Predicting what the year ahead looks like is a tricky business, especially when evaluating marketing automation, a technology and an industry experiencing rapid evolvement. This article takes a look at the evolving marketing automation landscape, the factors influencing adoption and calls attention to the new ways in which marketers should be leveraging the technology.

1. Marketing automation will not just be categorised as a lead to revenue platform and instead leveraged throughout the customer lifecycle; for communication programs beyond acquisition and through retention and expansion.

The use of marketing automation has just scratched the surface. Today, marketers are primarily using the technology to acquire new leads and convert those leads through scoring and nurturing programs. Marketing automation will become the central conduit for monitoring, measuring and engaging with customers across the entire lifecycle. With marketing automation, marketers can ingest customer data at all stages, and manage and trigger communications based on the stage in the customer lifecycle or customer behavior. Companies need to rethink their overall use of marketing automation and increase the usage beyond acquisition of new customers, through retention and expansion of the current customer-base.

2. Marketing automation will be the front-end technology for customer relationship management.

Marketing is currently the first touch point for customers and it will also continue throughout the relationship. A marketer’s role in the customer experience will continue to be more pervasive as the use of marketing automation expands to other initiatives. The customer lifecycle needs a leader; though managing the relationship will always require multiple internal functions, marketing can play a unique role in enabling the communication and facilitating the engagement that goes into shaping brand perception. Marketers are in an ideal position to lead customer relationship management as long as the organisation can align CRM and Marketing Automation technologies and attribute measurable objectives. Marketing will be the one department that can measure qualitative and quantitative efforts across the entire customer lifecycle.

3. Marketers will require their marketing automation platforms to be open systems that empower them to customise their solution with other third-party cloud services to enhance its overall use.

Doing so will allow marketers to differentiate their digital marketing experiences and be able to augment campaigns using data from other systems such as ERP, HR, CRM and others. Think of marketing automation as the conductor and the apps as the orchestra. As the role of the marketer expands and begins to support customer engagement at every stage of the customer lifecycle: awareness. acquisition, retention and expansion, the need to pull in data from third party systems will become even more of a necessity. Marketing automation providers will want to foster a partner ecosystem to ensure that they can offer this level of integration that empowers users with the right data to execute marketing programs most effectively.

 

By Atri Chatterjee, CMO of Act-On


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