessly discussing statistics. They’ll develop well-analyze campaigns, but they’ll spend a lot of time doing so. Additionally, these campaigns may miss the mark if they’re solely data-driven and miss that personal touch.
Marketing teams that are able to quickly and efficiently identify and summarize key data points will find themselves with plenty of time to develop campaigns. They’ll have the time needed to create truly unique campaigns that set a company apart and connect with consumers.