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Innovation in marketing automation: What’s next?

Man vs machine

Remember when the holy grail of marketing was delivering the right message at the right time in the right place? At Adestra, we think that concept (and cliché) is outdated, not to mention a little cringeworthy. It’s too simplistic for the current marketing landscape.

First, the idea of a “right time” to deliver an ad has been disrupted by mobile. Today’s mobile consumers are no longer consistent. They might watch part of a TV show in the middle of the day or shop in the middle of the night.

When it comes to a “right place,” consumers’ consumption of information and entertainment has become on-demand. While someone might be predisposed to visit Facebook, for example, that visit might send him on to other sites because of links people have posted. There is no one spot where a marketer will be able to convert any particular consumer.

That makes the third element, the “right message,” more critical than ever. And it takes serious science to inform that message.

Marketing automation = marketing science

There are two sides to marketing automation: the availability of lots of data and the ability to take action on it. Brands have to focus on finding the best way to talk to consumers.

Luckily, today’s marketing automation products are more advanced than ever – and providers are continually innovating. The innovation in part comes from access to ever more data. No longer are brands limited to their own first-party data. Third-party providers have tens of thousands of data points on consumers that can be accessed anonymously for B2C and B2B marketing.

The latest innovation is being able to develop propensity scores for consumers. This lets a marketer not only identify potential customers but also find the ones who might be more predisposed to hear a message in a particular channel. For example, even though someone may have opted in to email, he/ she may be more swayed to convert via an ad on Facebook or a retargeting campaign.

Our channels for reaching consumers continually expand, and therefore we need continual innovation from marketing technology (MarTech) providers.

What it takes

The fundamental problem in adopting these new innovations is that data science is such a new field – and the data and tools are constantly changing. That’s why we’re seeing the big enterprise players diving into this first. They’re more likely to have the capital to experiment with these new techniques. It’s more difficult for smaller brands; the cost and implementation can be challenging. Luckily, there are marketing automation platforms offered as a service that can handle integration with a company’s own CRM systems.

The future of MarTech innovation

Innovation never stops. It seems like almost every day, there’s something new that we can do. Facebook recently revealed it will be able to use GPS to track real-world movements of users who are signed-in, allowing marketers to begin to understand in-store conversions from online ads. And the new Snapchat Ads Partners connects the uber-popular platform with third-party ad tech providers that offer ad buying, management and analytics.

And then there’s the combination of Microsoft and LinkedIn. This could open up in an entirely new realm of data, marrying the highly validated and reliable B2B data owned by LinkedIn with user information from Microsoft’s Office Graph and Delve. There’s another interesting potential play, although Microsoft will have to be very careful: Business type data from Office 365 and LinkedIn users could be united with consumer data from Bing, advertising and

How could all that information enrich ad targeting? Immensely. Will Microsoft go down this route? That remains to be seen – and we’ll be watching!

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