Since the introduction of the first customer relationship management (CRM) platforms decades ago, marketing automation – broadly defined as the use of software to automate repetitive marketing tasks, such as email marketing, lead nurturing and digital ad campaigns, making these tasks much faster and easier to do – has been invaluable in helping B2B marketers stay top-of-mind with so much competition for people’s attention.
Over the last several years, there have been incredible strides in marketing automation to help understand customer behavior in the marketing funnel and help make more informed decisions that attract and convert customers. Keeping up with the latest tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are helping to deliver a hyper-personalized customer experience across multiple channels, can be challenging. But the benefit is substantial – allowing B2B businesses to be everywhere simultaneously with a consistent voice.
With 2023 fast approaching, let’s look at five innovations and trending technologies in marketing automation that will show high adoption rates. In the coming year, include these five items in your B2B growth marketing strategy to reach your target audience more quickly and with greater precision and higher rates of engagement and scale.
1. Mobile Marketing Strategy
Whether waiting in line at the grocery store or taking the train to work, you’ll find people staring at their screens. They’re spending more time than ever conducting business on mobile, which has led to a push by B2B brands to implement marketing automation tools that enhance their mobile presence. People expect the same B2B digital experiences and features they encounter as consumers.
Marketing automation tools have played a central role in the digital transformation of B2B brands. Integrating mobile elements, such as SMS and push notifications, into your overall marketing funnel will help capture target audiences and ensure your business is everywhere your customer is today.
Chatbots have come a long way. Once viewed as an annoying pop-up, they’ve proven to be a valuable customer service feature on websites that can increase customer trust and your business’s credibility. Thanks to artificial intelligence, chatbots have become much more intelligent. B2B businesses increasingly find chatbots save time and money while providing a key point of interaction with leads in the customer-buyer journey. From answering support inquiries to helping qualify leads in the sales process, chatbots are assisting businesses to focus on more high-value interactions with customers. Rather than a potential lead calling or sending an email to request a quote, chatbots can expedite the process by asking qualifying questions and routing them to the best point of contact. As chatbot technology continues to improve and customer expectations increase for 24/7 access to answers, so will the importance of chatbots as part of an overall marketing automation strategy.
3. Omnichannel Marketing
B2B buyers expect the same ease and convenience that B2C consumers have when shopping online or engaging with their favorite brands on Instagram. They want the same digital access to brands and speed of service as when ordering a pair of jeans or a meal with just one click. For B2B businesses, adopting an omnichannel marketing approach provides high-quality customer interaction during every step of the buyer’s journey. Marketing automation can help brands leverage a multi-screen approach and manage the different communication channels their customers utilize. We recommend that businesses continue to add channels to their marketing strategy. Where they might have used only one or two channels in the past, marketing automation now supports four or five channels and can provide a seamless experience across them all.
4. Focus on Marketing Automation Funnel
According to Gartner’s Future of B2B Buying Journey Report, quality information through digital channels has made it easier for B2B buyers to gather information independently. This new approach means sellers now have fewer opportunities to influence customer decisions. So, how can businesses provide the right information at the optimal time to leads? That’s where the marketing automation funnel comes in. By focusing on providing customers with information relevant to each step of the buyer’s journey, you personalize an otherwise impersonal digital experience. The previous practice of responding in a piecemeal fashion to customers can now be replaced by triggers and rules along the funnel to automatically respond to customers using a CRM platform, such as HubSpot.
5. Automating Social Media Marketing
The use of social media for business continues to skyrocket, with 93% of B2B marketers worldwide utilizing these platforms. In a study by Sprout Social, over half of the executives surveyed anticipated their social marketing budgets would increase by over 50% by 2024. B2B marketers must spend more time creating relevant content to meet their audiences where they consume information. Marketing automation tools such as scheduling platforms can efficiently handle a multitude of tasks. What’s more, these tools provide analytics and even ai-powered content generation to assist businesses in delivering relevant content at optimal times for better performance. As social media becomes integral to B2B growth marketing, the need to automate these tasks for better results also increases.
In the new year, B2B businesses will leverage marketing automation tools to streamline marketing efforts for more impactful results. At GMG, we’re marketing automation specialists — from HubSpot, mobile marketing and omnichannel tactics to automating your social media and leveraging chatbots. Our experts can help you navigate the rapidly evolving world of marketing automation and help your business stay ahead of the curve and thrive.