2015 was deemed, The Year of Marketing Automation (MA). It really should come as no surprise though, as marketers are spending an upwards of 50% (Hubspot) of their time on creating content these days. With the ever-growing workload, marketers needed a way to scale, and they needed it fast—what better way to do that than to use marketing automation?
Last year, at fiscal's end, the industry grew to a sizeable $5.5 Billion market (Brandpipe); cementing itself as a legit pillar in business tech. As we enter the new year, marketing automation doesn't appear to have any intention of slowing down either. If you look at this Google Trends Graph that measures the number of times “marketing automation” is searched, you'll notice a steady increase in interest since 2013—and if you follow the trend into 2016, undoubtedly, we’re in for another landmark year.
Here are some marketing automation predictions for 2016.
Marketing automation platforms will get more specialized
The leading marketing automation platforms like Marketo and Pardot are these large monolithic platforms built to service a broad range of industries. While they might aptly serve the corporate space, they lack the nimbleness and specificity to be effective in niche markets.
As both technology and marketing gets more personalized, watch out for niche marketing automation solutions this year, as they’ll start pulling market share away from the legacy players. Why? They’re faster, they’re thinner and they’re programmed with industry data, relevant APIs and partner integrations that align with specific markets—making them more desirable for smaller businesses.
Marketing automation platforms will focus on automation
On average, it takes 59% of businesses up to six months, and 17% (Pepper Global) up to a year to fully adopt and implement a marketing automation platform, and 61% (EmailMonday) agree the implementation process is difficult. Wow, sounds like a lot of work just to get set up and running, right? Plus, when you factor in that some of these platforms offer Training-as-a-Service, it doesn’t exactly scream "automated."
Furthermore, marketers lament that the lack of quality content (EmailMonday) is the number one reason impeding their marketing automation success. "Quality content," meaning the solution isn’t smart enough to create personalized stories and effectively communicate to the people on the recieving end. This forces users to manually create content and campaigns—which ultimately kills ROI.
In 2016, I predict droves of marketers, will be seeking alternative marketing automation solutions that will actually scale their adoption process and content automation.
Emerging niche solutions will indeed make a big splash this year, as the genesis of their platforms was to alleviate these pain points. Did you know some companies are fully onboarding users in under two weeks? Perfect for marketers looking to switch vendors and get up and running seamlessly.
On the content side of things, since niche solutions are focusing on specific markets, they’re able to personalize communications by probing external data sources and collecting actual data about prospects/customers you’re engaging with, all on its own. Then has the intelligence to create detailed marketing stories, rather than reuse assumptive ones from generic templates—and deliver them via email on your behalf. While it’s not iRobot just yet, it's definitely pushing the needle in the right direction.
Smaller business marketing automation adoption rates will skyrocket
2016 will see an onslaught of small and medium-sized business getting into the marketing automation game. The idea of using a marketing automation platform has typically been reserved only for enterprise companies, as they have the large sized customer-base, training support and resource bandwidth to accommodate it.
This year that ideology will break, and marketing automation will be accessible to everyone. With the rise of niche marketing solutions, smaller companies will have access to technology that’s less sophisticated and built for their company size and market.
If you’re a growing business, and want to bust through barriers, 2016 will provide an amazing opportunity for you to explore marketing automation that’s designed for you.