‘Marketing automation’ simply refers to — you guessed it — those technologies that automate the marketing process. Think emails, direct mail, and perhaps more importantly understanding lead flow and lead behavior to identify the right target groups for your campaigns. All integrated — usually — with a CRM system to which the leads are handed over.
But nothing stays the same for long. There are major trends afoot in this space, both of which smart organizations need to stay on top of.
The first has been the extension into the B2C space. That makes sense — if anything marketing has more to offer in the B2B space, and digital marketing techniques in particular have made B2C marketing just as ‘automatable” an activity as its B2B cousin. It does demand, however, a level of scalability that is something marketing automation hasn’t had to handle in the past.
The second has been the rise of mobile. There’s almost no need to go over the statistics again. Let’s just use one - the mobile app will account for more internet traffic in 2015 than the desktop and mobile web combined. That probably says enough. What it means is that marketing automation needs to be cognizant of the fact that our relationships with users — or potential customers — now needs to encompass those campaigns delivered on mobile.
So What’s Next?
In response to those two trends we’ve reached a place where it’s possible to deliver campaigns to mobile users, and at scale if desired. And these campaigns can be informed (scratch that — NEED to be informed) by detailed understanding of user behavior, and thus targeted to be effective.
But we need to get beyond simply campaigns. I don’t believe that it will be enough to simply ‘deliver’ users to the front door of the app home page and then leave them be.
That’s where push notifications, for example, run out of road. They are typically used in some pretty unimaginative ways simply to bring people to that door. And the fact that they are often targeted indiscriminately means that often they aren’t particularly effective even at that level. In many cases they are guilty of stepping over the line into interrupt driven spam. No wonder many users put them straight into the ‘ignore this’ file.
Where the tools of email and push end, I see true mobile marketing beginning — right there in the app. That interpretation of mobile marketing means delivering true real-time conversations and in the moment personalization, all based on a detailed understanding of user activity and behavior.
That’s my vision of mobile marketing automation: the collection of techniques and campaigns: in-app messages, surveys, video, native content changes and yes — push notifications — that can change user behavior. But always informed by the most sophisticated view of the user possible.
That latter point deserves expanding. There are a myriad campaign types, or ways of talking to users within the app out there. But like any conversation, they are only as good as the data that informs it. At Swrve we’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring we can handle user events: to the tune of 5 billion a day at the latest count. That’s important, because it’s the level of granularity our customers demand to really build up a true picture of the user’s behavior in the app. Only then are all those campaigns and message types truly effective.
I see 2015 as the year in which marketing — and mobile marketing in particular — definitively moves beyond getting people to the app and becomes a discipline concerned with what happens in the app.
About the Author
Christopher Dean joined Swrve as its CEO in June of this year, and is also serving in an advisory capacity to both Twin Prime and Appington. Prior to joining Swrve, Christopher was the chief revenue officer at Urban Airship.
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