Marketing automation as we know it has transformed considerable since its infancy in 1992. Today, it is an incredibly powerful method of reaching audiences from around the world with personalised messages. Furthermore, the introduction of modern social media tools and software have made it easier to maximise digital marketing efforts.
If combining marketing automation and social media has been so successful, what about Artificial Intelligence (AI)? It’s certainly one of the major contributing factors behind the scenes of success. While marketing automation makes it easy to carry out repetitive tasks, AI brought new life to marketing automation software. Simply put, it brought about predictive analysis and advanced personalisation engines making marketing automation ‘more human’.
Why Brands Need AI And Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is growing rapidly and could expand up to 8.55% in 2019 according to a recent press release. They predict an increase of market capitalisation to $5.5 billion. Considering the plethora of benefits, it’s no surprise that more and more companies have adopted some form of marketing automation.
As the industry continues to grow in 2019, expect several trends to appear in how marketing automation can utilise AI for improved audience targeting. AI plays a massive part in marketing automation from increasing audience reach and marketing efficiency to better customer retention.
To Increase Audience Reach
With the help of AI, marketers can engage new customers matching their existing profiles more effectively. AI can segment customers based on their interests, buying habits and behavioural traits among other metrics. Each segment is subsequently labelled based on the personalities that they exhibit, also referred to as buyer personas.
Brands can combine all these metrics to provide their sales teams with vast amounts of data to further analyze and filter potential customers. This results in a much more efficient marketing effort allowing brands to create highly-targeted content for better results. Among others, email marketing, online ad content, social media marketing and SEO. So much so that the smart analysis of customer data would be near impossible without the power of AI.
Better Customer Retention, Increased Loyalty And Value
Most marketers will agree that it’s often harder to keep customers than finding new ones. With marketing automation and AI, brands can enhance their marketing campaigns based on the data they’ve collected to create more personalised experiences. Studying and segmenting your target audience will help you understand what they want and don’t want. As it stands, customer retention forms the basis of every company’s success which means providing continuous value and relevant content is vital.
Remember, a customer’s appreciation and loyalty is not necessarily channel-based but rather how responsive you are to their needs. When focusing on customer experience, brands tend to be more proactive and will solve users’ problems before they even know they need it. Brands must always measure customer satisfaction to ensure that all efforts are contributing to a positive customer experience. AI in marketing automation combined with quality content and exceptional customer service make all the difference.
Increased Efficiency And Business Growth
When implemented correctly, AI can work with marketing automation to translate data into meaningful interactions or important marketing decisions. These could ultimately lead to a positive impact on a brand and a great potential for business growth. While these are no longer new concepts to the marketing world, chatbots, virtual assistants and voice search are vital cogs in increasing efficiency while decreasing overhead costs.
Chatbots are computer programs that can imitate human conversation using natural language processing (NLP). It can use personalised information for each individual customer it interacts with while providing valuable and real-time assistance in a targeted and friendly fashion. Although natural language processing (NLP) and recognition still requires refining, machine learning algorithms are helping develop it to a point where we may not be able to distinguish between talking to a human or a computer.
Virtual assistants, also known as AI assistants, “is an application program that understands natural language voice commands and completes tasks for the user” (techtarget.com). These ‘user tasks’ refer to activities traditionally performed by a personal assistant or secretary. They include dictation, reading text or email messages, looking for phone numbers, scheduling meetings and sending appointment reminders. Some of the more prominent virtual assistants today include Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft Cortana.
Not only does AI and marketing automation increase efficiency but it also greatly enhances user experience through personalisation and timeliness. While not everyone has experienced talking to or working with chatbots, most consumers of today are familiar and comfortable interacting with chatbots.
Voice and Visual Search
While organic search opportunities continue to prove incredibly lucrative, there is a growing trend in voice and visual searches. More devices now feature smart speakers where 55.5% of people who own such a device use it for voice search and 44.2% use it to make purchases. Forward-thinking brands are putting more emphasis on creating and optimising content for voice searches.
In addition, visual searches are also on the rise as technology continues to improve. Facial recognition is just the beginning as reverse image lookup is another related and emerging technology. These trends are all set for rapid growth in 2019.
What Is Predictive Lead Scoring?
Another important marketing automation trend to keep an eye on is predictive lead scoring. First off, lead scoring is used in marketing automation to analyse leads and assign a score based on several factors. These include demographics, social information, online activity and behavioural data which all help predict whether a lead is qualified or not.
Predictive lead scoring enhances the efficiency of lead generation tremendously and allows brands to create and deliver targeted, personalised content. Gone are the days of tedious efforts to identify, segment and classify leads which can now be done autonomously.
Enhanced Integration Using Marketing Automation And AI
In today’s digitally-savvy world, more people own multiple devices and use them throughout the day and for different reasons. While this tends to blur the lines for brands between different marketing types, customers are none-the-wiser. As a result, the key to success going forward is seamless integration between devices and multiple channels.
AI will become even more important in Omni-marketing as it allows companies to utilise all the customer data regardless of source. It also provides the same level of customisation and service across all platforms that their customers use. AI will continue to develop and integrate seamlessly into the world of marketing automation.
Looking at these trends, what are you looking forward to most? If you like, please share your thoughts in the section below or find us on social media. For more information on how we can help your business succeed with marketing automation, get in touch for a free consultation.