Sirius Decisions’ Six 2013 Predictions for Marketing Automation makes interesting predictions for the marketing automation space in 2013. I agree with several of Jay’s points.
We’ve witnessed increasing consolidation in the marketing automation marketplace. Non-traditional players such as CallidusCloud and ExactTarget entered the fray in 2012. We expect the trend to continue in this very hot space, supported by increasing marketing budgets and higher expectations for demand generation.
Web pages with static content and simple HTML will give way to dynamic content that is customized in real time based on visitor profiles. Areas of interest, geography and vertical segment will drive the display of CTA buttons, whitepapers on offer and prompts for contact details. Stated another way, we now operate under a personalization imperative that requires us to show potential customers what THEY want to see – not what WE want them to see. The difference is subtle, but critical. Marketers must embrace this concept.
Behavioral analysis of website visitors, first pioneered by Amazon.com, is now the standard to which others aspire. Google learned this lesson well: “Google, Plus Your World” maps users’ interests and social connections, then utilizes that data to display personalized search results. Marketing automation platforms will certainly evolve in this direction. They will contain analytical hubs that bolt on to the back ends of websites, thereby enabling them to generate dynamic pages based on visitor intent and interest. B2B marketers should prepare for these fast-changing digital trends by educating themselves.
Lead scoring is not yet a mature discipline. Scoring models will evolve and improve as users move away from behavior-based calculations to those based on statistical analysis. This will help to track customers who visit websites once before making a purchase. Traditional scoring methods cannot identify these interactions as meaningful leads for a sales funnel. As always, the Holy Grail for the scoring evolution is to pinpoint, with a high degree of accuracy, two things: (1) where a prospect is in the purchase cycle; and (2) a prospect’s degree of urgency to make a purchase. Deriving more useful attributes about leads from large data sets is the wave of the future.
Better scoring models will enable marketing to deliver leads to sales that are TRULY well-qualified. That, in turn, will reduce tension between those organizations. We may yet see peace in our lifetimes.
Marketers will extend the use of marketing automation platforms to other phases of the customer lifecycle. Today most B2B companies use those platforms exclusively for demand generation, and may not understand their versatility. With a few tweaks they can be used extensively for customer training, retention and loyalty programs, and to generate feedback.
Sirius Decisions is right on the mark. The marketing automation space is on the verge of major changes that will be profound.