Most companies that are good at internet marketing today use marketing automation; i.e. software robots that measure how leads and customers behave online and customize the marketing activities against each person individually.
The right person should get the right message, at the right time, depending on what is likely to interest this person right now. It can also be seen as marketing automation leads potential customers to purchase throughout the customer journey.
Marketing automation turns a passive website into active marketing machinery. It is incredibly scalable and integrates sales and marketing in a seamless concept.
So what are the trends for 2019?
- Consolidation of the “marketing technology” industry. There are about 7000 different software products on the “Martech” market. I think we will see a consolidation of the industry, where large players acquire smaller companies or merge. A clear example of this is Adobe who bought Marketo this fall. HubSpot has also bought several smaller companies, for example, the chatbot development platform Motion.ai.
- Systems integration. I have long been a missionary that “marketing integration” can be a more important concept than “marketing automation”. Giving a marketing automation system access to more data from other IT systems makes it even more accurate with even better personalization. Consider integration with e-commerce systems, webinar- and video marketing platforms, online booking calendars, logistics systems, finance systems, etc.
- Artificial intelligence and related technologies such as predictive analysis and machine learning. We have seen predictive lead scoring and automatic data enrichment in CRM systems for a while, but now we will get adaptive customer journeys where AI algorithms determine who gets what, and when. Marketing will be data-driven at a whole new level.
- Chatbots everywhere. Even small companies will have their own chatbots that are integrated into chat windows on the website, or in messaging platforms such as Facebook Messanger, Slack, and Apple iMessage.
- Hyper-personalization. With new data-driven AI platforms, we will see personalized content at a whole new level. Think personalized banner ads, content recommendations, product recommendations, personalized search results, and curated content. For e-mail, personalized send time, cadence and content apply.
- Multichannel. Marketing automation systems will be better at measuring and controlling marketing activities on many channels. When it was previously mostly about measuring how visitors behave on the website and sending email, this is now broadened to social media, messaging platforms, push notifications, website messages, etc.
- IoT products run marketing. With Internet-connected machines and devices (Internet-of-Things, IoT) we get a new stream of data on how machines work and are used. AI analysis of this data will harvest business insights that can start marketing activities automatically to the machine’s owner or operator. Coffee machines will, for example, initiate marketing outreach promoting new coffee beans when the machine’s containers begin to run out – or the device itself orders fresh coffee beans when needed.
- The GDPR panic is starting to drop, and many companies will consider other legal bases for marketing communications than consent. For example, “legitimate interest” may be an option for some companies.
There are more trends in marketing automation in the coming year, but I see these as most exciting.