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Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ll be well aware of just how fast artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are growing. It’s a data-driven, customer-centric age, in which the virtues of marketing automation are now impossible to ignore.

HubSpot research indicates that annual spending on marketing automation technology is set to top $25 billion by the year 2023.

It’s more than a buzzword. The benefits of time-saving and budget optimization are well-documented, and so it’s little surprise to see that more small businesses are adopting automation into their everyday operations.

The concern for many people coming in at the ground level is that things will change too quickly for them to keep up. And so, with that in mind, it’s time we discovered the top marketing automation trends that will shape the future of online business.

The 6 Marketing Automation Trends to Focus On

The essence of marketing automation is about using software and machine learning-based tools to free up your resources. This saves your business time, money, and manpower, all of which can then be invested in other tasks.

Here are six marketing automation trends that will impact the future in a big way.


1. Businesses will Cater to the Customer Life Cycle with Omnichannel Marketing

Modern marketing has a heavy focus on reaching customers at all points of the customer journey. It’s no longer simply about conversions - it’s about forging lasting relationships. To do this successfully, brands need to make contact with prospects at several digital touchpoints, across a range of channels.

Marketing Week found that the consumers of today tend to connect with brands on more than five separate touch-points before buying, with almost 50% of people regularly using more than four.

When your business can maintain a presence across multiple channels, such as email, social media, and paid ads, you will have more success in connecting with customers. Brand recognition will develop quickly, and you will be top-of-mind whenever consumers are ready to purchase.


2. Brands Will Use Automation for Greater Personalization

Together, marketing automation and AI form a powerful double-act, capable of carving a path to greater personalization in the following ways:

  • Optimization - Through A/B testing, you can test out a range of ideas, fine-tuning your marketing strategy based on the results and in-depth data analysis of key engagement metrics.
  • Segmentation - As you gather more consumer data, you can create niche groups within your own audience. This facilitates accurate targeting based on specific interests and demographics.
  • Personalization - When you maximize segmentation, your business can tailor brand messaging and offers on a 1:1 level, effectively providing a unique user experience for every customer.


3. Instant Messengers will Drive Communications

Forbes report that 56% of online shoppers prefer to contact customer service reps through messaging, as it is quick and convenient. In fact, many issues are resolved in less than a minute.

As Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have surged in popularity, more companies are jumping on the trend to offer customer service in a way that people appreciate.


4. Chatbots will Become Commonplace

To take your instant messaging next level, you can implement a chatbot, which helps you nurture leads and resolve issues around-the-clock, across all devices.

Gartner has boldly predicted that by 2020, as much as 85% of all customer relationships will be managed without humans.

Advances in AI have turned this once far-fetched idea into one of the hottest marketing automation trends in recent times. As chatbots learn from every interaction, they are able to offer a faster, better service, which is personalized to the needs of each user.


5. Search Marketing will Grow

The fierce competition on social media makes it hard to stand out. Many companies are turning to paid ads because of this.

While Facebook Ads offer great potential, there is a lot to be gained from Google Ads. On average, businesses make $2 for every $1 spent in Google Ads.

Marketing automation is increasingly intertwined in this platform. From automated keyword bids, geotargeting, smart display campaigns, and dynamic ad creation, machine learning is transforming Google Ads into a very user-friendly platform, which makes it easier for marketers to generate a positive return on their advertising budget.


6. Marketing Automation will Break Down Silos

Traditionally, there has been a great divide between the main departments in many companies. Interestingly, one of the most significant marketing automation trends to look out for is the impact that AI has in bringing marketing, sales, and service teams together.

The evolution of marketing has already redefined the role of the chief marketing officer (CMO), paving the way for greater clarity and cohesion between the creative and financial aspects of companies.

There is an abundance of fantastic martech tools available today that help companies improve project management and communications within their company. As a result, many businesses now strive for greater alignment internally, so that they are better positioned to serve their audiences with a unified front.


Marketing Automation Makes Enhances the Customer Experience

By harnessing the latest marketing automation trends, your business can save time and money that would otherwise be wasted on tedious, repetitive tasks. Better yet, you can improve your marketing on a 1-to-1 level, offering greater personalization.

The nature of machine learning means this level of personalization will increase over time, as you leverage more data insights on your audience.

Marketing in the “Martech Age” is unpredictable, but if you can achieve unity, both through omnichannel marketing to the customer, and with unity in the workforce, your business will be much more scalable and sustainable.

By CJ Haughey

CJ Haughey is the managing editor of MarTech Gazette. A creative copywriter and self-confessed digital marketing nerd, this shaggy-haired Irishman is currently shaking the last of the travel bug off in his adopted home of Colombia. In his spare time he tries to avoid being sick at kickboxing training.