Continually Improving the Customer Experience: The Evolution of Automated Marketing Tools
Automated marketing tools have evolved over the last few decades, giving generations of marketers new and innovative ways to engage with their customers. That’s not going to stop anytime soon. Automated marketing technology continues to advance rapidly. And over the next few years, it’ll change the way people experience your brand and interact with your company.
I think we are entering the age of the customer experience platform.
A Bit of Perspective
Automated marketing first emerged with the development of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms in the late ‘80s. Of course, these platforms were expensive and therefore limited to large, multinational corporations. But they taught us how new technology can be leveraged to improve how we interact with customers.
The earliest automated marketing tools were introduced in the ‘90s with the invention of web analytics and predictive marketing campaign management software. And now, in an era where MarTech stacks are growing exponentially, the number of new solutions can be intimidating.
The Winds of Change
People buy technology on a bell curve—early adopters and innovators first, then majorities, and laggards catching on last. For a technology to move from a niche group of forward thinkers to the greater population, it must grow and become a holistic solution.
Consider the iPhone. The earliest versions, released in 2007 (and practically primitive by today’s standards), were sought after by only the most tech savvy. But as the smartphone’s functionality and ease of use grew, so did its popularity.
Today, we’re observing a similar trend in marketing technology. Over the next few years, we will see automated marketing tools evolve into customer experience platforms. And they’ll begin to serve as the backbone for a new generation of innovative solutions that enhance customer experience.
But what does this changing landscape mean for how marketers work?
1. Imagine the Death of the Landing Page as We Know it
That’s right, the days of the traditional landing page are numbered. Web analytics and AI are simply advancing too fast.
Take a company like Drift, for example. It can replace static landing pages with chatbots that ask visitors pertinent questions to gather data about them and customize the customer experience on a site. Feedback provided to the chatbot allows the site visitor to, in essence, choose their own experience on the site. (For an example of this, think Netflix’s interactive content, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.)
Imagine your customer visits a landing page for an upcoming webinar series. Instead of the standard registration form, a bot appears and asks which session they’re interested in attending, what reminders they would like (text, email, or an in-app pop up), and if they’d like more information.
The next time they visit your site, the chatbot remembers their interaction and offers the best next step. Perhaps they missed a webinar they registered for, the chatbot offers them a recording of the webinar, or maybe they are offered a related industry report or product demo.
It’s no longer a static, form-based interaction. It’s a dynamic, interactive, barrier-free experience driven by machine learning that leverages data from, and about the visitor.
2. The Intelligent Inbox Enables More Impactful Engagement
Vital information no longer has to remain stranded in an email inbox. Instead, it can be automatically detected and centralized to maximize opportunity and reduce risk.
Say you have a contact in your database. When you send them an email from your marketing automation system there is an automatic reply, indicating that they are out of the office for four weeks. A tool like Siftrock can pause all email communication to that individual until they return.
Or, if that person is no longer with the company, technology can automatically extract an identified new contact from the auto-response and add the new contact to your database.
Another solution that enriches your database using information already at hand comes from Clari. Their solution connects to a salesperson’s inbox and calendar and can identify events and contacts related to ongoing sales cycles. No longer will your sales team have key contacts sitting in their inbox that are not in your CRM. Clari will add them automatically. This helps to ensure that all the relevant contacts are automatically associated with an opportunity providing clearer insights around forecasting and attribution.
With the added ability to access important information from a salesperson’s inbox, you can engage with customers in a more meaningful way.
3. The Once-hidden Opportunities that Data Can Reveal
There’s an overwhelming amount of data available these days. And marketers are finally starting to realize the potential opportunities it offers.
By harvesting all the rich data in your marketing automation system and aligning it with the data from your CRM, you can have access to detailed analytics on campaign and revenue attribution readily at your disposal. In addition to campaign and revenue attribution, you will have a clearer picture of how to predict sales growth in different geographic regions and anticipate associated staffing needs.
But most importantly, with this combined marketing and sales data, you can eliminate your most common CRM software shortfall: the lack of communication between your siloed data in your CRM and your marketing automation system.
And once you integrate this information, you’ll discover a wealth of opportunities right in front of you.
Tying it All Together
With multiple automated marketing tools sifting through so much data, you need a centralized customer experience platform orchestrating all these activities. What was once an automated marketing tool is now serving as something of a customer experience operating system and paving the way for a new generation of offerings.
This gives marketers like you the chance to investigate, test, and refine customer interactions—and ultimately deliver the best experience possible.
Lucky for us, that’s exactly what automated marketing tools are here for: to help us do what we do best…only better.