The New Experts: How Robotics, AI and Automation Are Shaping the Future of Your Work

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Sophia, the AI-powered robot who was infamously granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia recently beat me out for two keynote speaking opportunities. True story.

This is how I opened my presentation  at the KQED studios in its inaugural Silicon Valley Conversations program, “The New Experts: How Robotics, AI and Automation Are Shaping the Future of Your Work.” The event focused on the way new technologies are changing how we work, where we work and the skills we need to work. I joined Michael Chui, partner at McKinsey Global Institue, and Dr. Karen Myers, lab director of SRI International’s Artificial Intelligence Center.

We each had five minutes to open with a TED-style talk on our views of the future of AI and work. Following, the opening talks, KQED’s Silicon Valley Bureau Chief moderated a fascinating conversation that explored the future of technology, society and how employers and employees can get in front of the coming waves of disruption.

Interesting Stats:

72% of Americans worry that AI will take over their job and fear that it might make them obsolete.

AI will create 2.3 million jobs in 2020 while eliminating 1.8 million (Gartner).

When one  or more industrial robots were introduced into the workplace, 6.2 jobs were eliminated from a local area where people commute for work. (National Bureau of Economic Research). I call this the “Brain Wash,” a play on the Rust Belt.

By 2022, one in five workers engaged in mostly nonroutine tasks will rely on AI to do a job.

Creativity is not immune from automation.

The WEF estimates AI will replace humans at creative tasks as follows:

2020: poker world champ

2026: write high-school essay

2027: generate top 40 pop song

2029: produce creative video

2049: write @nytimes bestseller

2059: conduct math research

And yet, our current administration isn’t too concerned…

“I think that is so far in the future — in terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs — I think we’re, like, so far away from that [50 to 100 years], that it is not even on my radar screen.” – Steven Mnuchin

AI will impact every industry. And it is… If you’re waiting for someone to tell you what to do, you’re on the wrong side of disruption. This is the time to learn and unlearn.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

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Brian Solis

The Evolution of Marketing: From Manual Through Automation To Predictive

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” While historians still argue whether Charles Darwin actually said that or Leon C. Megginson (Small Business Management: An Entrepreneur’s Guidebook), this opinion is just as valid for marketers today.

We are all aware of how technology advances at an exponential speed today. If you subscribe to MIT’s newsletter Technology Review, you will be amazed at the number of innovations, research, and ideas it regularly reports. With the emergence of the Internet and connected devices such as mobile, it is more than ever an adapt-or-die world.

This is all too familiar for businesses that always make decisions whether to change with the times and take advantage of these new growth opportunities or cling to the status quo and face the threat of extinction. Change is difficult—for individuals, and even more for organizations. In his timely book Intelligent Customer Engagement, Dr. Jacob Shama, CEO, Co-Founder of Mintigo, addresses this difficulty for marketing and sales amidst the marketing revolution that is happening right now.

Defining Brand In Real Time

From the explosion of data and multiple touchpoints to changing consumer behavior and demographics, today’s marketers face consumers who take over and help define the brand. Combining big data, innovative technologies, and dynamic consumer experience, the definition of brand is in real time.

“Likely to overhaul the way we do business and even the way we live, big data and AI [artificial intelligence] are two of the most sweeping revolutions of the 21st century,” Shama writes. “It empowers us to sift through mind-boggling masses of raw data, process it, structure it, and apply it to insight development on a grand scale […] Now, big data and AI are also powering marketing.”

The number one challenge marketers face is creating and nurturing demand real time. For Shama, predictive marketing—the application of data science to traditional marketing—is the answer. “Exploiting new technologies such as AI to amass and process vast amounts of information on companies and decision makers, predictive analytics scientifically guides marketers to the campaigns that create the highest engagement and produce the highest revenue.”

Transforming the Customer Journey

Understanding that the customer journey is becoming more and more nonlinear, Shama turns to predictive marketing which transforms the customer journey into a scientific process. “It leverages data science to optimize every engagement point—presenting the right offer, the right product to the right prospect delivered via the right channel,” Shama notes. With predictive marketing, this can be done at scale and near real time. “In that way, all your marketing efforts are truly customer-centric.”

