Marketing automation is a future technology that’s here today, but that doesn’t mean it has stopped evolving. In its first incarnation, automation was fairly simple, allowing users to target offers more effectively and track leads as they moved through the sales funnel without doing much to affect the process. The next-generation marketing automation platforms that are available now take an active role in guiding the buying journey through customization and nurturing programs. They also let businesses assign meaningful, measurable value to all their marketing activities.
We’re just beginning to see the true power of marketing automation. To see what’s in store for marketers who embrace technology, let’s look at the directions automation might take in the months and years ahead.
Dynamic Campaign Design and Management
Marketing automation systems already streamline campaign management. Whether you’re developing welcome campaigns, nurture programs, customer rewards, win-backs, live events, event reminders, replenishment notices, or onboarding campaigns, automation has you covered. Where marketing automation continues to grow is in its ability to pull disparate campaigns together to create a more complex, adaptive program. Instead of a linear progression of content, campaigns now use complex logic and big data to forecast how audiences will respond. The system then adapts to customer activity in real time, letting your leads set a course for their own buying journeys rather than defining their trajectories for them.
Integrated Content Marketing
Content marketing is critical to B2B businesses, yet integrating it with outbound marketing campaigns and data gathering hasn’t always been a straightforward process. Marketers know the importance of content customization; the challenge is making it happen in real time so they target where leads are instead of where they’ve already been. It’s not just about the right message and the right customer – it’s also about reaching that prospect at the right time. Marketing automation tools now let you define trigger actions and align content with your leads’ needs more precisely.
Marketing automation technology is undergoing expansive growth in its ability to create and refine customer personas, which in turn leads to better customization. Its predictive capabilities are also becoming stronger, allowing you to anticipate the content your leads will seek out next. Those choices then inform other aspects of your marketing outreach so your email marketing, social, and direct mail serve relevant content.
Just as content is being integrated and contextualized as part of a larger picture, leads themselves are becoming part of a larger move toward account-based marketing. ABM wasn’t possible before the advent of marketing automation technology sophisticated enough to form connections between points of contact. Modern marketing automation systems allow marketers to target opportunities more precisely, engage with the decision-makers within an organization, and convert with convincing content and superior customer service. For B2B organizations, no other approach delivers a more impressive ROI than account-based marketing – and only marketing automation is able to manage it. Future marketing automation updates will likely focus on ABM even more, integrating it with sales and redefining lead scores to encompass account scores as well.
Marketing automation’s present is bright, and its future looks even brighter. With it, companies will excel at customer care while achieving greater returns on their marketing investments.
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