Marketing automation has proved to offer effective solutions to drive targeted and personalized marketing campaigns across multiple channels. Like other new technologies, marketing automation solutions are rapidly evolving. Earlier this year, we made a list of all the marketing automation solutions (108 of them). It's time to have a look at some of the latest trends that are changing the marketing automation space.
We should expect to see more consolidation happening in the coming month, both between companies in the marketing automation space (for scale or specialisation) and from company in adjacent markets (or not even that "adjacent" like McDonald's).
2. Artificial Intelligence "Enhancement"
AI was one of the theme that we had already identified in our original list. We had called out marketing automation solutions from a few vendors (specifically Alterian, Braze, Instapage, Optimizely) for their focus on AI. Since then, AI has gone even more mainstream, as it has happened for many other software categories.
Marketers are already reaping benefits presented by the technology, with most reporting positive results. For instance, email marketing campaigns are being designed to incorporate AI, which helps to track the behavior of website visitors. An audience is normally presented with an email subscription pop up where they are enticed to sign up. Successful newsletter subscribers will then receive automatic email based on the earlier browsing behavior or engagement with the content on a website. Through this strategy, a marketer can effectively convert subscribers into customers.
So far, we have seen three main applications of AI when it comes to marketing automation solutions:
- Analytics: With the aid of AI tools, big data, and machine learning, it is possible to analyze customer data to predict consumer behavior and intent.
- Campaign design: Some marketers have also applied AI to launch email campaigns that significantly impact their marketing efforts.
- Personalization: With a promise of endless possibilities, the new trend creates an avenue where marketers can comprehend a sales cycle in a better way. As a result, they can make sound decisions and develop personalized content that is likely to generate enhanced results.
- Engagement: Depending on how a customer engages with website content, AI can help to draft metrics to inform how to design products and services that match customers' needs. Chatbots integrated on websites are a great example of AI at work. Client engagement is no longer a preserve of a customer support team. Many websites today have integrated sophisticated chatbots to respond to queries, and provide personalized responses based on user behavior using a variety of demographics. Through engaging dialogue with a customer, a chatbot can gather insights into what prospects' needs, behavior, and preferences. In turn, you will end up with precise recommendations on the products and services you offer.
These are four main applications which we have seen more often, however, there is more. For example, AI can be a useful tool to match agents with customers, leading to better customer experiences, as a partner from Bain & Company explains in this video.
3. Programmatic (and in-housing)
Unlike other traditional media buying, programmatic marketing is an advertisement strategy that gives the privilege to push ads to a targeted audience, cutting across a wide array of demographics. Since the content is highly personalized to reach the right audience, it is very effective. This type of targeted marketing, as Adobe puts it, is a reasonable marketing strategy considering that data sources have broadened. Also, customers are no longer limited to viewing ads from a single channel or device before they make a purchase.
Through a data-driven platform incorporating AI, targeted ads are delivered to customers. Depending on the feedback and response, the automatic interphase can generate insights that will be critical to forge and drive a successful programmatic marketing campaign. Besides, the collected information captures a wide range of metrics and analytics. These include gender, age, location, or time that informs the optimizing and restructuring of the ads to make them more relevant. Consequently, marketers can track the impact of their ads with the focus to implement more appealing massages that will grant better results.
New developments in programmatic marketing are also being embraced on TV and radio. The programmatic TV seems to the most widely adopted so far. As explained by econsultancy, real-time targeted short ads developed with the use of accurate customer data are run against video content on a TV with the help of a data-driven software.