Transformative Marketing Technologies on the Horizon

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A list of the TOP 10 most transformative technologies for marketing in the next 12 months according to 350 industry leaders, influencers, and experts as surveyed by John Koetsier.

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Artificial Intelligence, Deep learning, machine learning: 37.4%

The winner by a LANDSLIDE!

The common belief is that AI will put big data to work those surveyed highlighted possible shifts in targeting, in understanding the customer journey, and in driving optimal ad-spend decisions.

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Big Data and Personalization: 16.8%

Marketers have a deep and earnest longing to communicate intimately with their customers like best friends, a million or two at a time. Using big data to — among other things — personalize communications — is high on the list. A few are making it happen.

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Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality: 12.2%

AR, VR, and XR or mixed reality are super-exciting to marketers who want to hit the next big thing. Think websites in the 1990s. Nothing says cutting edge like funky goggle helmets and real-time insertion of virtual objects into actual scenes.

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Bots, chatbots, messaging: 10.1%

Communicating with millions individually while taking a coffee break? It’s easy to see why chatbots on messaging platforms are popular. It’s also easy to see some limited success in early adoptions of the technology.

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Mobile, with a focus on geolocation: 10.1%

Mobile was the most interesting thing about just a few years ago. Now, it’s even more important, but much less visible. Why? It’s the setting where all the other interesting things happen.

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Rest of the TOP 10

  • Voice: search, assistants, commerce, user interfaces: 9%

    Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, Apple’s Siri
  • Blockchain, cryptocurrencies: 8.4%

    How we might transact all business in the future.
  • Messaging and brand: 8.4%

    Not all top technologies are technologies.
  • Performance marketing: 8.4%

    ROI, A/B Testing, and Conversion; Data enabled creative decisions.
  • Customer databases and Data Lakes: 6.1%

    Data management platforms for all prospect and customer interaction. Marketing has never had a single system of record but that’s about to change.

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Clearly, A.I. is the big winner.

Because even if executives didn’t pick Artifical Intelligence as the most transformative marketing technology of 2018, they picked a technology that requires artificial intelligence, or benefits greatly from its application.

A.I. + Data = 2018 and beyond marketing success

Credit: Tune.com

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Understanding Marketing Automation

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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]any marketing departments have long realized they need to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. It’s nearly impossible to personally reach out to each and every new lead, but a giant, impersonal email blast is pretty much destined to be ignored. The secret to solving the mysteries of the untouched email, the unclicked call to action, and the once-promising lead that simply went MIA, may be marketing automation. Marketers should be looking to develop relationships with buyers at all stages of the sales funnel, and use marketing automation to create highly personalized relationships with new and existing leads. Let’s face it, we’ve all got pretty jam-packed inboxes, and even perfectly personalized emails offering incredible, highly relevant deals sometimes get lost in the shuffle or the “spam” folder.

The Landscape as it is

At its best, marketing automation is simply software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell effectively, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. The practice has shown amazing results for both B2B and B2C businesses. A 50% increase in overall conversion rates have been reported on average. However, most won’t have the ingredients they need for effective marketing automation because they first have to have a steady flow of organic leads coming through their funnel. Many invest in marketing automation before they have fertile ground for lead nurturing campaigns to blossom. It’s an uncomfortable truth in the marketing world that most leads go nowhere. Too many marketers spend their time figuring out how to take the tiny fraction of the market they already have as leads and squeeze more out of them. While they’re doing that, their competition is figuring out how to get more out of the 99.99% of the market that’s still out there. The efficient implementation of marketing automation technology can effectively increase operational efficiency by allowing for more precise use of all your companies data.

Makreting Automation

Marketing automation allows a brand to send the right message to the right person at the right time, in a way that’s scalable.

 

Automation uses every bit of a customer engagement to trigger the right touch for the right customer at the right time. How many nudges did it take before you decided you had to have your last online purchase: a targeted ad on social coupled with an email reminding you of the sale price or was it a push notification letting you know there were only a few left in stock? Now does it seem weird to rely on automation to create more personalized relationships with leads? Absolutely. However, think of all the information about clients that is gathered as they sign up for newsletters, click through web pages, or even view items online. Marketing automation allows a brand to consolidate all that data in order to produce meaningful, personalized pieces of content that will help convert leads. Imagine you’re trying to grow a plant. First, you need fertile soil for the growth of your plant. Next, you need seeds, and last you need water and light in order to nurture those seeds into a lush, blooming plant. It’s not foolproof, but it’s not impossible. In essence, effective marketing automation looks just like nurturing this plant does. At the end of the day, the hope is we’ve nurtured our leads the seeds well enough to produce actual paying customers or a lush, full-grown plant.

Use Automation to Get Personal

While it’s become standard practice to begin by asking leads for an email address, using marketing automation to analyze total customer data can lead to much more beneficial relationships for both buyers and brands. Now let’s say you have 5,000 new leads. It’s highly unlikely that all 5,000 are interested in the same aspects of your business. Most automation is based on analytics measuring the impact of an entire campaign across the various segments and channels. The practice could potentially set off a chain of responses, from a welcome email to a call from a member of your sales team. Marketing automation done right typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required. Though it’s not the easiest marketing initiative to execute on, marketing automation is certainly not impossible. With the data, you already possess you can identify segments and opportunities you never dreamed existed. Why stop at obvious factors such as demographics, when you can instead break your prospect base down according to how they use your site, the offers they accept, the articles they linger on. Through your strategy begin to customize landing pages, widgets and other elements of your website; identify customer’s needs based on their interest rather than simply asking for an email address.

makreting automation

The term “marketing automation” has become a buzz-word, where marketers seek out marketing automation software under the impression that all of the digital marketing tools necessary for growth, including those needed to generate new leads, roll up under the hood of marketing automation. This misconception leaves many marketers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their funnel, but no solution to generating new leads to nurture in the first place. The consequence is that marketers begin buying lists of email addresses to nurture instead of generating inbound leads. Digital marketing automation has its bloodline in simple email marketing. However, it is way beyond the email marketing.