Intelligent Customer Engagement is a probing and comprehensive reference book about predictive marketing. Helping marketers navigate the ever-changing marketing landscape, Shama thoroughly discusses the application of big data, AI, and predictive analytics to marketing—from the science behind it to how organizations can adapt and implement it.

Covering a wide range of topics, the book details use cases and questions to help organizations evaluate if predictive marketing and account-based management (ABM) are right for them. Shama understands that organizations have different goals and existing operational and technological capabilities. So it includes step-by-step guides and best practices. Success stories from early adopter companies also reveal how data and AI help dramatically shrink sales cycle and increase revenue.

Highest Likelihood To Convert

As a marketer, one of the top priorities is to help sales beat their numbers and find more buyers faster. Shama dedicates a chapter to sales enablement, emphasizing that by “providing [sales] the leads with the highest likelihood to convert and the data on how to approach,” sales can improve their results.

Marketing and sales can benefit from data-driven insights that empower initiatives from account management and segmentation to production of content and collaterals. He further writes about how to get not only the sales team but also the whole organization on board in support of predictive marketing.

Marketing data and intelligence are the new currency in the marketing space. And transforming data into actionable insights real time is essential to commanding a competitive advantage for businesses. As Shama observes toward the end, “Marketing and sales are in a constant struggle to get ahead of the curve, the competition, and customers’ needs and wants. Predictive marketing and sales powered by AI and predictive analytics has the information, tools, and insights you need [..]”

While technology and ideas change rapidly, having in-depth knowledge on how predictive marketing works is critical to best manage change for long-term success. As the marketing space continues to evolve, reading Intelligent Customer Engagement could enable organizations to adapt, win, and survive extinction.

Accountability in marketing means one thing: Can you deliver on what you promised? The good news is that using a data management platform and data-driven marketing can help you improve accountability—especially when it comes to revenue. Download the Guide to Advertising Accountability to learn more.

 Guide to Advertising Accountability

Image source: Pexels

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The Definitive Guide to Agency Marketing Automation

Nurturing seeds
Grow, little leads, grow! Image via Shutterstock.

Most agency websites suck. (For the longest time, mine was no different.)

But it’s not your fault.

You’re strapped for time as it is — too busy running around, responding to clients ASAP and leaving little-to-no time for yourself.

This problem can be extended to most agency promotional efforts. Your blog struggles for consistent publishing. Social could use some work. Outgoing emails are inconsistent at best.

Marketing automation can help dramatically, but it’s typically only reserved for clients.

Well not anymore. Because spending just a few hours setting up an effective email automation workflow can net you 20% more sales opportunities, letting you spend more time focusing on your current clients.

Here are a few sample workflows to show you how any agency can start employing its own marketing automation campaigns to nurture leads, close clients and onboard them painlessly.

Sample automation email workflows

An introductory guide to marketing automation

When used properly, marketing automation can deliver a 451% increase in qualified leads. It can also increase average sales by 34%.

79% of the best marketers have already been using marketing automation for years now.

But… it’s typically only the largest marketing teams who’re implementing successfully.

While 60%+ of marketers use email to keep in touch with customers and prospects, only around 13% use marketing automation. (Despite the fact that marketing automation can deliver twice as many leads as the normal mass email approach.)

Even more concerning, only 85% of B2B marketers reportedly feel like they’re not using it to its fullest extent.

That’s a shame. Because beyond the amazing lead nurturing powers we’ve already discussed, it’s ALSO one of the best ways to scale the efforts of any small, scrappy team looking for an automated way to nurture prospective leads (so it’s not another thing that falls into the lap of the founder, principal or partner).

Marketing automation is also an excellent agency tactic because it perfectly aligns with a consultative sales process that you should be using (here’s a primer on SPIN selling I wrote for HubSpot with more background information).

Here’s how it works.

