Updated: Jun 14, 2022
*I wrote this article in July of 2020. It was updated in January of 2022.
Marketing Automation is literally in every part of our lives, and we’re only seeing and experiencing the beginning.
It enables you to order pizza from your phone, track the preparation, and get it delivered to your door in 15 minutes without you even having to think twice about it.
It enables large companies to track and follow up on thousands of leads without anyone writing a single e-mail.
It enables small companies to act like companies twice their size.
And the best part?
It can accelerate your growth beyond what you ever thought was possible.
But… it’s still in its infancy stages, meaning we have barely scratched the surface of what’s actually possible.
The first industrial revolution used water and steam to power factories with endless assembly lines.
The second industrial revolution used electricity to speed up production time.
The third industrial revolution used IT and robotics to (almost) fully automate production.
The fourth industrial revolution… is now.
We’re on the brink of revolutionary change, and I am excited to see how it will unfold.
And when it comes to Marketing Automation, it’s not as much an industrial revolution as it’s a natural evolution.
Every company needs marketing and innovation to survive, and every marketer in history has struggled with acquiring new customers, up/down/cross-selling current customers, and keeping old ones in the loop.
What if you could approach every single one of your prospects and customers individually – place them in personalized and tailored customer journey's - based on their off- and online behaviour, interests and needs?
But, technology is moving fast – which means that we have to be on the forefront of what’s new and always look 1 – 2 – 3 years ahead.
It’s a constant struggle finding new ways to reach people, new offers, new tactics – because let’s face it:
Even the best strategy will stop delivering results after a certain period of time and all channels eventually become saturated.
It’s hard to keep up with the trends, and it’s just as hard identifying the ones worth riding along.
Just look at the surfers.
The great ones know that not every wave is worth chasing.
It’s the same in business. You just need to find a couple of big waves, ride them, and wait for the next one.
Marketing Automation is like a tsunami coming right at you, but you’re not the only one who wants to ride along.
Here are a few of my predictions for what the future of marketing automation holds:
Prediction #1 – Marketing automation will allow companies to create truly unique experiences
We have gone from the page view-craze in the early 2000’s to where we are today with UX being the new big thing.
Soon companies will need to focus on not only generating data, but combining it with lead generation in order to create truly unique user experiences.
Facebook is the king of kings when it comes to creating unique experiences for their users.
Can a blind person use your website?
Well, Facebook actually optimizes their content for blind people. Check out this quote from their newsroom:
Automatic alternative text, or automatic alt text, is a new development that generates a description of a photo using advancements in object recognition technology. People using screen readers on iOS devices will hear a list of items a photo may contain as they swipe past photos on Facebook.
...and this is what they’re talking about:
It’s this kind of experience that companies will have to take on to become true leaders in their space.
Unfortunately, most companies won’t be able to combine spearhead technology with their marketing and sales.
Instead, companies will have to re-think their sales funnels, how they promote their products or services, and how they can spot business opportunities in its earliest stages.
Because even if companies can’t optimize for the blind or open unmanned stores like Amazon, they can still optimize for the first interaction with humans in every way possible.
Prediction #2 – We will see increased integrations and data platforms
Reporting and communication is necessary for any team to be set up for success.
The activities on your website need to be sent to your CRM and your E-mail marketing service for you to be able to connect and link your leads and prospects to certain key phases in their customer journey.
Your CRM and ESP need to "talk" to your website and know what’s going on with your paid ads, your influencer campaigns, your organic content and everything around it that could contribute to a sale.
If your business could receive reports that track from the first click to the time of when a prospect has signed the contract, you would be in business heaven.
Prediction #3 – Creativity won’t be enough
In the past, a marketer’s job was branding, coming up with campaigns and concepts which improved awareness and brand recognition to eventually, and hopefully, increase sales.
The best became legends, but there’s a reason only a few of them are still remembered to this day.
Creativity and hunches are not reliable ways of increasing sales. Tactics that work in the USA probably won’t work as well in Denmark, and what has been successful in Europe won’t necessarily resonate as well in China or Africa.
If you’re halfway through a big product launch, there’s too much equity at stake if things start to get out of hand.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Creatives will always be needed wherever there is marketing, but they will have to broaden their skills to be able to put an ROI-number to their campaigns.
They won’t need to become data scientists, but it’s becoming increasingly more important to have a basic understanding of statistics and how to break down the cost of each lead (and even more, how to further reduce it).
This means that you have to go from being “creative” to analytical.
Prediction #4 – A.I. will play a key role
As AI is increasingly used in marketing, the future of the process is also moving towards providing the most human-like interactions and services.
Focusing on providing tools that enable two-way conversations instead of excessive email blasts and drip campaigns, customized responses and comprehensive organization of each step of the process (such as sourcing leads, qualifying, and nurturing) will change the way marketing is automated in the near future.
This two-way communication allows companies to interact and engage with customers on their own terms, aligning their marketing processes with their operations.
If you're looking to use marketing automation to nurture your leads with relevant, targeted messages that get results, you can download my eBook for free.