It takes personalization far beyond blasting a coupon or special offer to every lead on your list, regardless of where they are in their purchase journey.

 

In our plant analogy, it’s sort of like using artificial chemicals or enhancers to make your plants grow faster. Sure, it seems like a good, quick fix–but it doesn’t set you up for future, long-term success. While using automation platforms, many marketers must still create exciting, multi-tier lead nurturing campaigns. Successful multi-channel efforts generally include marketing automation, email marketing, retargeting, social media, and sales outreach. In a world where customers feel more empowered to make purchase decisions than ever, using marketing automation to offer solutions before they ask can be crucial; today’s digitally empowered consumers are loyal to the companies that address their needs most effectively. The most effective marketing automation not only collects data from multiple channels but also uses those various channels to send their marketing messages as well. That means the success of your campaign relies less on the email and fully utilizes the various channels that influence a buyer’s decision.

Amazon is the King of Marketing Automation

From their amazing retargeting that never lets you forget those jeans, you were undecided on a couple weeks ago, to their spot on suggestions based on previous purchases. Amazon will even let you know what your neighbors are buying, so you’re never the last in the know. Amazon’s marketing makes it easy for its customers to buy things, to the point where some Amazon customers don’t realize they’re out of toothpaste until they get a reminder to buy more. Amazon is second to none at listening to their customers through passive actions such as web browsing, to purchase history, to actual feedback through surveys and customer service.

Makreting Automation

An automation update for your brand requires integrating new technology into your day-to-day business operations, which obviously comes with a few pain points. However, once you’ve got your automated marketing system running like clockwork you will see the value in letting your marketing automation system do the heavy lifting. Remember marketing automation isn’t simply a quick fix for finding new leads. Instead, it’s a long-term strategy that enables growth. In nonprofessional terms, marketing automation is all about optimization. Make sure that when your automation pays off, and you are getting those leads you’ve been looking for; your marketing strategy calls for even more personalized lead nurturing which never feels robotic. The scope of marketing automation is beyond simply automating the marketing department’s repetitive tasks, it optimizes the time of your staff. It can even hint at which new avenues your sales team concentrates their endeavors.

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Spring Cleaning Your Small Business

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5 Questions To Ask When Spring Cleaning Your Small Business

“If I don’t have the space to be creative and work on my business (growth, new initiatives, strategy, etc.), then I know I need to tweak my systems.” – Krish Chopra, Director of Operations United Medical Rotations.

It’s time to dust off some cobwebs. It’s the season of spring cleaning, and the perfect time to review your operational procedures. Every business is about building a solid set of processes that keep the money coming in and make the best use of limited time. That’s why it’s important to take a good, hard look at your operations and efforts.

So where to begin? Here are five questions to figure out where to aim the dustbuster.

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1. Have There Been Any Changes?

There may have been a change in your business, mission, industry, or customer demographic. Revisit your business plan and re-evaluate if these strategies are still in line with your goals. Some might say you should be updating your business plan every month, every week and every day It may be necessary to rework or adjust certain structures and tactics in order to realign your business plan. Taking the time to examine changes and update business plan is what will help make order out of chaos.

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2. Can it Be Automated?

There is always a million and one things to do. Take a closer look at certain aspects of your company. Wherever automation can be done, using software or hardware integration, it should be implemented or at the very least explored. Small business owners end up losing productivity dealing with redundant, time-consuming tasks; some which might be extremely important, others more mundane. Whether it’s billing, customer support, or manufacturing, automating these operations will free up time for business development and allow you to operate in the most efficient way possible.

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3. Is It Just Taking Up Space?

A physical spring clean is just as important as a digital one. Set aside time to do both. Re-organizing work spaces and storage closets will lead to a more productive work environment. When it comes to the digital cleanup, organize, delete, and archive files and folders that are no longer used. Look at documents that were set up, but never used. Reorganize and retitle folders in more descriptive ways. Unfollow social media accounts, email updates, and blog accounts that aren’t providing any value and just taking up space.

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4. Has It Been Collecting Dust?

There are some areas that inevitably will have been neglected due to lack of resources or time. This is your chance to look into these areas and evaluate whether they can be better incorporated, or if they can be eliminated. Great companies foster a culture in which you’re constantly brainstorming, innovating, testing, analyzing, and reinvesting. Removing those unnecessary processes will strengthen your focus and funnel resources more effectively. They have already gone this long without any notice or results.

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5. Is This The Best Way To Do IT?

Like any business, you don’t have much time to waste. It’s important to utilize your time as efficiently as possible. Take a step back and measure where your time is being spent. There may be tasks that can be delegated or outsourced. Even the most mundane and tested processes can have massive room for improvement. It’s remarkable how much we do simply out of habit, without ever pausing to think: is there a better way? Go through every process and look for redundancies and areas for improvements. Could a change to remote or teleworking turn the staff’s hour long commute into two added hours of production? There are a stunning number of business practices and technology available to help every aspect of your business.

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