Using one of your favorite email marketing tools (we use and love HubSpot and recommend AutopilotHQ as an alternative, but you can even use MailChimp if money’s tight) you can set up workflows that automatically trigger pre-crafted emails at predetermined intervals.

Example workflow

Each of these workflows should have a goal or objective, like “Fill out Form XYZ” or “Purchase Widget ABC”. When someone on your email list achieves your desired goal, they’re automatically removed from this list so they don’t receive any other now-irrelevant offers. (Many times you’ll even simultaneously add them automatically to a new workflow in order to achieve a different purpose.)

You can also get uber-nerdy, creating different If, Then conditional statements for people who DO (or don’t) open or click an email, creating endless branches of customization until your heart’s content.

Agencies and marketers everywhere commonly implement this stuff for clients. It ain’t brain surgery. For example, ecommerce shops commonly have ‘Cart Abandonment Workflows’ that follow up with people who add products to their cart but don’t follow through with a purchase.

For example, you can sweeten the deal with a timely discount or free shipping. You can also introduce scarcity by urging people to purchase one of the last remaining items before they run out of stock. Or, highlight any other limited-time bonus, like Audible sent me recently:

Audible email

These emails are popular, because they work. Personalized, timely emails like this result in 14% better click-throughs and 10% better conversion rates.

Marketers are very familiar with setting these up for clients. Trouble is, they rarely set them up for themselves.

It’s obviously not a lack of knowledge or skill. It’s usually some combination of meeting existing client deadlines, responding to urgent requests and pricing out new projects.

But don’t worry, because I’ve already done the work for you. Simply adjust the following workflows for your own agency.

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Workflow #1: site visitors -> interested contacts

Your first objective is to grab the attention of current website visitors and turn them into interested contacts.

These are people who aren’t quite leads yet, but can be in the future if you nurture them properly (and if the timing is right for them).

People at the top of the funnel (TOFU, in HubSpot parlance) lack awareness for your services. (In other words, they don’t necessarily realize that they need you just yet.) More likely, they’re looking for SEO tips, web design trends or similarly educational, information-based content.

Grab people’s interest with topic-focused content offers. Viral-inducing infographics are perfect, like this excellent Landing Page Anatomy gifographic from KlientBoost.

At the bottom of the post, you’ll see the customary CTA featuring a proposal offer.

KlientBoost CTA

Most people find your blog posts through one of two ways:

  1. Referrals (at the beginning)
  2. Organic search (over the long-term)

Blog posts like the example above that targets “Landing Page Anatomy” will generally bring people in through organic search. As such, they’re probably looking for information and education. (In other words, they’re likely not looking for expensive, custom, done-for-you services quite yet.)

One thing to try testing here if these people aren’t ready to talk proposals, is to try a softer sell with a downloadable guide, checklist, ebook and so on.

The benefit of leading with a soft sell (i.e., downloadable guide) over a hard one (i.e., consultation) is getting more leads to opt-in, giving you the chance to nurture them over time with inbound marketing campaigns.

IMPACT does something similar right on their homepage, offering a free guide to download immediately.

Impact homepage form

Workflow #2: interested contacts -> marketing leads

The second step is to subtly get your new interested contacts to raise their hand and become a marketing lead.

That gives you the cue to begin proceeding with a more direct, hard sale.

How exactly?

Continue building interest and trust in your services through case studies and other educational resources that bridge the gap between information and solutions your services offer.

You can get super sophisticated with clever lead scoring techniques that give you quantifiable averages based on pageviews, site visitors and more. But that’s time consuming and imprecise.

If we’re emphasizing speed here, just create a basic service-related offer and ask people to download it if they’re interested.

For example, when you try reaching out to San Diego firm Digital Telepathy, they’ll send you a playbook which provides some more details about how they work (and what you can expect).

Playbook form

People who make this subtle transition to inquiring about your services are now entering that middle of the funnel (MOFU) step. By filling out a service-related form on your website, they’re  expressing explicit interest in what you have to offer.

Digital Telepathy uses their Playbook to provide more information about how their services work. However you can also use a calculator-like tool to show the ROI, or even a video/webinar that details what a typical project looks like (and what it might cost).

