One thing we love to see when a new year starts is where our industry is headed. Digital marketing and marketing automation tools and techniques are always changing, so it's never a one-and-done research process. Instead, we pore through industry blogs and articles to make sure we understand exactly what to expect in the future.
1. Continued Rise of Chatbots
Chatbots started to gain popularity back in 2016 when Facebook introduced bots to their own Messenger platform. Chatbots started out very basic, with businesses being able to automate responses to certain questions, making it so social media marketers had to spend less time responding to messages. They soon realized the potential of these chatbots, and have since added many more capabilities. Tech companies have also created segments within their company for building out bots.
These chatbots now offer in-app shopping (complete with payment processing), sending out information to your audience about breaking industry news and more. Some businesses have even built out fully functioning apps through their Messenger bots. The desire for these is only increasing.
Throughout 2019, we will see even more options for marketing automation within chatbots. It's incredibly easy to set up a button like the ones below to allow users to opt-in to your Messenger bot:
Including easy ways to opt-in to your Messenger bot can help immensely with your marketing automation and lead generation. Learn more about the different ways you can use chatbots to help automate your marketing in 2019. Not only will Facebook Messenger continue to increase its chatbot capabilities, but other apps like WhatsApp, Drift, and more will also allow your business to improve its marketing automation with their bots.
2. Data-Driven Marketing
Data-driven marketing is when a company focuses on their customer data when planning out their marketing campaigns, and as a data management company, it's something for which we are huge advocates. In 2019 and beyond, it's going to be essential to pay close attention to your marketing data to create more accurate customer profiles and marketing automation funnels.
Customer and buyer personas have been around in marketing for ages. Previously, it's been more of a creative thing for marketing teams and agencies to put together. Now it's becoming more analytical.
As a company, you should have access to loads of data about the people who are buying from you or booking your services. You should see demographics, purchasing behaviors, and more based on the information they've provided to you through both opt-in forms and checkout forms or signed contracts.
This data, as well as data from your data management tools, should be used to create a more accurate customer profile or buyer persona. This way you have real-life demographics, behaviors, and interests of people who have actually bought from you, rather than a fantasized version of who you think is buying from you.
Furthermore, data-driven marketing helps to improve the accuracy of your targeting for your digital campaigns. Once you have your customer profile built, you know exactly who you need to be targeting with each one of your ads. This improves your lead generation, your relevancy score, and, in turn, your customer generation and revenue.
The problem is that there had been a decided lack of data-driven marketers, leading many businesses astray in their targeting and digital advertising campaigns. This means many businesses are overspending to market to the wrong audience, rather than using their own data to target to the right audiences.
Quality marketing data within your CRM is also essential to ensure you're sending the right automations out to the right audience. If the wrong data has been input or the wrong triggers are clicked, the wrong marketing emails and sales calls could be made, causing your business to annoy and lose potential customers.
As more and more people are online, sharing their own data publicly, it will be easier to access customer and potential customer data to create accurate marketing profiles. Make sure your company remains on the cutting edge of digital marketing and marketing automation by paying attention to marketing data.
3. Increase in Available Martech
With open source martech projects available across the web and new marketing solutions constantly popping up, it should be no surprise that one of our predictions is an increase in available marketing technology. As the digital marketing industry continues to grow, more data becomes available, more marketing platforms are introduced, and the need for martech also continues to grow.
Martech is absolutely essential for a digital marketing team, and a large percentage of your marketing budget should be used to invest in marketing technology tools and software.
Martech helps with automating and increasing the ease of so many tasks including:
- Email automation funnels/series
- Project management
- Lead generation
- Social content scheduling
- Data management
We anticipate the introduction of even more marketing automation tools to assist with even more tasks this year.
4. Predictive Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is a useful tool for sales teams to use. They're able to mark how likely a lead is to buy or become a customer or client based on where they signed up, how much interest they've previously shown in the company, what part of the buying process they're in, and so on. This is typically manually assigned by the salesperson managing the account and nurturing the lead.
However, there is a tool that can predict the lead score for your sales and marketing teams, so that you can automatically assign leads to salespeople based on how likely the tool says they are to buy. In 2019, we predict that this type of lead scoring will become even more mainstream.
After all, we're all for tools that can automate anything that a sales or marketing person is currently required to do manually. That way, sales and marketing teams can focus more on doing what is going to make money for the company: generating and closing leads.
5. Personalized Content
One great thing about digital marketing is the fact that it has opened the door to one-to-one sales and marketing tactics. If a company takes out an ad on a billboard, they're using one-to-all marketing tactics. Even if they're a location-based business, it isn't likely that every single person is one of their target customers. If a company runs a digital ad based on interest and demographic targeting, they're using one-to-many marketing tactics.
However, social media, the digital marketing industry, and marketing automation tools are making one-to-one marketing even easier and more possible than ever. Sure, one-to-all and one-to-many strategies can work and will likely never go away (and in many cases, they shouldn't), but one-to-one marketing creates such personalization that it becomes one of the most successful forms of marketing.
A one-to-one channel means your marketing team is creating conversations on social media and email channels that are directly aimed at your potential customers. Social media marketing and community management are two great ways to start one-on-one conversations with your audience. They're also incredibly strong avenues for customer service.
Another great way to send out personalized content is to use your customer data and send corresponding info based on what they bought. For example, if a customer bought a platinum ring set, sending out emails about how to clean platinum and keep it in tip-top condition is a great way to show your customers that you remember them and what they bought. It's the perfect tactic to help increase customer loyalty.
In the future, customers are going to want to experience this more and more from companies, so be sure to plan out ways that your company can improve its personalized content output. Luckily, as time goes on, more martech tools are suited to assist with personalized content. It's just one more strategy that relies on the accuracy of customer data.
6. Marketing Still Requires a Human Touch
Just don't ever forget that machines, software, and technology aren't perfect. Although they're programmed to do exactly what they're told, technology still has its glitches. This means that your sales and marketing teams still need to check in on marketing automations, customer data input, and lead scoring to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
While marketing technology continues to improve, and there continue to be more options available thanks to technology and automation software, this doesn't mean your company can set and forget its funnels. Data quality still relies on human interaction with the software to ensure that everything is being put into the proper fields. Automations still require your team to double check that they're being sent on time and to the correct respondents.
If your marketing team never checks in on its automations, and something goes awry, there could be days, weeks, or even months of emails being sent to the wrong people or at the wrong times, causing serious issues in your marketing. Although we predict that the world of marketing automation will continue to grow in 2019 and offer even more great opportunities for lead and customer generation, we don't foresee technology taking the place of human jobs and assistance in the near future.
What marketing automation predictions are you most excited to see? Which do you think will have the most dramatic change on the industry? To learn more about the importance of data in your marketing, check out our Definitive Guide to Marketing Data.