The Next Generation Marketing Automation: Robots with Humans

Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks. Over the last decade, marketing automation technology has completely transformed how companies communicate with customers and prospects, led by various large companies. Marketers can now reach their customers with email, mobile, social, and other digital platforms. This has changed the way of marketing. Instead of going after customers who aren’t ready to buy, marketing automation tools enable marketers to engage them more effectively. As is currently advertised, marketing automation platforms make personalized engagement possible on a large scale on multiple channels by automating customer communication. These technology platforms free up marketers time, increase efficiency, and improve performance. Fast-growing marketing automation still has only 3% penetration in non-tech companies.

Marketing automation has found its way into the average marketers life. Whether it is in the form of sales platforms or e-mail marketing tools, marketing automation has become an integral part of the business. A study by Aberdeen group revealed that 88% of companies that performed better than others in the research were the ones that employed closed loop marketing. However, 99% of the marketing automation platforms today fall short of what they usually promise. While they help with large-scale campaign execution, much of the processes are not truly automated, but instead are scheduled by the companies and trigger-based. A customer receiving a series of emails based on their actions is considered automated, but marketers must still go through legwork of setting up, including segmenting the customers, developing campaigns based on those segments, and setting up triggers for each interaction.

But now, you can say goodbye to Trigger-Based Automation. The truth is, current marketing automation platforms are better equipped to deal with high volumes of triggered emails, not true one-to-one personalization driven by predictive analysis or other data-backed insights. They were designed to handle the massive amounts of emails that needed to be sent, along with other channel management, to make inbound marketing a possibility on a large scale. This was a response to the changing needs of companies and marketers at the time, as they dealt with an increasingly active customer base. It was a brilliant advancement in marketing technology but now, again, the needs have shifted. Multi-channel touch-points, action-based email marketing, nurturing customer lifecycles- these are all considered standard features. Today’s customers want more. They want real-time recommendations and the ability to jump from device to device. They want relevant content and offers personalized to their interests and what they want to buy. Rather than being impressed by a series of triggered emails, they wanmarketing communication to be more relevant to them.

This is where the future of Automation is- Robots, with Humans. The next phase of automation is to move away from management tools into active marketing tools. It will have the ability to integrate data-driven insights in real time to create dynamic campaigns as each customer interacts with the brand. In essence, the marketing automation tool will be able to handle all the logistics for life-cycle management, so that the marketer doesn’t have to. One common concern is the idea that technology will take over jobs, rendering them obsolete. It’s not an uncalled-for response. A recent Oxford University study states that 47% of total U.S. employment is at risk of computerization (job automation by means of computer-controlled equipment). McKinsey Global Institute estimated that sophisticated algorithms could potentially negate the need for 140 million jobs worldwide. The study results were actually right. Many factories are now fully automated. For an example, robots are being used in Amazon warehouses to prepare items for shipment according to orders, but in most instances, robots are used for the heavy lifting and tedious manual tasks. Human supervision, input, and quality checks are all still vital for success. When the two work in tandem, great things happen.

In this way, marketers are not being replaced; they are being empowered. Marketing is both science and art. Algorithms can help marketers create more-informed and sound campaign strategies, and technology can help them scale their work. Ultimately, the success of the strategies depends on the marketer and their ability to inspire and connect through their creative, messaging, and the art of marketing.

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