by Lauren Littlefield
The world of marketing is in the midst of unprecedented chaos. Marketers are scrambling to identify ways to remain visible and stand out from the crowd. From major changes in the marketing technology landscape to the rapid expansion of social media, consumers, more than ever, are driving marketing efforts. Here are my top three marketing technology trends for 2014.
Renewed Focus on Email & Social Media Marketing
To quote one of my all-time favorite Disney movies, “I want to be where the people are.” Marketers today want to be where their prospects and customers are – they have to be there. And in large part, that means actively participating in social media. However, creating a Twitter feed or Facebook page with no strategy in mind can do more damage than good.
Social media provides an avenue for prospects and customers to interact with a brand. With that comes the expectation that brands will respond appropriately and quickly to feedback, questions or concerns. Brands that aren’t actively responding to their audience run the risk of losing customers or potential customers down the road. However, social media interaction isn’t where the conversation stops.
Technology now allows marketers to identify Twitter followers and Facebook fans, matching them to contact records in CRM software. Imagine the possibilities this information provides a brand! Now marketers can conduct social media and email marketing campaigns, and measure engagement from one platform.
A March 2012 report from Econsultancy and Adestra found that only 9 percent of company marketers surveyed believed their company’s email activity and social media marketing were well integrated. The technology is here – 2014 is the year to get started!
Continued Growth of Marketing Automation
Although marketing automation has caught on and is receiving a lot of press, Forrester Research estimates only about five percent of marketers use a full-featured marketing automation solution. In addition, half of the respondents to a 2011 Focus Survey stated they have not realized the full value of their marketing automation investment, and less than 25 percent use their platforms to their full potential.
For many marketers, their first step into marketing automation occurred when they scheduled an email blast to go out at 7 a.m. on a Monday through their email marketing platform. While this is automating a routine task, it’s not necessarily marketing automation.
Marketing automation software is much more than email marketing. Marketing automation includes lead scoring capabilities to create specific segments of contacts to receive highly targeted and personalized communications. Marketing automation also provides the ability for marketers to launch automated drip and nurturing campaigns.
We’ve come a long way from batch and blast, but as of last year, most organizations weren’t utilizing a marketing automation software. I think we’ll really start to see this number go up 2014.
Lifecycle Marketing Awareness & Adoption
Roughly a year ago, Forrester analyst Cory Munchbach penned a break up letter to the marketing funnel from CMOs:
Dear marketing funnel,
It’s over. We had a good run together, but let’s face it: We’re just not good for each other anymore. And I’ll be honest; it’s you, not me. You’re just too linear, and you don’t prioritize the people that matter to me or care about the activities that I know will make me more efficient and relevant. After decades of good-enough, I’ve found someone who puts people first and recognizes how important it is to get to know them, putting loyalty over one-time encounters. I’ve found my soul mate of the future, and I’m going all in.
I’m sorry, but I’m better than this.
Chief marketing officer
Marketers are realizing the revenue potential of their existing customers. While generating new business is always good, you have to be able to keep the business and grow brand loyal relationships. Ultimately, that’s how you drive revenue.
In 2014, we will see a shift from the traditional goals and objectives of most marketing managers (i.e., generating more leads) to a customer lifecycle approach that focuses not only on winning new business but keeping and growing it as well. Organizations of all sizes and business models should be considering lifecycle marketing software as a tool to help them drive revenue this year.