Here’s a simple cadence to get them there:

  • Day 3: Tips article
  • Day 7: Opinion article
  • Day 10: CTA – MOFU offer
  • Day 14: Tips article
  • Day 17: Opinion article
  • Day 20: CTA – MOFU offer
  • Day 24: Tips article
  • Day 27: Opinion article
  • Day 30: CTA – MOFU offer

These emails should be personal and largely unstyled, because the one thing that separates services companies is YOU. Everyone “does SEO” or “designs websites.” Look around at the biggest agencies, and you’ll quickly notice they’re selling themselves, their people and their culture.

Codeless email

From a design standpoint, this email sucks. Especially that awkward looking guy’s face. But it’s personal, meant to prioritize a one-on-one connection (rather than our design brilliance).

And most importantly, it was easy to create. If marketers can strip away additional required resources (e.g., design and development), you can speed up creation and deployment (which is critical if you’re building out ~30 of these over the next few days).

PRO TIP: Upload your segmented email list (for example, one ‘group’ or segmented list for each step of the funnel discussed so far) to create a Facebook Ad Custom Audience and run remarketing campaigns to make multi-channel marketing a practical, scalable and affordable reality for scrappy upstarts.

Workflow #3: marketing leads -> sales leads

People can be qualified as a marketing lead when they’ve met some basic criteria and shown some interest in your services.

You want to move people from the middle of the funnel (MOFU) to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

The goal is to turn these middle of the funnel (MOFU) leads into ones ready to move into the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) and get on the phone to discuss scope, pricing and more.


Benchmark your prospect against the competition to quickly highlight where they are now with where they want to be (or where their competition already is).

Here’s the next workflow cadence to implement:

  • Day 3: Detailed ‘How-To’ article
  • Day 7: Case study
  • Day 10: CTA – BOFU offer
  • Day 14: Detailed ‘How-To’ article
  • Day 17: Case study
  • Day 20: CTA – BOFU offer
  • Day 24: Detailed ‘How-To’ article
  • Day 27: Case study
  • Day 30: CTA – BOFU offer

Look: I’m no sales expert.

But I do know that if you can show people (quantifiably) where they are now alongside where they want to be and where their competition already is, your chances of closing that sh*t just went up exponentially.

So instead of the basic free consultation that excites no one, offer something that compares and contrasts a company with their own aspirations.

For example, Wordstream found huge success when they shifted their initial offer to an AdWords Grader that breaks down how a company’s campaign performance is doing currently with what they could (or should) be doing.

Moz Local does something similar, highlighting the amount of inconsistent, duplicate or missing local listing information that’s holding you back.

(Here are a few more B2B offer examples like these if you’re interested).

The goal is to detail your prospect’s problems in real time and offer up compelling solutions to fix them (which is the exact Problem Agitate Solution copywriting formula employed on the daily).

One example that makes me infinitely jealous and I will NOT hesitate to steal emulate is IMPACT’s ROI calculator:

ROI calculator

Your emails to get people to these offers can be the same style and tone as previous ones (more-or-less). Here’s another imperfect, yet implemented email example:

Codeless email

Same crappy email template. Same goofy looking dude.

But the overall goal is the same: come across as a real, friendly person who can be a helpful asset.

Workflow #4: sales prospect -> happy new client

Once you’ve had the chance to meet one-on-one with new prospects, you’ll probably start following up personally.

But there’s no reason to stop automating your efforts just yet — use it to help build trust and urgency (or simply take care of those leads that become unresponsive when attempting to follow up).

Here’s the next workflow cadence to implement:

  • Day 3: Meeting notes or recap
  • Day 10: Video overview of the next steps
  • Day 17: Calculator (their expected ROI)
  • Day 20: Case study and testimonial
  • Day 24: Case study and testimonial
  • Day 30. Breakup template

That last step is especially important. You know when you follow up with a new prospect, over and over and over again, only to hear crickets in return? Break up, don’t follow up.

