Automation is taking the world by storm, sector by sector, one vertical at a time: Special mention to marketing automation for being the new ‘big thing’. With automation, organisations across the world have been able to eliminate repetitive tasks.

Automating monotonous processes frees up human working hours which can be then invested in critical, impactful activities such as planning and decision-making.

Marketing has come to benefit greatly from such technology. Essentially, marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies that have been designed to aid marketing, by automating tasks across multiple channels.

Statistically speaking:

  • Hubspot says 92%*1 marketing agencies are investing more time, resources, and budget into marketing automation integration. It also mentions that email automation campaigns are among the top 3 tactics*1 used by marketers to improve performance.
  • Emailmonday states that an average of 51%*2 companies are already using marketing automation.
  • Adding to it, 58%*2 plan to use it in the near future.

This is only a glimpse of what marketing automation has done to transform the industry, and what it is capable of doing. It is here to stay and set to grow exponentially:

Forrester forecasts, the global marketing automation spend will hit a record $25 billion by 2023.

Marketing automation is fast-growing into a means by which organisations gain and maintain a competitive edge.

Before we delve into exploring the marketing automation trends of 2021, let’s get a quote from those who have the first-hand experience in the field:

“With the emergence of 5G technology and lower latency, creative trends will continue to generate opportunities for more interactive formats (videos, 3D renderings, interactive graphics) and short snippets that are immersive and quick to load.  B2B doesn’t have to be boring – more brands will adopt personalization and playfulness to connect with buyers.”

– Sandi, Group Account Director, Spear Marketing Group

As the pandemic served a severe blow to companies big and small, across the globe, organisations were forced to take to digital marketing. With more enterprises online now in 2021, marketing automation has become a necessity. The challenge, however, lies in keeping up with changing trends and re-inventing one’s tools and methodologies.

2021 is ready to welcome marketing automation and automation software on a larger scale than ever before. Get ready to increase productivity while saving time, generating quality leads, and reducing sales cycles!

Here’s a list of marketing automation trends you must watch out for in 2021:

  •  Personalisation:

Thanks to AI, machine learning, and cutting-edge software, you can now personalise the customer experience at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Everyday tasks such as email marketing, posting on social media, and in some cases, managing ad campaigns can now be automated, making for a more personalized client experience.

Besides these, new developments in marketing automation allow you to deliver hyper-personalised messages across channels, without stressing over the impossible idea of doing it manually.

A study has found that 72% of shoppers engage only with personalised marketing, while they reject, block or unsubscribe from blast SMS and emails. All this, despite rising concerns around data privacy scares and scandals.

According to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2020 report, 66% of consumers spoke about increasing worries regarding the commercial use of personal data and online identity for personalisation.

So, how do you deal with this, as a marketer? Here’s what Marc Carrel-Billiard, Senior Managing Director at Accenture, says, the key to dealing with this challenge lies in treating all stakeholders as partners. When you co-create a digital experience with them, not just for them, you’re able to assuage worries about privacy and customisation.

  • Humanisation

2021 will see a steep rise in marketing efforts centered on the “personal touch”. Customers are looking for human experiences even in the virtual world. You, as a marketer, need to focus on value-based solutions.

Chatbots, for example, have gained immense popularity and will continue to be a key part of marketing automation, particularly in customer service.

Gartner predicts a 100%*3 increase in chatbot adoption rates in the next two to five years.

Even though clients are aware they’re chatting with a robot, they want to feel connected. The standard of marketing needs to be upped to meet such sophisticated demands. Chatbots must be programmed to be able to hold meaningful conversations with a plethora of users.

  • Automating Social Media Marketing 

Social media is where a vast majority of your client base spends time – ranging between a few minutes to hours a day. The importance of social media has increased dramatically, encouraging brands to invest their marketing efforts in various channels.

Social media automation tools assist you to reach the right audiences. Take, for example, AI-powered social listening that aids competitive analysis, ad targeting, influencer marketing, and so much more. 

  • Integration

Marketing integration has gone from being a useful add-on to a crucial must-have. Integration helps bring together various business facets, namely, sales, marketing, accounting, IT, operations, and customer support, under the purview of one efficient tool.

The convenience of a single dashboard along with tried-and-tested solutions will make SaaS and iPaaS increasingly popular in 2021. Integration heralds the beginning of seamless transitions between departments and channels.

iPaaS services are evolving with time, presenting easy-to-use interfaces that come with an array of benefits for companies and customers.

  • Conversion Tracking

While your online processes are in place, make sure you don’t miss taking note of offline conversion. Brick-and-mortar stores continue to exist with an online presence. In order to maintain seamless communication across channels, you need to blend the two. This is where offline conversion tracking plays a critical role.

Promotional codes, coupons, and sensors are among the many means to translate digital marketing and in-store foot traffic into sales.

Google employs features like geo-targeting to reveal potential customers while using product searches to determine conversion rates. Facebook uses data from customers with location services to display local store advertisements.

Marketing automation tools are capable of giving you combined insights from all your customer touchpoints. This is where the benefits of a single dashboard will kick in – you’ll find all your data grouped neatly, making it easier to read, analyse and boost growth through data-driven campaigns.

Conclusion:

Digital marketing is a dynamic field that keeps you on your toes. It is essential to be up-to-date with an effective strategy and efficient tools. While planning and detailing your marketing automation goals, don’t forget about the human touch.

Learn all there is to know about your customer, understanding their needs and preferences before you hit the road running with marketing automation. Also, remember to take your time investing in marketing automation – do it right once, and you will reap its benefits for a long time to come.

(*1 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics 

*2 https://www.emailmonday.com/marketing-automation-statistics-overview/ 

*3 https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2020/10/04/whats-new-in-gartners-hype-cycle-for-ai-2020/?sh=34ab4711335c )

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