2020 will be all about creating unique, engaging experiences that add value to the evolved, super-connected, always-online consumer, and Marketing Automation will act as a catalyst in making it all happen.
So, without further ado, here are the top trends that will influence and dominate the Marketing Automation industry this year.
1) Rise of Marketing Automation
The stats discussed above clearly emphasize on the growth of Marketing Automation in 2020. And it could be down to a very simple reason – an increasing number of marketers are beginning to realize the value and potential of Marketing Automation, which is apparently increasing their investment in MarTech.
Based on predictive analysis of data, Marketers are expected to spend as much as 32 billion US$ in 2019 on Marketing Automation software. Here are some stats in that regard which should might make your eyes pop-out.
The number of Marketing Automation vendors grew 27% in 2018, a clear indicator of the burgeoning market demand.
The report also stated that 75% of marketing professionals are already using at least one type of Marketing Automation tool in their strategy. Other businesses can try to emulate tactics deployed by market leaders to achieve similar levels of success.
Marketing Automation has come to be recognized as an essential tool for improving bottom-line growth, with over 70% of Indian marketers using it primarily for improving their lead conversion rate.
2) Power of Personalized Content
The need for personalized content is not surprising at all today. But in all the communications you receive from brands, you’d still find lack of personalization in most of them. And when you look at the numbers in support of it (here’re some from Instapage), you’d be hard pressed to understand why?
In 2019, context will increasingly be the driving force behind business growth. Consumers are demanding relevant experiences from the brands they interact with. They expect brands to know their likes and preferences, and come up with intelligent product recommendations that are worth their while.
By combining social listening, user attributes, on-site behavioral attributes and past purchase data, marketers have a fantastic opportunity to formulate a highly accurate customer profile.
Personalized content will be the key ingredient in a brand’s retention marketing efforts. It can help brands rack up their customer loyalty index, ensuring that business doesn’t get lost to competition.
3) Smarter Marketing Automation: Machine Learning + AI Assisted Platforms
Predictive Personalization will be the pot of gold at the end of the Marketing Automation rainbow in 2019. Netflix and Starbucks are already up and running with recommendation engines that use AI + Machine Learning to create hyper-personalized experiences for customers. Their growth is proof enough that predictive personalization is the way ahead.
In 2019, marketers will start to use machine learning in content creation. Machine Learning and data will work together to boost engagement efficiency.
Once a user clicks an ad, the underlying user, and behavioral data will be consumed by Machine Learning systems and used in future campaigns and touch-points as the user progresses in their life-cycle.
Similarly, AI-assisted platforms will proliferate and technologies like Natural Language Processing & Deep Learning will be leveraged to automate the study of user behavior, online activity, understanding speech and language patterns to create hyper-personalized user personas.
4) Continuous Wave of Chatbots
In the coming years, Chatbots will be playing a crucial role in customer service and customer engagement. Chatbots will become smarter and will be capable of behavioral recommendations in the future along with deep integration with third-party software.
Over 54% of respondents in this study preferred engaging with a brand via a chatbot, and not an app. The potential for user engagement is absolutely massive, provided the chatbots are intelligent enough to hold up a meaningful conversation with multiple users.
Messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger have had huge success with Chatbots since opening up integration for brands. According to research, over 60 percent of users who received a chatbot ping on Messenger engaged with the message.
WhatsApp will soon allow brands to integrate chatbots with their API, opening up a whole new avenue for brand-user engagement. With 1.3 billion active MAU’s, this is a tremendous opportunity for businesses big and small.
With 2 billion messaging app users expected in 2019, the market potential for chatbots is huge. It is too big a number for marketers to ignore, and chatbots are a great tool for tapping into it.
From Oracle’s survey of 800 top decision makers around the world, over 80% are already using, or are planning to start using chatbots for their business by 2019. Chatbots are largely coming out as a plausible engagement solution for marketers.
5) Automated Social Media Marketing
Time spent on social media has increased from 135 minutes in 2017 to 143 minutes in 2019. Brands are eyeing an even bigger sizeable piece of your social screen time in 2019. The smart automation of social media marketing will be on the agenda, as brands try to reach out to the right audiences with their messaging at the right time in a user’s lives to maintain high contextual relevance.
