The 11th annual SiriusDecisions Summit was held in Nashville last week and featured 30 new frameworks, customer ROI presentations, and multiple analyst and practitioner case studies. A key session that stood out and created a lot of buzz amongst the crowd: Marketing Automation: What the Future Holds.
Most marketers are familiar with marketing automation; in fact, you may already use it. But to recap, marketing automation is a category of technology that enables organizations to easily reach their buyers on multiple channels and automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks. It enables marketers to streamline demand generation, segmentation, nurturing, customer lifecycle marketing, cross-sell and up-sell, customer retention, and marketing ROI measurement….basically, it makes your life easier and your efforts much more effective. So it’s easy to see why this session was one of the most popular at SiriusDecisions—marketers are invested and continuing to invest in this game-changing technology.
Let’s take a look at SiriusDecisions’ seven predictions for the future of marketing automation. And no need to wait for these to come true; I’ve included tips on how you can start implementing them today!
Prediction #1: It’s All about the Buyer and Their Journey
It’s a buyer’s world and marketers cannot control their journey. In order for marketers to be successful, buyer interactions and behaviors must be analyzed in order to glean insights on how to maximize engagement and conversions.
Actionable Tip: Implement an engagement marketing strategy to build life-long, personalized relationships. Digital, social, and mobile technologies have forever altered the way marketing is interacting with people, so the more relevant and meaningful your communications can be, the better.
Prediction #2: Personalization Will Continue to Progress
Although marketing is in the driver’s seat, marketers still struggle to keep up with buyer expectations of one-to-one marketing, dynamic personalization, and predictive personalization.
Actionable Tip: Understand your web visitors and personalize their experience. To do this, you need the right technology (a marketing automation tool that can listen and respond) and cross-channel strategy in place. A personalized experience is a necessity if you want to speak to your buyers instead of at them.
Prediction #3: The End of Templates and Pre-Built Programs
Since it is all about the buyer and their journey, marketers should stay away from complex, pre-built programs. Although this feature is not currently on marketing automation vendors’ roadmaps, SiriusDecisions predicts that in the not-too-distant future data will be used to create just-in-time programs.
Actionable Tip: While removing all templates in the next 12 months seems a bit extreme, the actionable lesson here is that marketers must use data to create targeted programs. Boost your results by offering your buyer the right pieces of content for them with predictive recommendations on your website as well as in emails. Some marketing automation platforms, like Marketo, have already jumped on board and are incorporating these capabilities.
Prediction #4: Marketing Clouds Are Challenging
There is no such thing as a single platform. Organizations will create their own technology clouds with marketing automation as the foundation.
Actionable Tip: As you build your tech stack, make data the heart and guide for all your decision-making. Soon there will be over one billion customer touchpoints a day (ack!), and marketing automation will be your strategic weapon to connect the dots and grow your business. The only way to engage your buyers and interpret their behavior will be through an enterprise-class marketing automation platform—one that integrates with other facets of your tech stack and can help you handle and interpret your data.
Prediction #5: Predictive and Propensity Modeling
Data science and machine learning will transform the way marketers target, source, and score buyers. Align teams to gather and analyze data from multiple sources for weighting and modeling.
Actionable Tip: Leverage predictive modeling wherever possible to identify and focus on accounts and opportunities that have the highest propensity to buy. Implement account scoring for sales and marketing account-based insights and predictive signals. This is a core component of Marketo’s account-based marketing strategy and helps us improve the effectiveness of our programs.
Prediction #6: Next Generation Tactic Attribution
Marketing attribution modeling will be built using agreed-upon definitions by sales and marketing to optimize program spend and performance.
Actionable Tip: Align your sales and marketing teams today to improve business performance. If you are aligned on programs, definitions, goals, and roles, you will be able to determine program attribution, improve marketing ROI, increase sales productivity, and, most importantly, drive top-line growth. Curious where to start? Check out this ebook on how to Jumpstart Revenue Growth with Sales and Marketing Alignment.
Prediction #7: Advanced Analytics Are Now Mandatory
Rather than simply observe what is happening, organizations must employ data tools and scientists to determine why things are happening.
Actionable Tip: Having a data scientist and marketing operations team at your disposal is every marketer’s dream. If you don’t have access to these, you can still lend credibility to your marketing by measuring and analyzing metrics that matter. Views and downloads may be easy metrics to uncover, but they don’t reveal much. Identify the metrics that will help you earn a seat at the revenue table and make those your standard for reporting.
Marketing automation is continuing to evolve, and your organization can start capitalizing on emerging trends today to drive long-term intelligent growth and revenue. Which of these trends stood out to you? Are you already implementing some of the tips? Share your story or let me know what you think the future holds in the comments below; I would love to hear from you!