Even something simple should do:


I’ve tried following up a few times but haven’t heard anything back. I’m going to assume this is no longer a priority for you right now.

Best of luck going forward!

– Brad

When all’s said and done, you’ve turned strangers into contacts or subscribers, turned those contacts into true marketing leads, and then whittled down a list of sales prospects who want to talk shop one-on-one. And they’re about to finally close.

Well played. You should celebrate. Go on, you deserve it.

Say it with me now, “I. Am. The. Best.” Image via Giphy.

But don’t stop automatically following up with clients once they sign on the dotted line.

Instead, remove the possibility of buyer’s remorse and encourage referrals by continuing to send emails consistently to new clients.

Pawel Grabowski wrote an excellent agency onboarding template recently on Agency Analytics that suggested the following sequence:

  1. Welcome message: Exactly as it sounds. Welcome new clients and continue reinforcing the value you’ll deliver. You can also send over important documents that might require their feedback as well.
  2. Break the silence: Explain your agency process and provide quick updates while your team is busy heads down getting the project rolling.
  3. First deliverable: Send frequent deliverable updates as items within the project’s scope get accomplished.
  4. Educational materials: Provide supporting details or documents that help set the context and expectations for clients.
  5. Follow up: Feign face-time with consistent project updates to make sure clients know they’re loved, appreciated and understood.

You can also use these automation techniques to de-personalize some interactions.

Here’s what I mean:

I’ve often found it’s difficult, awkward or just uncomfortable to ask clients for direct feedback to improve or for testimonials when a project is winding down.

It’s natural to feel like you’re imposing when asking this of clients. And many times they feel put on the spot and don’t react as you’d like (candidly).

To avoid this, bolster your onboarding sequence with simple project management email templates and surveys to go out after 30 or 45 days of working together:

Codeless feedback email

Using a single, all-in-one tool for all your client communication also has the added benefit of banking answers. For example, HubSpot’s smart form fields will save answers previously provided (like name, etc.) so that future forms won’t keep asking for duplicate information (thereby annoying clients who’ve responded to a few of these).

There’s a delicate balance that you need to strike when using automation with agency clients, because you don’t want to come across as unprofessional by asking redundant, duplicate questions that may have been already been addressed.


Marketing agencies struggle on a daily basis, just like our clients, to find the time and resources to properly promote our businesses.

Being in a client services position only exacerbates this problem, forcing us to continually put client needs ahead of our own.

When you’re slammed with projects, consistent agency promotion declines (or stops entirely).

Marketing automation is the perfect solution, tailor-made to help you nurture and follow up with interested leads at scale.

It can help you bridge the gap between site visitors ready to receive a proposal from… the other 98% of your website visitors.

And when executed properly, marketing automation should also seamlessly fit into your consultative sales approach.

That means a few days of hard work can deliver you with a systematic process to incrementally build trust over the long-term, until your prospects are ready to become clients (and even loyal referrers).


Marketing Automation Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

content marketing glossary - what is marketing automation?

Ever find yourself in a conversation with your boss or a client and she mentions implementing marketing automation?

Did you understand her request, or did the conversation grind to a halt because you’re not familiar with the term?

If you fall into the second category, you’re not alone.

Marketing automation is a hot topic these days, and its popularity has grown rapidly since 2013, but it can be tricky to define.

What exactly is marketing automation?

Watch our 60-second video about marketing automation

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.

Here’s our video for the definition of marketing automation:

Animation by The Draw Shop

And for those of you who would prefer to read, here’s the transcript:

Marketing automation refers to software used by people and companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing workflows by automating repetitive marketing tasks.

In other words, it performs certain manual marketing tasks for you. Night and day. Rain or shine.

Here’s an example of how it works:

Imagine someone downloads one of your ebooks. Marketing automation software will capture the contact information from the form, segment that lead based upon the information it gathered, and then send them an appropriate series of emails over a prescribed time.

Share this video

Click here to check out this definition on YouTube and share it with your audience. You’ll also find 11 additional Content Marketing Glossary videos.

