Today, I would like to speak about the trends in the marketing automation, what the marketers are looking for and what evolutions we can foresee in the digital marketing practices for the upcoming years.
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A December winter evening!
It is the perfect time to prognosticate about 2019. Everybody is sharing his thoughts, dreams, visions.
Let me share mines.
If I could summarize in one single sentence how I see 2019, here what I could say:
Data-driven marketing programs powered by AI-First Marketing Automation Platform and performed by Tech-savvy Marketers.
(I know, This one hit a high score at the Marketing Bingo).
Below a list of buzzwords, I heard already a lot in 2018, and I believe we will hear them even more in the next year:
- Predictive Marketing
- Audience Analysis
- Data-driven marketing programs
- Connected Data
- Unified Customer Profile
- Customer Insights
- Customer Data Platform
- AI-First Marketing Automation
- Marketing Automation Platform
- Technical marketers
Before sharing with you my three predictions, I would like to take to the time to understand what happened in 2018 for our fellow marketers. Their challenges and future investments could help us to understand what is next.
What were the marketing challenges in 2018?
Let’s find out!
Marketing people understand the need of having automation in place. Vendors have promised them more revenues and a better ROI. Marketing Automation is an evolution of Email marketing, and it has come with new practices.
Unfortunately, many marketers lack skills regarding those new practices and are still using marketing automation as it is a simple email marketing tool. Meaning they use it to send mass emails or inadequate campaigns to a poorly segmented audience.
A recent survey by Ascend2 published in November highlights two interesting challenges:
- The most difficult implementations are about data management and marketing analytics.
- The most challenging barriers to marketing technology success are integrating disparate systems.
Indeed, the buyer’s journey has changed significantly in recent years, and companies are struggling to keep up. There is a lack of understanding of how to align automated marketing messages with customer journeys.
With the explosion of the data, it is getting more and more important to perform some data science methods and run analytic programs to sort out all the users’ behaviors.
Also, more tools are required to go beyond the traditional marketing automation system. These tools must stay in sync regarding data and processes.
However, companies are still willing to invest in marketing technologies.
“Marketing technology is the single largest area of investment when it comes to marketing resources and programs.” — Gartner
Email marketing platforms and digital marketing analytics solution top the martech shopping list, according to the Gartner 2018 Marketing Technology Survey.
Now the time has come to look into the crystal ball.
My three predictions for 2019!
1. Data-driven marketing
Marketing will rely more and more on the accuracy of the data gathered by different touch-points to orchestrate marketing campaigns. No more gut feeling about an idealistic customer profile or wishful thinking.
Data is the new persona.
The recent study from trustinsights highlight this trend:
- Data, data, and more data.
- Gather them, consolidate them.
- Understand performance.
- Discover insights.
The study of trustinsight also confirms the explosion of Customer Data Platform (CDP) — where the value proposition is precisely to gather data from different touchpoints and deliver a comprehensive view of the customer and help with decision making.
A definition of a CDP from Raab Associates, founders of the CDP Institute:
“A CDP is a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.”
Let’s see how CDP will be adopted by marketing organization and integrated within the marketing automation landscape.
Do you plan to use a CDP?
I believe that CPD adoption is for later 2019 or even 2020.
Firstly, few competent service providers can deliver such project to enterprise, and secondly, it requires maturity towards data management.
Maybe a tactical step in 2019 is to use data visualization software — services provided by companies such as databox.com. They define themselves as a KPI dashboard, where you could visualize performance trends, monitor progress toward your goals and make more informed decisions.
2. AI-First Marketing Automation Platforms
There are two aspects in this prediction: AI-First and Marketing platforms.
Ok, I can hear you: Artificial Intelligence is so 2017!
True. Many vendors promised a better future to marketing departments by delivering new AI features within their existing solutions.
To name a few of the big ones, IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein.
Let’s be honest. How many of you were using these AI features in 2018?
My point here is that brand new marketing solutions will emerge:
- AI-first solutions.
- Based on machine learning capabilities.
- With predictive marketing as a core feature.
- Focus on specific pain points of marketing programs.
My second point about Marketing platforms.
We can observe that the marketing technology landscape is growing. As a marketer, you lack essential capabilities, and you are continually looking for additional tools.
In 2019, marketing teams will develop further their existing martech ecosystem.
Marketing Automation solutions will become Marketing Automation platforms.
Vendors understand this challenge. One size fits all never worked and is not going to work in the future.
Marketing technologies will put an accent on interoperability with other tools.
Hubspot is a good example. They now focus on being a marketing platform by empowering their third-party ecosystem with their new Connect program.
The competition is going to follow this trend.
3. Emergence of the tech-savvy “martecheter”
Full copyright to IBM for this one. The term “martecheter” is coming from IBM 2019 Marketing Trends.
The marketer of tomorrow will be a technical person.
Today marketing has to manage the customer experience, develop marketing strategies and campaigns. For this, they rely on technology, and every day new technologies.
Understanding the technology and its ability to exchange and use information will help marketers to design effective processes to drive their marketing projects.
Another recent and excellent article on Medium is a bit more drastic and explain why marketers should learn to code.
Maybe coding is going to be a challenge for many marketers. However, the idea of being more “technical” could bring many benefits for various activities such as:
- Campaigns orchestration on multiple channels
- Segmentation of audience
- Workflows and logical sequences setup
- Analysing of data flow
- and so on….
Marketing is becoming more scientist, rely every day more on technical solutions.
What are your predictions about 2019?
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I would love to read yours!