What is the future of marketing automation?

Published April 15, 2022
Last updated April 20, 2022

A 2019 survey on the state of marketing automation found that 75% of companies were already using some form of marketing automation. Of those respondents, 66% indicated that the tools had been either ‘moderately’ or ‘very’ effective. 

The same survey looked into the leading marketing automation tools and determined that the top three were social media post scheduling (85%), email marketing (75%), and social media advertising (58%). While your company may already use one of these tools, are you making the most out of automation in your marketing strategy? This article explores the various uses and benefits of automation, alongside predicted developments.

What is marketing automation used for?

Let’s start with a definition of marketing automation. As described in an American Marketing Association article, it’s a type of technology that performs behavioural-based tracking and then uses that data to automate individualised marketing experiences, which should lead to more revenue opportunities. In simpler terms, the goal of automation is not just to make things run efficiently, but also to do it in a way that increases the company’s bottom line.

As we’ve mentioned, common types of marketing automation include automated email campaigns and social media scheduling. But a marketing automation strategy can go far beyond that—for example, using customer service bots to answer common questions without the need for human interaction. 

Another example is the use of a CRM to automate the sales process or to enhance the customer experience. Netflix, for instance, is great at using automation to keep viewers engaged with its content. 

How effective is marketing automation?

The most obvious upside to utilising an automation marketing agency or automation tools is better time management. Instead of needing to perform every little task, your team can gain back time for strategic thinking and highly impactful work. 

Automation can also assist with decision-making. With the use of automatic tools to track engagement, perform A/B testing, and create customer segments, your marketing process can become more effective over time. 

These tools can improve your lead nurturing efforts, too. While small companies may have time to deal with every individual lead, as a business grows, prospective customers can easily fall through the cracks. With the help of tailored messaging, personalised emails, and targeted advertising, more leads can convert into profitable clients.

The future of digital marketing automation (and how you can benefit)

Automation, in particular AI-driven solutions, is developing at a rapid pace. Whatever tools we use today could be obsolete next year, or these tools may grow and take over whole departments. It’s important to understand how to use marketing automation tools correctly and make the most out of new technologies. Here are four ways to build automation into your future marketing strategy.

1. Fine-tune email campaigns

Inserting a lead’s first name into an email is a good start, but there’s so much more you can do to grab their attention. Clear segmentation is one way to improve your campaigns, as it allows you to personalise messages according to the audience. Another way is to use automatic messages based on a customer’s actions. 

For example, you can send an automatic email after a support call. Or, you can remind a lead that they didn’t finish their purchase and their items are still in the cart. Sending discount emails around a person’s birthday is also a good idea. Just think of all the ways your emails can create a unique customer experience.

2. Create personalised content

Marketing uses many types of content aside from emails, such as website copy, social media, blog posts, and more. Customers expect this content to be relevant to them as well. In fact, a OneSpot survey found that 74% of consumers are frustrated by irrelevant content. 

One way to serve them tailored messaging is through dynamic website content. For instance, a first-time visitor will see an introductory page, while a frequent visitor will receive information about the latest offers and new items. Chatbots can also generate relevant messages according to the visitor’s behaviour or by analysing the messages they write and picking out keywords. 

Remarketing is another way to personalise content. With the use of cookies, you can retarget people who didn’t make a purchase on your website by serving them ads on another platform like Facebook.

3. Establish better lifecycle marketing

Marketing is not just about converting leads into clients; it’s also about ensuring customers keep coming back. With the help of tools that provide a single customer view, you can gather information about a consumer’s behaviour online, their motives, and their needs. 

These tools generate fast analysis, such as product preferences or the timing around purchases. With that data, you can adapt your marketing strategy in real-time—not only to match what your clients require now but also to predict what they’ll need in the future.

4. Enable predictive lead scoring

Marketing automation platforms collect enormous amounts of data about every lead. With the help of machine learning algorithms, they can spot patterns and predict user behaviours. This can generate a score for each lead, which then helps sales teams focus on the leads that are most likely to convert. By using this score, you can also create a funnel of automated messages (personalised, of course) to help support the conversion.

Will marketing be automated entirely?

It’s hard to predict what the next few years will bring in terms of marketing automation, but developments are happening across everything from AI-powered voice responses to automated video marketing and more. Simply put, the sky's the limit for the future of e-marketing.

But this doesn’t mean that marketers will become obsolete in a few decades. Instead, they should adjust their expertise to align with the new technologies, work alongside the algorithms, and focus more on soft skills. Above all, they should be informed by the technology and strive to improve it.

If there’s anything 2020 taught us, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Marketing is changing in many ways that we didn’t foresee. Read more about how you can stay ahead.