Learn more from the Content Marketing Glossary

We’ll feature the rest of the videos soon, but if you’d prefer not to wait, you can watch all the videos now by going directly to the Content Marketing Glossary.

If you would like to learn more about marketing automation, visit these three resources:

By the way, let us know if there are any definitions you’d like us to add to the glossary! Just drop your responses in the comments below.

The post Marketing Automation Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video] appeared first on Copyblogger.


Marketing Automation and Creativity: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

As marketing automation and data-driven marketing become increasingly important, some marketers feel that creativity is being sacrificed. In this post we'll demonstrate how to get the perfect blend of both and why they should inform one another if you want to achieve real marketing success.

Some people are prone to believe that technology is destroying creativity, particularly within the marketing department. This probably goes back some way; you could imagine a caveman looking at a paintbrush, tutting and wondering what these kids will come up with next. More often than not, people are reluctant to adapt to change.

For this reason, new tools always cause an issue – whether it’s poor adoption rates, or tools being used incorrectly. The thing is, they often end up finding their place and we wonder how we ever accomplished tasks without them. Data driven marketing and automation are no exceptions.

Data mining

When data driven marketing and automation works, it can be brilliant. Identifying the right upselling prospects because of the right analytics will save time and improve profitability as a result. Your competition puts a lot of its own data out in the public domain through social media. All of this information can be utilised to your advantage, as that data can help you to identify and build a group of independent endorsements for your goods or services as a result of marketing to competitors’ customers.

Content marketing

The use of data-driven marketing and automation has certainly added a strategic and scientific element to marketing, but creativity can be established via other methods – such as content marketing. This is a strategy that is largely increasing across marketing departments a a whole. According to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 76% of marketers are increasing investment in content marketing in 2016 year-over-year from 2015. 

Creative content can manifest in blogs, infographics, white papers and SlideShares and more. This creativity will attract people to your company and product offerings. A computer company might – instead of putting a lot of information about their own offerings up – offer technical tips instead, or advice on work/life balance in a continually connected world – so people start to visit the website as a regular activity rather than just when they need something.

In this way, companies and their content will be top-of-mind when a customer need arises. 

For companies who do not have the capacity to create content in-house, there are alternatives such as outsourcing that can help you to stay one step ahead of competitors. Any outsourcing partner must understand your brand values, tone and content.

However you choose to be creative, authenticity is key. 

Combining content and data

Creativity can pave the way for data-driven marketing and automation. By creating quality content, whether that’s through your company’s blog or even through social media platforms, such as LinkedIn groups or Twitter, you can gather important information about prospects, customers and advocates. Not only will you be able to identify where those people are and how to target them, but by encouraging them to download contact via filling in forms, you can capture essential details that will help you to create sales.

Creativity is a great way to capture interest and thus, ever more important data. Marketing shouldn’t be driven by one or the other, but should be informed by both creativity and data. By creating quality pieces that attract prospects and customers in the first place, you can analyse the data. This data can then be used to inform the next round of content creation – making sure your creativity is even more influential next time. And that’s how marketers can use marketing automation and creativity. You really can have your cake and eat it.


Creativity should be central to your marketing strategy as it will attract prospects and customers.

More content can generate more contacts which will provide you with more data. This can be automated to help you with targeting and pushing prospects through from Marketing to Sales.

The data you garner can be used to inform the next round of creative content creation, making your marketing more influential.

Marketers can have their cake and eat – using both creativity and marketing automation.

And when it comes marketing automation, yes it is powerful. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Download Marketing Automation Simplified which delivers the healthy tenets of Modern Marketing on a platter and breaks down the big ideas in an easily digestible small guide that won’t put you to sleep—or keep you up at night.

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3 Trending Advancements in Marketing Automation

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “marketing automation” before. In today’s business world, it’s a buzzword that has been dissected and analyzed hundreds of times. And for good reason, too. According to a Forrester report, 58% of all top performing companies use marketing automation softwares to aid their marketing efforts. Clearly, we’re well on our way to standardizing the use of marketing automation. With that mind, we’ve determined to go one step further than all of the other articles out there. We want to know, what are the consequences of marketing automation and how will they affect the average marketer?

