2021 is light years away from the early marketing automation days when automation was one step above email marketing. Today, marketing automation platforms (MAPs) have matured. Despite their lack of cutting edge features, MAPs still play a critical role in orchestrating the customer experience. Let’s dive into a few trends and insights around marketing automation in 2021.
Data is King of the Marketing Automation Kingdom
Data has always been the lifeblood of marketing automation and will continue to be so. MAPs have done a great job providing intelligence on first-party data such as data collected via clicks, form fills, and web visits.
Looking ahead, we will see more and more companies enriching this first party data with third party data such as buyer intent, technographics and account level intelligence. When fed into the MAP, this added data will enable marketers to improve the customer experience with more relevant nurture streams and communications.
Nurture and Engagement Programs Matter in the Customer Experience
In a 2020 report, PWC found that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80%.
The traditional B2B marketing mix had numerous components such as content syndication, email nurturing, social, and webinars driving awareness and leads. Orchestration means leveraging all of these channels under a unified strategy within your MAP.
Many of the MAPs already support these marketing vehicles. However, the challenge lies in teams working together on these integrated campaigns. Take this example: your email team creates killer emails with great nurturing. However, your advertising side of the house is running the paid media campaigns promoting alternative content. Alignment is key, misalignment is chaos.
As team silos get broken down, we’ll see more companies leveraging the power of marketing automation to orchestrate the customer experience in 2021.
The Shift to Digital Continues
The physical events channel will be almost nonexistent in 2021. Budgets will continue to get redirected into digital channels with leads flowing into the MAP. As part of this shift, we will see more integration with advertising channels.
Adobe announced support for continuous Audience Sync to Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to automate the advertising campaign experience.
Agency Frameworks Streamline Systems
Marketing automation has grown up. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when deploying new MAPs or migrating to new instances. Instead, companies are leveraging agencies for their pre-existing frameworks and managed services.
Digital Pi’s Gold Standard framework helps companies deploy Marketo using a 12-step best practice processes. Sercante uses its methodologies to assist companies with Pardot implementations. Other agencies have developed their own frameworks.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Continues Adoption
We’ve been hearing about the magic of ABM for several years now. Companies are maturing those strategies and we’ll see more and more adoption of ABM features out of the marketing automation platforms this year.
To summarize, marketing automation will continue to power the marketing of many organizations in 2021. While the new features themselves may not revolutionize marketing, companies will evolve their use of the technology to scale their business this year.