Automation is the latest in the long line of technology buzzwords circulating around the web.
The idea is simple enough – increasingly powerful and affordable computer hardware, combined with advanced, AI-based software algorithms and large data sets have made it possible to automate the performance of a whole range of tasks in the digital realm.
Not surprisingly, digital marketers have latched on to the idea with glee, blissfully unaware of its long-term consequences for their craft. Why hire someone to do your marketing, if AdBot 2000 can do the same job at a fraction of the cost?
Fortunately, we are still not there yet – marketing automation still has a long way to go before digital marketers start losing their jobs to robots.
If you are business owners looking for ways to optimize and streamline your promotional strategy, or a tech-savvy digital marketer looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve, marketing automation is a topic well-worth delving into.
And to give you a peek into what’s been going on lately in the field, we bring you a list of marketing automation trends that will define 2019.
Getting Personal with Customers
If there is one thing you can count on in marketing psychology, it is the fact that people will take any opportunity to show off their narcissism. To put it simply, people love hearing their names mentioned, and they will treat those addressing them personally with greater affection.
No wonder personalization became such a phenomenon in modern marketing. Unfortunately, treating each and every lead as a special snowflake can be hard, and not just because it is patently not true most of the time.
The challenge is rather with the amount of data you have to crunch to provide a personalized experience for everyone. Fortunately, modern marketing automation tools can speed up this process significantly, with custom email headings, curated content, and other forms of personalized promotion.
Finally, marketers can rest easy and focus on the more creative aspects of their work (whatever those may be).
The March of the Chatbots
The robots are finally taking over! Fortunately for us, they seem to be of the benevolent kind. For those just joining us after waking from cryogenic sleep, chatbots are automated conversation systems designed to mimic human speech.
Chatbots are a long-running trend in digital marketing, and each year they are becoming more advanced. The main appeal of using chatbots for marketing is the fact that they are easy to build, cheap to maintain, require no rest, and are remarkably good at fooling people into thinking they are talking to a real person.
Chatbots have proven themselves to be great at handling repetitive conversation-based tasks, of which there are many in digital marketing. They are often used as customer service reps, e-commerce salesmen, virtual shopping assistant, etc.
And if studies like this one are any indication, some customers even seem to prefer interacting with chatbots rather than living people, which is both depressing and hilarious at the same time.
If you don’t fancy yourself a bot-smith, there are plenty of professional web design companies willing to help you build your robot army for a price.
Predictive Lead Scoring
On the more disturbing side of digital marketing, there is the rise of invasive data-mining practices. Digital marketers now have at their fingertips more data than your local census office, bringing us one step closer to some kind of bizarre marketing dystopia, where McDonald’s spies on you while you eat, in order to algorithmically adjust the seasoning for your next burger.
Phrases such as ‘predictive lead scoring’ fit this vision of society like a glove. The idea here is that you can determine in advance which leads are likely to convert down the line, based on your existing customers.
Each lead gets a score, based on which they then get assigned to the appropriate conversion funnel. And the best (worst) part about this is that the whole process can be fully automatized.
On the bright side of things, predictive lead scoring is likely to reduce the volume of generic marketing content being sent your way.
Marketing On All Channels
Despite its high-tech sounding name, marketing automation used to be confined to something fairly straightforward and basic, namely automated email marketing. After all, sending out automated emails is not exactly some breakthrough technology.
Today, marketing automation proponents can proudly claim that their pet discipline now utilizes other marketing channels as well. Someone finally realized that consumers use other communication channels besides emails, such as social media platforms, instant messaging applications, and text messaging services.
And since all of these channels are text-based at their core, there is no reason why the principles of automated email marketing couldn’t be applied to them as well. This ‘omni-channel’ approach to digital marketing has been made possible thanks to the advancements in the fields of AI and machine learning.
So instead of having an AI stalk you over email to sell you things, you can now enjoy getting pestered by targeted ads while texting with your friends and family on social media.
Despite some of our grievances, we believe that marketing automation is ultimately a good thing for everyone involved.
If these trends are of any indication, the boring, repetitive tasks will soon be taken over by intelligent automation systems, which mean we will have one less thing to think about as a society, giving us more time to deal with more pressing concerns such as the impending environmental catastrophe.