The rise of marketing automation doesn’t pit marketer against machine. Marketing automation trends hold the promise of giving marketers the power to craft relevant customer experiences.

You might be using automation for your email marketing campaigns, or for lead scoring, but you may be missing the opportunity to tailor timely and personalized campaigns to your customers.

Marketing automation doesn’t only improve productivity, it lets you connect with clients at the right time, with the right message, and on the right channel.

So, let’s delve into the business benefits of the latest marketing automation trends.

Beyond the hype: Data-driven insights

Simplify your data to best suit your customer engagement strategyData is in danger of becoming one of those overused buzzwords, according to a report from Result Clicks. This may also be why getting to grips with all the data is the leading barrier to marketing automation, as cited by marketers in an Ascend2 survey, and it’s easy to see why.

The average number of data sources for marketers has increased by 20% over the past two years, and the medium number increased from 12 last year to 15 in 2019, according to Salesforce.

Successful marketers can grab tangible insights from the swirl of data, and it’s not impossible: 47% of marketers told Salesforce that they have a unified view of their data. And it pays off.

High-performing marketers are 7 times more likely to be satisfied with how they use the data to create more relevant experiences than under-performers are.

Segmentation drives marketing success

Like data, segmentation sits at the foundation of a solid small business marketing strategy, and it’s a marketing automation trend that will help craft relevant experiences. When you segment your database, you group customers according to different characteristics.

Mailchimp found that segmented email marketing campaigns had 14.31% higher open rates, and 100.95% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

The first thing to do when you get started with segmentation is to develop buyer personas - fictional representations of your ideal customers. Your buyer personas will detail your customer’s desires, needs and motivations and how they engage with your brand.

If you’re new to buyer personas, check out HubSpot’s buyer persona guide, where you can download free buyer persona templates. With segmentation, you can apply a key business concept, the Pareto principle.

Marketo explains how the two connect:

“The Pareto Principle, when applied to business, states that 80% of your sales will come from only 20% of your customers … An organized marketing automation system can help you learn who your best customers are. Having segmented lists helps you get the right message to the right people — saving you time and effort.”

Actions you can monitor to understand your customers:

  • Email opens
  • Conversions
  • Frequency of engagement

Most digital marketers already use segmentation for email marketing, but you reap the benefits when you apply it holistically to personalized campaigns.

Creating a personalized customer experience

Bulk SMS marketing and tech improve customer servicePersonalization and segmentation are not one and the same.

Jason Grunberg writes in Sailthru:

“Segmentation is grouping customers together according to identifiable characteristics. Often, these are demographic characteristics such as age, geography, or gender.

“Personalization is the optimizing of experiences and messages to individuals themselves–not the group they belong to.”

In 2018, 28% of marketers said that they were most focused on personalizing customer experience, according to Widen’s Connectivity Report, and over 80% of customers want brands to know and understand them better.

Marketers who get it right will leave the competition behind: 86% of marketers credit personalization with a boost in lead generation, and 84% say personalization improves customer acquisition, reports Salesforce.

When you combine personalization with omni-channel marketing, you’re truly harnessing the power of marketing automation.

The future of online marketing automation is here: Welcome to omni-channel marketing

Create an omnichannel shopping experience for your customersImagine this scenario:

You arrive at a retailer and try on a few items. You’re not sure about the outfit but a “memory mirror” lets you record a 360-degree video of yourself, which you can save in the retailer’s mobile app and review later.

That evening you’re surfing the web for a pair of shoes to go with that outfit. You see an image online and upload it to the retailer’s mobile app. It’s run against image recognition software, and if they have something similar you can purchase it online immediately.

This is a glance at Neiman Marcus’s award-winning omni-channel campaign, and they’re part of a growing number of businesses that realize they need to combine the physical and online spaces. More than 80% of businesses see the business value in omni-channel, reports Brightpearl.

They’re giving customers what they want. In retail, companies with omni-channel engagement strategies retained 89% of their customers, compared to 33% customer retention for companies with weak omni-channel engagement.

Chatbots: A firm customer favorite

The advantages of artificial intelligence and human collaborationAutomated chat solutions are industry veterans. Chatbots give small businesses the power of artificial intelligence to quickly assess customer needs.

Additionally, customers love the convenience they provide, and according to a study from SurveyMonkey Audience, conducted by Drift, Salesforce and myclever:

  • 64% of respondents said 24-hour service is an important chatbot benefit
  • Getting an instant response ranked as the second most popular benefit
  • Respondents also liked getting answers to simple questions and easy communications as wins for team chatbot

Clickatell Touch is an affordable and easy way to integrate chatbots into your customer relationship strategy within minutes. Customers can reach you via any instant messaging or social media app, and what’s best is there’s no coding needed.

The world of marketing is always changing. (Think about this: Alexa can already read emails, so you’ll have to test your email marketing campaigns out on a voice assistant). Marketing automation gives small businesses access to unique insights to create rich campaigns that will delight customers. If you’re ready to get ahead of the competition, head over to Clickatell to learn more about the advantages of using artificial intelligence in your marketing strategy.

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