Marketing Automation is growing. Even before Covid, the marketing automation industry was growing over 10% year over year.
The global Covid crisis has accelerated this development. More and more companies are investing in digital technologies, and the results speak for themselves: 80% of companies have been able to increase both their leads and conversions with marketing automation. And 91% of users agree that marketing automation is essential to the overall success of their online marketing activities.
It’s no surprise then that marketing automation is one of the fastest growing digital marketing industries, expected to reach $8.42 billion dollars by 2027.
In this post, we present the five marketing automation trends that we think will define 2022, and that you should know if you want to take full advantage of marketing automation opportunities.
Right from the start: AI and the end of the cookie are only mentioned in passing. You’ll find out why at the end of the article.
So let’s take a look at how the industry is evolving and what exciting features you might want to take advantage of right now and in the near future.
1. Personalization vs. privacy
Digital marketing experts estimate that consumers are exposed to at least 400 ads a day. And that’s the most conservative estimate: calculations range up to 10,000 ads a day.
72% of customers state accordingly that they only respond to personalized marketing communications. At the same time, an increasing number of consumers are concerned about the protection of their data:
So while customers want to see information that is relevant to them, it makes them uncomfortable when they realize they are being “stalked.” Consumers get this feeling especially when sales tactics seem sneaky to them. And the tactics seem sneaky when:
- consumers were unaware that their data was being tracked
- their data is used more widely than was communicated to them proactively
- there is no obvious way to opt out of the use of data
- they get the feeling of being reduced to an advertising target
- and when they notice that companies make incorrect assumptions about their interests
The costs of these tactics are high: 63% of consumers say they stop buying when they are annoyed by perceived data misuse.
So if companies want to continue to be successful in digital marketing, they need to show that they take data privacy seriously, e.g., by providing easy-to-understand privacy statements with details of where and how the data is stored and processed. They need to work with the trust of their customers and treat them as partners, not targets.
An ideal way to obtain data in a trustworthy manner is to collect so-called zero-party data. This is data that customers offer voluntarily and knowingly, for example, to participate in a webinar, contest, or survey. Customers are also willing to share data to get a discount, get a problem solved, or receive a notification about a sold-out product. In all these cases, too, it should be made transparent how and to what extent the data will be used after the specific interaction has been completed.
All of this may seem limiting. But forward-thinking companies already recognize the inherent opportunities. By building their marketing strategies on trust and transparency, they can create real connections with their audiences and remove the obstacles that can stand in the way of a long-term relationship.
Thus, good personalized communication is needed that gives customers the feeling that their needs are understood and taken seriously. However, 66% of marketers say they lack the resources to implement personalized advertising campaigns. This is where affordable and privacy-oriented marketing automation solutions like Friendly Automate come in.
Good marketing automation software lets you automate campaigns with little effort, offering customers highly personalized content that matches their preferences and product interests, their interaction history, and their consumer status. Marketing automation can thus promote customer communication that is personalized, contextualized, and fosters trust and sympathy in the brand.
2. Own Your Audience
If you’re advertising on social media, your audience belongs to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social media network. Even if advertising on social media has worked well for you so far, and even if social media advertising continues to be included in numerous marketing trend lists, we think you should be concerned. Why?
First, because the organic reach of free social media posts is steadily declining, as this graphic shows based on the examples of Facebook and Instagram:
So you’ll increasingly need to spend financial resources to reach your audience on social media with paid advertising.
Secondly, even with paid ads on these platforms, you are still dependent on numerous algorithms. You put the advertising in someone else’s hands and can’t control whether your ad actually reaches your target audience and whether your target audience even hears you in the marketing noise.
Thirdly, advertising is unpopular among social media users, and the sympathy of your future customers is a potential you should not squander.
That’s why in 2022, you should own your audience again.
Surprisingly, email remains the most popular channel among customers, far ahead of advertising on social media and other channels such as mailings, text messages and promotional calls.
Besides your own company website, email is thus the second central channel that you have in your own hands and which is not controlled by another company.
The inbox of your target audience is an area where customers deliberately let you in. They are actively interested in your products and want to receive relevant, personalized recommendations to which they will respond with purchases: A study by Cheetah Digital and E-consultancy showed that email marketing increased sales by 180% compared to display ads. 78% of marketers also say that email contributes significantly to their business success.
This makes email marketing one of the top trends for marketing automation in 2022.
3. Content Is No Longer the King, Simplicity Is
In the early days of the Internet, Bill Gates coined the phrase: “Content is King.” He predicted that the Internet as a “marketplace for content” would prove extremely lucrative for companies. That was in 1996, and today people are drowning in the tons of content on the Internet.
The flood of mediocre content is becoming more and more annoying and consumers are less and less willing to tolerate it.
