The Forward Thinker's Guide to Marketing Automation

August 04, 2016
By Paul Lee

Cherry-pick from today’s ground-breaking marketing automation practices and forge ahead with this forward-thinking look at what current trends good do for your engagement and fulfilment strategies

The Forward Thinker's Guide to Marketing Automation

There’s an overwhelming conclusion to be drawn from the inspirational stories which have dominated this year’s Marketo Revvie and Oracle’s Markie Awards: the most successful marketing automation best practices have one eye on a future full of promise for exploiting increasingly rich data to mine every interaction for its lead and sales potential.

Time to ditch ‘push’?

But they are also rooted in the present, coming up with ground-breaking ways to disrupt traditional ‘push’ marketing strategies. Predictive systems, smart web content and thinner, better integrated CRM and automated marketing platforms are enabling them to build real time, omni-channel campaigns based on personalised interactions – and an impressive understanding of the complete customer journey.

And these businesses and organisations are setting new standards for marketers to match when it comes to using marketing automation to open up new frontiers – adaptable, responsive campaigns which cater for prospects leads and customers at every stage of that journey, and maximise engagement for improved profitability.

Four themes emerge from the best-practice success stories that characterise these award winners:

  • The growing importance of predictive systems and data analysis, which have enabled YOTEL (Best Testing & Customer Experience Markie) to strip the risk and cut the cost from the launch of its new mobile site, and Dell (Best Use of Audience Data Markie) to reinvigorate its customer targeting.
  • The prominence of personalisation in strategies that have helped 3 Day Blinds (Bridge Builder Revvie) to build a consistent, omni-channel engagement strategy, and TomTom (Best International Campaign Markie) to target 20 million customers in 21 countries with offers leading to a 200% click-through-rate improvement.
  • The unabated impact of mobile on marketing, with companies like Zalora South East Asia (Best Mobile Experience Markie) anticipating the potentially limitless data gathering opportunities generated by the Internet of Things in campaigns which align the mobile customer experience ever more closely with their CRM channels.
  • The constant, underlying thread of integration, epitomised by WGMS (Stack Master Revvie) with its portfolio of applications and functions including predictive analytics, data visualization, APIs and native product features, and Forbes Media, where Tom Davis (Marketing Executive of the Year Revvie) brought the company’s marketing technology into one, optimized marketing automation/CRM system in just two months.

What can we learn from these pioneering champions?

Principally, that standing still is not an option. There are gains to be made today by adopting a more forward-thinking approach to marketing – an opportunity which is given due emphasis in The Path to 2020, a Market-sponsored report from The Economist Intelligence Unit.

If we are serious about achieving that single customer view, it’s time to reinvent the traditional ‘push’ attitude to marketing, and capitalise on the potential for every touchpoint and interaction to trigger a personalized experience more likely to convert into sales and generate long-term loyalty.

And we can only do that by implementing integrated systems that make more sophisticated use of the data, while reducing complexity through automation and scaling to the ever growing number of marketing channels which will be the great gift of the Internet of Things.

Rapid change

As Marketo’s Chief Marketing Officer Sanjav Dholakia says: “Technology’s rapid evolution allows customers to engage with brands across a myriad of new channels in real time, translating to billions of marketing-driven touch points.”

It’s a point previously picked up by Vik Singh in his TechCrunch post The Future of Marketing Automation.

Singh says that we have to move away from the old complexities arising from, for example, email blasting – hard-coded workflows multiplying out of control, snail’s pace data analysis – into a new world of rapid response that takes into account what the data is actually telling us. And we can do that with predictive systems that will deliver optimised lead and customer tracking.

Intelligent automation

In Singh’s new world, every customer interaction will help automated marketing platforms to learn, and improved the experience. Customer intelligence will be more accessible and adaptable. And because they are automated, there will be no need to constantly reconfigure workflows to take new information into account.

This vision looks beyond mere lead conversion to realising the potential lifetime value of every customer. For example, a better integrated lead nurturing app can identify high scoring leads as targets for personalised communications and sales propositions.

Automated marketing platforms will gather more meaningful data earlier, and synchronise with CRM systems to exploit the value of that data in real time.

A recent report from VentureBeat, The State of Marketing Analytics, revealed marketers’ belief in the potential value of predictive analytics in a world of personalised marketing. Asked to rate the importance of various analytics to financial performance, there was a broad consensus that they are either very important or critical:

  • Brand/social analytics 47%
  • Audience insights 55%
  • Mobile/app analytics 38%
  • Cross platform/campaign analytics 53%
  • Big data analytics 67%

So the will is there – and combined with a vision to reap the rich data harvest promised by the Internet of Things – this is the perfect catalyst for an energised approach to marketing automation.

IoT data drivers

In his prescient post for Forbes, 5 Ways The Internet Of Things Will Make Marketing Smarter, Salesforce SEO Manager Stuart Leung builds a compelling vision for the near-future, in which IoT data will play a central role:

1. It will make the exchange of sales data easier, because smart devices will get it back to you in real time

2. It will enable smarter CRM: data will be collected at the touchpoint and analysed in real time so that you always know where the customer is on the journey

3. IoT devices will self-diagnose problems and upgrade software automatically – great for maintaining marketing apps as CRM channels

4. IoT devices will play an increasingly central role in predictive social media campaigns, automatically generating and sharing posts.

But these were just the build-up to the pay-off:

5. It will enable 100% click-through rates, because every single piece of ad content will be relevant and targeted to that particular customer.

If that’s too futuristic for you, it’s probably time to think again. Without a forward-looking marketing automation strategy in place today, keeping up to speed with rapid pace of change in marketing will be an even greater challenge.

So take a note of what’s winning best-practice awards now. As Leung says: “Think about how you currently interact with your products and apps. Think deeper into how your marketing can leverage smart devices now because the Internet of Things will give a whole new meaning to the adage ‘Work smarter, not harder’.”


  • Real time personalisation will help you engage with every lead at every touchpoint of their journey - and beyond
  • Agile marketing automation means slimmed down systems, snappier and more focused apps, and contextual data gathered at every stage of the customer relationship
  • The holy grail of a single customer view - and 100% click-through rates - is no longer beyond the horizon: with the right marketing automation strategy in place now, you can build in all the agility and adaptability your campaigns will need in the future

Make sure your marketing automation strategy is looking to the future: download My Awesome Guide to: The Future of Marketing Automation now.

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My Awesome Guide to: The Future of Marketing Automation

My Awesome Guide to: The Future of Marketing Automation

Our step-by-step guide takes you right the way from your very first steps in adopting marketing automation through to transforming your department and delivering the goods to sales.

Download now!

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