Four hot trends in marketing automation to know for 2017

Recognising the latest available tools in marketing automation will enable marketers to develop strategies that will drive ROI. Nick Dennis runs through current systems on offer, and how to utilise them.

Nick DennisMarketing automation can positively change the ways that marketers communicate with their prospects and customers. Whether it’s a small change or a big change depends on the degree to which marketers are keeping up with the latest technology trends.

According to SiriusDecisions, some 85% of B2B marketers using marketing automation platforms currently feel that they are not harnessing their full potential.

Understanding and adopting the latest trends in marketing automation will enable marketers to develop marketing strategies that coupled with the right marketing tools will drive more leads and more sales for their company, along with improving their business ROI.

Here’s some of the latest trends, and how to implement them for the best results.

1. Dynamic campaign management

Modern marketing is organised around campaigns and marketing automation provides dynamic campaign management. Marketing automation can manage all campaigns, from welcome campaigns and events, to on-boarding campaigns. As marketers combine creativity and science, they can build out complex logic to handle multiple variations of results.

This enables them to design campaigns that have the ability to adapt and respond to real customer activities not a limited and prescribed customer journey.

Marketing technology should support marketers in their job which the latest marketing automation tools can do. It supports faster and easier marketing, enabling campaigns to be updated and changed on the fly. Campaigns can simply be paused, a segment updated, a decision step added or changed, a new email, landing page or other content inserted or a new action trigged.

Restart with a click once all the changes are completed and all the changes are live.

 

2. Integrated content marketing

Marketing automation platforms make it easy to set actions as triggers and to ensure prospects and customers get the right information at the right time.

Though most marketers know the importance of personalised messaging, many are unable to execute on this goal because they don’t have the resources to create the volume of quality content necessary.

Moreover, a total of 54% of B2B marketers are struggling to produce engaging content and 50% struggle to produce content consistently, according to the ‘B2B Content Marketing Report’ by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. A lack of quality content will result in lost opportunities.

One of the most important keys to marketing automation success is an effective content marketing strategy. Nobody responds to the wrong content.

Content has to be created according to personas and distributed in ways that track those personas. Without true integration with content marketing tools, marketers will find sending the right message difficult. The right content automatically aligns with persona-based segments used in campaigns.

 

3. Account based marketing (ABM)

ABM is the new way that marketers are thinking about how they communicate with their most important accounts. ABM lets marketers better target, engage and convert opportunities by effectively linking activities and data across a single account. ITSMA (Information Technology Services Association) reported that 84% of B2B marketers say that ABM delivers a higher ROI than any other approach.

ABM is a big change in marketing automation. The organising structure changes from the individual profile to the account level. Contacts are mapped to parent accounts which allows marketers to run specific campaigns targeting those parent accounts. In fact, marketers can target the entire buyer committee from their most important accounts and deliver a consistent experience across the organisation.

One of the most important aspect of marketing automation, the prospect lead score, also changes with ABM. There is now an account score, which shows the level of engagement at the account level, rather than just among individuals.

 

4. Open platform

Marketing technology tools need to work together, and marketing automation is no different. Many of the more robust tools connect with systems already in place and myriad platforms promote an ecosystem of partners. Those marketing platforms provide access to additional tools in their own marketing app store modelled after Apple and its app store.

All ecosystems, however, are not created equal. In fact, 56% of marketers rate non-integrated tech platforms as a leading obstacle to integrating marketing activities. Some vendors just provide a list of partners, but the best ones provide pre-built integrations. That means marketers can get up and running, adding functionality without extensive IT support.

Marketing automation has never been more important and the impact it can have on the way marketers communicate with prospects and customers is significant. Implementing the right marketing strategy coupled with the right marketing tools will drive more leads and more sales for an organisation, along with improving its ROI.

 

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Nick Dennis is ANZ director of Oracle Marketing Cloud.

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