The article is based on several years of observations on the development of marketing automation tools.
Currently, on the market, we can distinguish many solutions differing in capabilities and technological sophistication. We have simple solutions focusing on a single service (e.g. push notifications, email marketing, SMS advertising) and more complex tools using several different communication channels, connecting the online and offline world, with machine learning and AI support.
What can be the evolution of the above-mentioned tools? What awaits us in the future? One solution that combines all marketing services or maybe several, dozen tools but working together and automatically?
Undoubtedly, one of the current trends is increasing automation in marketing activities. More and more tools offer either ready-to-deploy campaign scenarios (e.g. abandoned shopping cart, product reminder) or simply they give you the option to create a campaign decision tree with multiple conditions and options. This trend will probably continue in the next years.
Examples. When there is no interaction with email A, send message B after X time. If there’s no response, end the campaign for those users and focus on other actions. If the user clicks message B, mark it as a message with interaction and communicate other message. You can also test message A in two variants (e.g. with more graphic or text) and select the best one.
The development of automation will be more and more supported by machine learning and artificial intelligence. The AI will decide who, after what time, which variant of the message to distribute.
Multichannel is nothing more than distributing marketing and sales messages through various communication channels – e.g. pop-up, widget (frame) product, email, push, SMS, chatbot. We can observe new channels of communication and more sophisticated versions of current ones.
The development of multichannel is connected with omnichannel, where we online and offline word.
There are several definitions of omnichannel, I will try to explain my understanding.
Omnichannel refers to a multi-channel sales. It consists of identifying, recording, measuring user activity in points where it comes into contact with a brand, product or service. It can be an online store, mobile app, smart TV, chatbot, website, etc. This action aims to ensure the continuity of the purchasing process, the quality and intensity of marketing and sales communications (e.g. we can create a dedicated campaign in the online world knowing purchases in physical stores) and to build and maintain loyalty among consumers.
An example of omnichannel. Let’s say there is a mobile application of a particular e-commerce shop and we are browsing products from category A. Brand, knowing our activity in the application, our e-mail address (provided during registration) sends a special offer related to this category of products in a short time. Maybe a better one, maybe not but you got the idea.
Marketing automation solutions will need to include more and more touchpoints from year to year – if they want to maintain a competitive advantage and deliver a better user experience (#customerexperience).
One SaaS to rule them all
I believe that within a few years we will see a consolidation of marketing automation solutions and the development of all-in-one products. A typical marketing automation solution is going to develop more and more additional services (e.g. marketplace, cryptocurrencies with #MA and #AI) to survive in the world of new technologies. From the customer point of view this can be a very beneficial outcome, as there will be one ecosystem to manage all activities. But it won’t be easy to resign from such marketing ecosystem.
What do you think about the future of marketing automation?