Organic visibility will continue to fall on Facebook. To counter this, brands try to improve their ROI by increasing their social media marketing budget. Social media ad targeting will become highly targeted by mirroring Google’s Adwords platform.
The generation Z population is growing, and so is their purchasing power. With time, they will rival millennials’ spending potential. Brands need to prepare a targeted social strategy specifically for them because they spend the maximum time online.
2019 witnessed a 20% increase in social media budget of brands, which will increase even further in 2019.
Video content will dominate social media. Social video advertising increased 130%, which will urge several brands to look towards video as an effective social engagement tool.
The Stories feature will be a big bet for advertisers. With linking feature now available, brands will be using it heavily to drive conversions.
6) Lifecycle Marketing Using Predictive CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
According to Forbes, brands that are able to provide the most pleasant and engaging experience throughout a customer’s lifetime will have higher conversion and retention statistics. If the customer experience isn’t up to the mark at any particular stage, users will refrain from making repeat purchases.
Brands will look to migrate from a static to a more dynamic, behavioral approach in creating customer segments to accommodate a user’s changing needs and preferences in real-time.
More and more brands will try to study and assess their user’s online behavior and understand how they are transacting, operating online and their motives behind search and purchase.
Predictive CLV is going to be the way ahead, as brands will seek to optimize their advertising spends according to the expected revenue from their customers in real-time.
With advanced segmentation, brands will be able to identify high, medium and low CLV users and create highly personalized marketing campaigns with a justifiable marketing cost that doesn’t exceed the perceived value of each user subset.
Marketing Automation Softwares will let brands create highly accurate user profiles easily by analyzing user attributes, behavioral and past purchase history and create an accurate CLV assessment.
7) User Retention is going to be Critical For Business Growth
Maybe 2020 will be the year, we will all witness a deeper and increased emphasis on retention that acquisition. The reason being, in 2020, customer experience will evolve to become a cross-function of marketing and dictate future campaigns based on user engagement and response.
Brands will push hard to understand the journey of anonymous users who haven’t transacted on their site. Tracking their journey from becoming an unknown to known user will deliver real value in terms of growth. According to Bain & Company’s report, a 5% increase in customer retention can positively affect profitability by over 75%.
Acquiring customers remains 5X more expensive than retaining existing ones, and the CLV of old customers compared to newly acquired customers is a lot higher. This is why most businesses will have to be laser-focused on retention in 2020 to max out their bottom line.
Forrester says that Brands that offer better customer experience will have 5 times higher revenue growth than other brands. This will be the next big battleground as brands scramble to woo their users with a highly personalized experience to secure their commitment and increase their loyalty count.
Happy users will act as brand evangelists to their immediate circle of friends and family. Consumers today trust reviews and recommendations from their peers a LOT more than advertisements. This will be reason enough for brands to keep their customers happy and retain them.
8) Mobile 1st Approach
Mobile marketing will be a major growth driving factor for businesses as it fast becomes the user’s primary device for communication with the online world. Marketers will aim to create an elaborate mobile engagement strategy for brands, leveraging tools like push and web notifications, SMS, mobile wallet and in-app notifications effectively. Marketing Automation will be the tool that weaves an elaborate web around these campaigns and ensures that they work cohesively at scale.
Mobile ad spends overtook desktop in 2018 for the first time, and this will continue in the new year with spends expected to increase by 8.5 %. Expect a lot more mobile-based ads and campaigns in the coming year.
Google’s mobile-first index released in 2020 will force the hand of many brands to optimize their website for mobile. Mobile will become the go-to channel for marketers in 2020 for engagement and retention.
Brands will definitely be looking to focus on creating mobile-specific content and exclusive mobile engagement strategies to capitalize on the medium’s popularity.
With the growth spurt in mobile usage, brands will be scurrying to collect and analyze the data of their mobile users and how they engage with their brand. This behavioral and transactional data will be crucial for understanding the user’s intent and buying behavior, which will lead the way for personalized campaigns in the future.