According to a recent report from Research and Markets, the global marketing automation industry is set to grow by a sizable 9% over the next five years. This is no small leap, and it’s expected to take the market to a value of $6.929 million. The expansion is being driven, at least in part, by an increasing demand for automated customer retention processes.
Businesses are also increasing their focus on personalized marketing via emails, social media, and customer scoring features. These trends are shaping and motivating the development of marketing automation software. It’s believed that a jump in SaaS usage and cloud computing, particularly among SMBs, is also having a big impact.
It’s important to understand that marketing automation plays a significant role in the selection and operation of CRM solutions. These tools help businesses structure, activate, and monitor campaigns in a productive and optimized manner. They make it easier to control workflows, protect collateral, monitor prospect behaviors, and evaluate leads before they’re moved through to the sales team.
Not only does marketing automation provide a way to assess leads accurately, but the right software also leads to a greater volume of leads. These systems can also improve the coordination within sales teams, while increasing the ability to track the progress of individual cases. With the range and size of marketing automation solutions now on the rise, it’s easier than ever for businesses to measure the performance of key selling initiatives.
However, there are still big challenges to overcome. Just because the number of options is increasing, it doesn’t mean enterprises are getting maximum value. In fact, around 70% of marketers believe they could be using automation tools in a more efficient or profitable manner. According to a report from BlueWolf, a meager 7% reported that they see a solid, measurable return on investment from their software.
Finding a Way to Build Better Software
One of the biggest weaknesses for marketing automation is the fact that it originates from intensive email blasting. This is a complex system, with multiple layers. As the number of landing pages, forms, triggers, and web data activities grows, these layers become weighed down and start to decline in performance. It inevitably leads to an excess of hard-coded commands and fragile workflows.
For instance, you might construct a workflow that sends an automated email if the customer clicks this link once, this other link twice, and lands on a specific page. This is commonplace, but such commands are based on an aspirational understanding of what makes a valuable lead, as opposed to what the CRM data is actually saying. The hard-coding means that even a small change to the website design can lead to a series of disjointed, faulty workflows.
Fortunately, marketing automation is changing. Best-in-class vendors are committed to providing scalable, responsive workflow and database functions. The most contemporary solutions are leaner and optimized for capturing and monitoring data on leads. Your marketing automation software vendor should offer fast, intuitive APIs so you can use them to build custom experiences.
The Future of Marketing Automation
Instead of trying to cram a full range of functions into one bulky, inefficient platform, future software solutions will be smarter and leaner. They’ll have the ability to “plug and play” compact, specialized applications so that businesses can build custom packages. With an abundance of data at their disposal, these tools will produce reliable recommendations across a variety of key customer interactions.
Predictive intelligence is already within reach for most enterprises. Yet together, these smart platforms and specialized applications will further increase availability and practical, demonstrable value. They will be responsive and capable of changing to meet evolving requirements. Therefore, there is likely to be less concern about reconfiguration and performance optimization. The best systems memorize and learn the right responses to customer touchpoints.
Complete “Full Circle” Visibility
Crucially, the future of marketing automation will be defined by a reconciliation of sales and marketing processes. Rather than limiting teams to isolated silos, the software will depoliticize CRM insights, while drawing related functions together. This is a great way to increase visibility across the board and identify optimum responses, particularly in regards to things like when to share content or how to reach customers at various points in the buyer journey.
With the support of sophisticated analytics tools, it’s possible to construct actionable perspectives on what makes a valuable lead. This information can then be directed to the top of the funnel so that it bakes into your marketing initiatives, eventually impacting sales as well. In other words, skilled prediction can be utilized at every stage of the funnel to help teams make the right choices, at the right times.
How to Be Ready for a New Age of Automation
In the simplest terms, marketing automation will eventually move from being rules-based and hardcoded to sensitive and responsive. This is the difference between software that is great at following every command, no questions asked, and a system that actively assesses the value of each order. The latter is infinitely superior, because it leads to software solutions that have the ability to follow orders, unless it knows they’re not useful or valuable.
While it’s true that traditional, rules-based automation feels logical and safe, it represents the past when it comes to questions of progress and development. It’s something that must be replaced if you want to invest in software that grows and learns alongside your company. As the industry begins to enter its newest phase, the only question that matters is this: is your business is ready to embrace it?