Level Up Your Store in 2020 With Marketing Automation

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As 2020 starts ticking along, marketing automation is expected to continue growing at 8.55%, which is a staggering number when factoring in that more than 51% of companies are using Marketing Automation already. Furthermore, over 58% of companies are already planning to adopt it. 

Marketing in 2020 will be focused on creating unique and engaging experiences that add value to the modern, ever online consumer, and marketing automation will act as a catalyst to drive that change. Below are the top trends that will impact and direct the marketing automation industry this year.

1. Personalized Content is Key

The necessity of customized content is not shocking at all today, but in all the communications received from businesses, you’d still find an absence of personalization in the majority of them. Furthermore, when you look at the numbers in support of it, it becomes hard to understand why businesses are still failing to adopt personalized approaches?

In 2020, context will progressively be the primary driver behind business growth. Customers are demanding tailored experiences from the brands they engage with. They expect companies to know their likes and partialities and deliver intelligent product suggestions.

Examining the Opportunity

  • Through combining user attributes, social listening, on-site behavior, and historical purchase data, marketers have an excellent opportunity to compile a highly accurate buyer profile.
  • Understanding consumer preferences and purchasing habits will aid brands in moving beyond simple segmentation and personalization and enter the realm of “hyper-personalization” to deliver predictive suggestions.
  • Tailored content will be a critical element in a business’s retention marketing efforts. It can also assist in building the customer loyalty index, guaranteeing that sales aren’t lost to the competition.

Is There a Catch?

Planning and implementing “hyper-personalized” campaigns at scale will be the real test. Marketing automation solutions that integrate effortlessly with online businesses and gather user data at various points will be crucial here by letting companies personalize massive campaigns easily.

2. Machine Learning + AI-Assisted Solutions 

Predictive Personalization will be the natural evolution of marketing automation in 2020. Starbucks and Netflix are two fantastic examples of businesses that are already leveraging recommendation engines that use AI + Machine Learning to create unique personalized experiences for consumers. Their growth alone is validation that predictive personalization is the future.

Examining the Opportunity

  • Marketers and businesses, in general, will start to leverage machine learning in content creation. Machine Learning will use data to boost engagement effectiveness.
  • When a user clicks an ad, the original user and behavioral data will be examined by Machine Learning and used to inform future campaigns and touch-points as the user progresses through their life-cycle.
  • Likewise, AI-assisted solutions will proliferate, and technologies like Natural Language Processing & Deep Learning will be leveraged to power the study of user behavior, understanding speech and language patterns, and online activity to create personas.

Is There a Catch?

Currently, an affordable integrated AI + Machine Learning solution is still in the works. Bigger businesses have the workforce and financial resources to create their system, but other smaller companies will have to wait until a pre-built system exists.

3. Chatbots Are Coming

Chatbots will play a crucial role in customer service and customer engagement in 2020. Chatbots are becoming smarter and will be proficient at behavioral recommendations shortly and many offer deep integrations with third-party software.

Examining the Opportunity

More than 54% of respondents in a ZDNet study indicated they preferred engaging with a business via a chatbot, over an app. The upside for user engagement is massive, provided the chatbots are intelligent enough to interact in a meaningful conversation with multiple users.

  • Messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger have experienced massive success with Chatbots. According to research, over 60 percent of people who received a message from a chatbot on Messenger engaged with the message.
  • WhatsApp now allows brands to integrate chatbots via their API, which opens an additional avenue for user engagement. WhatsApp has 1.6 billion monthly active users and provides a tremendous opportunity for businesses of all sizes.
  • Oracle’s annual survey of 800 top decision-makers around the world in 2018 showed that over 80% were already using or planning to implement chatbots in their business by 2019.

Is There a Catch?

Chatbots are fundamentally human-trained computer applications that are taught to understand and mimic human conversational nuances. Chatbots, however, still struggle to understand human contextual communication because everyone has a unique communication style. Chatbots lack the seamless exchange of information that humans effortlessly perform every day.

4. Automated Social Media Marketing

The amount of time spent on social media increased from 135 minutes in 2017 to 143 minutes in 2019. With this trend expected to continue through 2020 and beyond, the automation of social media marketing needs to be a priority for businesses, as they attempt to target the right audiences with the best messaging at the optimal time to maintain high contextual relevance.