3 Trending Advancements in Marketing Automation

Using Social Media In Tandem

Often, marketers forget that marketing automation is meant to complement their already established marketing efforts, namely their social media marketing campaigns. Social media permits marketers and salespeople to slowly nurture a relationship with their prospects, so that their prospects can learn about their brand and eventually become primed for a phone call. Thus, analyzing social media is a great way to gain insights on the type of customers you’re attracting, where your customers are in the sales cycle, which emails are working best, which tweets are bringing in the most traffic, and more. And, this is exactly the type of information you receive when you marry social media management platforms and marketing automation platforms. Essentially, it allows marketers and salespeople to create user-specific information, which they can then analyze to perfect their lead generation and sales nurturing techniques.

Shift from Personalization to Prediction

Lately, many marketers are talking about the rising importance of personalization in their marketing campaigns, but we’re also seeing an incredible increase in automated predictive analytics platforms. Essentially, simply personalizing content and score leads in real time isn’t enough in today’s tech oriented sales and marketing environment. Rather, marketers should be proactive use marketing automation to predict consumer interactions before they actually take place. This way, by visualizing each customer’s interaction and conversion cycle, marketers can stay one step ahead.

In specific, marketing automated predictive analytics enables marketers to easily discover which prospects are about to buy and which have the greatest revenue potential. It does so by reading and analyzing buying signals all throughout the sales cycle and process. That way, marketers can target the customers they know for a fact are primed and ready to buy – easing their job and taking out time wasted on stubborn prospects.

Cross-Channel Campaigns

Single channel marketing, be it mobile, digital, or offline can not stand on it’s own today. Customers are used to interacting with their favorite consumer brands on any given channel and they expect this same type of business interaction in B2B. When new channels are popping up out of nowhere each and every day, marketers can use their marketing automation platform to incorporate each of these channels as soon as they hit the scene.

By utilizing a marketing automation platform marketers are able to handle all of your marketing communications and you can ensure all messages, regardless of the channel originated, are from one place. This way your brand’s message stays highly consistent and relevant throughout your entire campaign.

Of course it’s relevant to utilize your email, mobile, social, and web channels but the offline channels are heard about less frequently. Marketing automation solutions effectively allow you to bring together your online and offline channels so the messages are no longer obsolete and competing against one another, but rather managed and measured effectively in one place as a part of one campaign.

Marketing automation is changing all of the time and as the marketing industry innovates, new techniques keep arising to make the lives of marketers easier. What other trends have you noticed in marketing automation? What changes would you like to see made in the future?

The post 3 Trending Advancements in Marketing Automation appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

Social Media Explorer

Marketing automation — evil or misunderstood?

marketing automationWhen the subject of marketing automation comes up, many purists shake their head and talk about how robotic and impersonal it is.  Well — if you do it badly, that’s very true.

In that case — you really do make your potential customers feel like they’re just a number to you and that you treat everyone the same, with little regard to their specific needs.

But when you build the system with your customer in mind — it can be a wonderful experience for them and for you.

It all depends on if you build it once and put it on auto pilot or if you use it as a tool to serve up exactly what each visitor is looking for.

Automation allows you to create a user experience that puts the user in the driver’s seat. They can access the exact information they want, when they want it — and how they want it.  The key is to realize that different people are going to have different needs and you need to anticipate that as you build out the options.  Even more important — once you start getting visitors, you need to learn from where they go and don’t want to go.

It’s a given that every potential customer probably isn’t going to want exactly the same information.  As you watch and learn — you can create new paths and test the results.  At the end of the day, thanks to automation, you can create multiple paths, so each person can have a different experience, based on their own needs and interests.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Recently, the folks at Marketo asked me to comment on the question “can big data lead to big love?” Check out the article and my comments.

If you’re using marketing automation to make it easy for you and only you, then it probably isn’t going to work so well.  But if you use it as a tool to serve your customers better — it can indeed lead to big love.

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