Marketing automation is a tool that more businesses are seeing the potential in every day. Hubspot reported that businesses using marketing automation to nurture leads received a 451% increase in qualified leads so it's not hard to see why many businesses owners are taking advantage of this system. Marketing automation is always evolving and new software, systems and features are being developed every day. Because of this new automation trends appear all the time and some popular methods are replaced by improved tactics.
Let's talk about what marketing automation actually means...
What Is Automation?
Marketing automation is the process of taking the steps necessary to properly nurture leads and automating them in order to reduce workload, improve time management, and increase the efficiency of the process. Platforms such as Hubspot and Infusionsoft allow businesses to automate anything from social posts to personalised Emails to monitoring when leads visit their website. They automatically store information on leads in a database, let you know the moment a lead visits your website and can score leads based on predefined rules that YOU set.
The purpose of automation is to allow your marketing and sales team to handle hundreds of potential leads and nurture them all personally without getting overwhelmed by the number. By doing this you can create the best leads that become returning customers. Automation raises the quality of the leads by allowing you to treat each one with a personalised touch, while not having to limit the number.
Current Trends Going Into 2018
In order to properly look at the potential trends of 2018 we should first look at the current trends in 2017:
Digital Channels Are Becoming More Effective & More Important
For businesses, 2017 has become the year of generating more leads and improving lead generation. And for many of those businesses (40% according to Ascend2) digital channels are forming to be a barrier to that success. A company’s website and social media are the most successful channels but also the hardest to properly execute with professional help. Of those that don't use external specialists, only half of them have a documented strategy and less than a quarter use the available tools to improve their chances (tools like marketing automation).
Marketing Automation Is Becoming Increasingly Popular
The keyword 'Marketing Automation' currently receives 10,000 searches in the UK alone and the searches for all the related keywords is 1,000,000 a month (again, in the UK alone). These numbers were half of this only 6 years ago so it's clear to see that many, many business owners understand the importance and potential of marketing automation, and many more are beginning to realise this every day.
Businesses Without Digital Marketing Knowledge Are Beginning To Fail
It's not a secret that some business owners have a 'questionable' knowledge of digital marketing and many still doubt its effectiveness despite the clear evidence. But what people don't realise is quite how far the lack of understanding goes. Weebly and Web.com both produced similar reports revealing that a staggering 45% of small business owners and online entrepreneurs don't even know what SEO means.
In a time when the world is becoming more digital than ever before it's extremely important to know how to be successful only. A report by the Independent revealed that in 2015 only 10% of Christmas shoppers got all their presents from stores. The other 90% did either some or all of it online.
Now that we know what marketing automation is and what the current trends are, let's take a look at some likely trends in 2018:
1. Marketing automation will continue to grow. Thanks to the success that automation has brought to the businesses that use it, automation is likely to be adopted by more and more businesses as they begin to understand its benefits and learn how to compete.
2. Businesses without adequate digital knowledge will continue to fall behind. New technology and easy digital access have ensured that the world will only get more digitally focused. Those businesses that refuse to learn or acknowledge it will soon be unable to play catch up any longer as more and more aspects of our lives become digitally enhanced.
3. Automation will become smarter. Automation programs are always worked on and improved. It is very likely that these programs will soon be able to filter clients in a number of ways, allow personal interactions seamlessly and do generally make your life as easy as possible.
4. Marketing to the mass yet keeping it personal. Mass marketing may be dead but mass personalisation is the new and improved equivalent. With the development of artificial intelligence algorithms, we can now collect loads of data from a leads social networks, online purchases, app downloads and through that market to the masses in a personalised way.
5. Marketing across different devices. Google accounts have made it possible to track a user across their multiple devices, allowing automation systems to track and understand their buying habits and the difference depending on the device. Advanced automation will allow your marketing automation to adapt, depending on what device they're using.
Getting your marketing systems automated is important as the sooner you get it done, the longer you have a step up on your competitors. You can't afford to be the last in your field to automate as it would result in your business falling behind and you'd never catch up.