Examining the Opportunity

  • Organic visibility will continue to languish on Facebook. To counter this, businesses try to improve their return on investment by increasing their social media marketing budget. Social media ad targeting is expected to become highly targeted by emulating Google’s Adwords platform.
  • Gen Z is growing, and so is their purchasing power. Shortly, they will rival millennials’ spending potential. Businesses need to prepare a strategic social plan aimed explicitly at Gen Z because they spend more time online than any previous generation.
  • 2019 saw a 20% increase in spending allocated to social media in business budgets. This will increase even further in 2020.
  • Video content will increasingly dominate social media. Video advertising on social media increased by 130% in 2019 and is expected to grow even further in 2020. It’s time to focus on engagement strategies.
  • Instagram Stories will be a winner for advertisers. With Instagram now allowing linking, businesses can leverage it to drive conversions.

Is There a Catch?

Tracking how effective social media campaigns are for advertisers in the coming years will be necessary. Facebook’s rules throttle impression shares for producers and advertisers, with their focus shifting back to promoting content from immediate friends and family.

5. Customer Lifetime Value Lifecycle Marketing

According to Forbes, businesses that provide the most enjoyable and engaging experience throughout the customer’s lifetime will be rewarded with higher conversion and retention statistics. Conversely, If the customer experience leaves something to be desired at any stage, users will refrain from becoming repeat customers.

Examining the Opportunity

  • Businesses will need to migrate from static to dynamic, behavioral methods in creating client segments to accommodate a customer’s fluctuating needs and preferences in real-time.
  • Increasingly, businesses will attempt to study and assess their customer’s online behavior and understand how they are browsing and transacting as well as their motives behind search and purchasing.
  • Through advanced segmentation, businesses will be able to identify low, medium, and high customers based on their lifetime customer value and generate highly personalized marketing campaigns that don’t exceed the perceived value of each segment.

Is There a Catch?

The biggest issue here will be consistently collecting the right type of data, especially for large businesses experimenting across multiple product and service categories. Furthermore, forecasting metrics like costs and revenue are always delicate, which can negatively impact the outcome when there are calculation errors.

6. User Retention = Growth

2020 will be the year that a deeper and amplified emphasis will be placed on retention over acquisition. This shift will happen because the customer experience will evolve to become a cross-function of marketing and will dictate future campaigns based on user engagement and response.

Businesses need to understand better the journey of anonymous users who haven’t previously purchased through the company website. Tracking their path from an unknown to a known customer will deliver real value in terms of growth potential. According to a report by Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention can positively affect profitability by more than 75%.

Examining the Opportunity

Customer acquisition remains 5X (down from 7x) more expensive than retaining existing clients, and the lifetime value of historic customers compared to newly acquired customers is significantly higher.

A Forrester report validates that businesses that offer superior customer experiences will have five times higher revenue growth than other companies.

Happy users act as evangelists to their immediate circle of friends and family for businesses that leave a good impression. Today’s consumers trust reviews and recommendations from their social circle far more than advertisements or celebrity endorsements.

Is There a Catch?

Businesses will have to work fast and shift their focus towards the ‘Experience Economy.’ Delivering personalized customer experiences will be the primary differentiator in the market, and it will be tough for brands to continually innovate, execute and deliver maximum value to their customers at scale.

7. Cross-Channel Marketing Will Rule

Going ahead in 2020, businesses are more likely to succeed with a multi-channel marketing strategy compared to the traditional siloed working approach.

Examining the Opportunity

Research shows that employing two or more communication channels increases engagement levels by over 166% in comparison to traditional single-channel outreach models. Businesses will need to keep customers engaged at multiple touchpoints.

Over 53% of UK consumers divide their online browsing time across multiple devices. This behavior has given rise to the phenomenon of Webrooming, which is when a user conducts extensive online research before making a purchase.

Is There a Catch?

A multi-channel campaign will require several layers of user engagement and call to actions, and this will require data intelligence to collect critical insights that positively affect conversion rate and engagement. All these factors will have to be seamlessly weaved into multi-channel campaigns to ensure that the business message remains relevant to the end-user.

Wrapping It Up

Customers are no longer willing to wait, and they will make the leap to a competitor without a second thought. The above trends will set marketing automation up to play a vital role in 2020 as businesses will run to create a more targeted, engaging, and personalized experience for consumers.  

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