What is needed today is simplicity. Or to put it another way: “Content is no longer the king, simplicity is.“
What customers want is selected, high-quality information that is easy to understand and, above all, relevant to them. They want a unique twist, a good idea.
That means you don’t have to post something every day. It’s better to provide high-quality, relevant and engaging content less frequently. Don’t go for the masses, but reduce to the essentials.
This is also true on the flip side: many marketers have limited resources and don’t venture into marketing automation. It seems too big, too complex and too expensive.
But in the long run, marketing automation is the only way to deliver more relevant content with less effort.
Once again, the key is to choose a cost-effective marketing automation solution and start with a single simple workflow. From there, you can build out your automations incrementally. Then, automation gradually frees your team from manual processes so they can focus on other tasks. This way, you create a sustainable foundation for the scalability of your marketing activities.
4. Customer Retention Is Better Than Customer Acquisition
Advertising successfully doesn’t just mean winning new customers. It also means reactivating existing relationships. Why is this so important to keep in mind?
Retaining existing customers and motivating them to buy again is 5x cheaper than attracting new customers. Existing customers already have trust in the brand and the paths are shorter.
But while this is true, many companies don’t have this big lever on their radar. While 44% of businesses focus on new customer acquisition, only 18% consciously focus on customer retention. Yet a 5% increase in customer retention can positively impact a company’s profitability by more than 75%, according to a Bain & Company report. And the likelihood of selling something to an existing customer is 60-70% compared to only 5-20% for new customers.
The key factor in retaining existing customers is their user experience. Satisfied customers will act as brand ambassadors among their friends. Consumers today trust the reviews and recommendations of their acquaintances much more than advertising. Therefore, it is essential to keep customers happy and provide them with continuous positive experiences with the brand. According to Forbes, this pays off in higher conversion and retention rates.
Again, personalized email marketing is the key channel, as this graphic on the most effective digital marketing tactics for customer engagement shows:
5. Better Integration With Sales
While Marketing and Sales form different departments of a company, it is obvious that they work towards the same goal, namely to grow and advance the company.
In reality, however, these departments don’t always work together efficiently, for example, by not automatically synchronizing customer data and not defining goals together.
Only 23% of salespeople say marketers hand them sales-ready leads. Aligning marketing and sales can lead to 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales profit rates. There is great potential here.
Marketing automation can greatly streamline these processes. Good marketing automation software can not only automate various workflows, but it also provides a wealth of information that can be used to make better decisions in all areas of the business.
Marketing automation gives you a complete picture that allows both the marketing team and the sales team to understand where your leads are coming from, how they are behaving, and how they are progressing toward a purchase. This can help both teams align their goals based on verifiable factors, provide the sales team with the best possible results, and continually adjust marketing efforts based on success rates.
In addition to good personal communication, good collaboration requires integrations at the software level: an integration of the marketing automation software with the sales CRM, and sales reporting and mutual updating of lead status to accurately reflect the success of specific marketing campaigns.
What about AI?
The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in marketing has been hyped for years among marketing trends for the following year.
Reality, however, has been showing for years: Only corporate giants like Amazon, Netflix and Starbucks can afford practical solutions, and this is likely to remain the case in the coming years.
While 48% of companies are already using marketing automation (2019 figures, and rising), only 8% of companies are using artificial intelligence. So for the large number of small and medium-sized companies, this is (still) pie in the sky.
Are cookies dying? Yes and no. Cookies are fundamentally important to the functioning of the Internet. At the same time, they are a threat to privacy. How does this fit together?
Cookies are a technology that allows a website to uniquely identify a visitor:in. It is important to distinguish between so-called first-party cookies and third-party cookies.
A first-party cookie comes from the website that a visitor is currently visiting. Such a cookie is set, for example, when a visitor logs in. Without this technology, a visitor would have to log in again for each visit.
A third-party cookie, on the other hand, comes from another website, meaning a third party. These are usually advertising networks such as those of Google and Facebook or tracking tools such as Google Analytics.
The announced “end of the cookie” is only about third-party cookies. The browsers Firefox and Safari already block these or delete them after a short time, Chrome is expected to follow suit after all not until 2023.
For marketers, this means that web tracking across multiple websites will become less accurate or even impossible.
That’s why it’s worth it to already invest in obtaining zero-party data today (see above, trend 1) and to establish direct access to leads and customers without detours via the advertising networks (trend 2).
By the way, our own software is not affected by the end of third-party cookies. Starting from the Pro version, our customers can operate Friendly Automate under their own (sub-)domain and thus employ first-party cookies.
Marketing automation is more relevant than ever. Choose an affordable and privacy-compliant marketing automation solution, focus on the right communication channels, start with simple workflows, take care of existing customers, and integrate sales and marketing – and you’ll be well on your way for 2022.
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