Marketing automation has become the “the next big thing” in high tech, or at least one of the next big things. How big? More than $1 billion in recent vendor valuations. According to GigaOM, the past six months have seen a flurry of financial activity including:
- $75 million IPO filed by Marketo
- $150 million IPO filed by Tableau
- $35 million in funding raised by Hubspot
- $54 million in funding raised by InfusionSoft
- $871 million paid for Eloqua by Oracle
Behind all the activity is the undeniable advantage that companies gain by automating and streamlining their marketing processes: increased operational efficiencies and accelerated revenue growth. With marketing automation, companies can use technology to discover and qualify sales leads, foster relationships with prospective customers, enhance relationships with established customers and improve the overall performance of their marketing organizations.
The big industry push to automate marketing tasks is making the automation of conversion best practices even more critical than ever. Ecommerce companies are realizing the importance of running automated conversion campaigns that can respond to shopping cart abandoners in real time, as soon as they abandon, rather than hours or days later. That kind of immediacy can’t be achieved with batch-mode operations.
While real-time responses may seem overly aggressive, studies show they best serve customers and ecommerce companies alike. If customers abandon their shopping carts and don’t return within the first hour, then the probability of completing the sale is reduced by 90%. Automation can ensure customers receive relevant messages in the first few seconds after abandonment. That’s when customers are most receptive to appropriate follow-up and companies have the greatest opportunity to convert the sale.
Of course, “relevant” and “appropriate” are key to conversion success, which is why conversion – much like standard lead generation and nurturing – must take a big data approach. First, companies need to continuously correlate streams of data from multiple channels, including websites, stores, mobile, social, call center, and chat.
Next, they have to use that data to trigger “next best actions,” each of which is optimized for each individual customer based on the customer’s unique buying behaviors. The end result? A personalized ecommerce experience that automates messaging and follow-up to optimize conversion rates.
Going forward, we’ll likely see conversion platforms, such as the SeeWhy CORE platform, merge with the larger marketing automation platforms. After all, it only makes sense to give companies a unified, automated system that lets them not only market to leads but also convert those leads to customers.