tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/marketing-automation Latest Marketing Automation content from Econsultancy 2017-09-14T11:39:11+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69420 2017-09-14T11:39:11+01:00 2017-09-14T11:39:11+01:00 Inbound marketing vs. Account-based marketing: Diverging or aligning strategies? Riaz Kanani <p>I remember when <a href="https://medium.com/u/a845d2c84c23" target="_blank">Brian Halligan</a> and <a href="https://medium.com/u/d5d49189c3e7" target="_blank">Dharmesh Shah</a> were building Hubspot and created the terminology around inbound marketing. I was International Marketing Director at Silverpop at the time and had just launched its B2B marketing automation platform in UK and Europe.</p> <p>We had a huge content production team there and we knew that the people who consumed our content were much more likely to close than those who came in via other channels. Its biggest challenge though was the time it took to scale up and cut through in a competitive marketplace — we always needed to supplement it with other approaches.</p> <p>Today, most companies have some sort of inbound marketing strategy. Certainly more than have a formal account based marketing (ABM) strategy. Our experience at Radiate B2B is that even more sales teams use an account-based sales approach and have their own lists of prospects separate to marketing that they want to close.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8967/interest_over_time.png" alt="" width="700" height="248"></p> <p>An account-based approach is different to an inbound marketing-based approach. The way you plan is different and the way you implement them is different.</p> <p>It is not a case of either or though. While different, they do not compete. Inbound marketing and account-based marketing are complementary to each other.</p> <h3>What is inbound marketing?</h3> <p>Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers with content that feels valuable and intuitive to the prospect. The major channels used are blogs, search engines, and social media. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8939/0-jAKGj5raA6fjZXlp.png" alt="Hubspot - Inbound Marketing" width="792" height="288"></p> <p>It most definitely does not interrupt or fight for a prospect’s attention. Though with the amount of content being produced by marketers this is becoming harder and harder and requiring higher quality and more personalised content to stand out (though by the nature of inbound this is usually limited to industry level rather than account level).</p> <p>Most of all it builds trust and positive brand equity with a prospect. </p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">range of training courses</a> or download our new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-strategy-best-practice-guide/">Content Strategy Best Practice Guide</a></em>.</p> <h3>What is account-based marketing (ABM)?</h3> <p>Traditionally <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/account-based-marketing-a-practical-guide/">account-based marketing</a> has been about marketing to a select few companies that are in your sweetspot and are extremely valuable.</p> <p>Today, technology is helping to scale this beyond a select few and up to a few hundred accounts. This has created a new and upsurging interest in the strategy and has been coined 'ABM', 'One to Few ABM', 'Named account ABM' or 'Industry ABM'. Eventually the terminology will converge of course but not so far.</p> <p>It has long existed in sales and has been growing within customer success teams also. As a result the strategy has moved beyond just marketing to be termed account-based everything or 'ABX'. Alignment across the three raises results significantly though there is detail within each that is not applicable across the board.</p> <p>Like inbound marketing, an account-based approach aims to build valued relationships with the aim of attracting a high value customer.</p> <p>The account-based approach looks to place content in front of a prospect rather than wait for a prospect to go looking for it however, relying on its highly personalised nature to cut through the noise and reduce any feeling of interruption. It then continues the engagement using what we at Radiate B2B believe to be a hyper personalised inbound marketing approach through to close and beyond when the prospect is now a client.</p> <p>As a result, account-based marketing uses offline, highly targeted display (programmatic, but not really), social media, websites, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/69420-inbound-marketing-and-account-based-marketing-friend-or-foe/edit/s">email marketing</a>, direct mail, telephone and face-to-face. Pretty much any channel can be adapted within an ABM approach. It is why ABM is sometimes called just good B2B marketing.</p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/account-based-marketing-a-practical-guide/">Practical Guide to Account-Based Marketing</a>.</em></p> <h3>Diverging or aligning strategies?</h3> <p>So can they truly work together? There are aspects of both strategies that do align:</p> <ol> <li>The customer is at the centre.</li> <li>Valuable content powers them both  –  though with different approaches.</li> </ol> <p>But for the most part they do differ.</p> <ol> <li>Inbound marketing starts when a visitor looks for your content. An account-based approach requires you to go out into the world and talk to your ideal prospect directly, not wait for them to appear.</li> <li>Typically deal sizes will be larger for ABM than inbound marketing.</li> <li>Despite technological advances, ABM is still limited in scale versus inbound marketing so typically there will be a larger number of deals.</li> </ol> <h3>So which strategy is best?</h3> <p>The right approach clearly depends on who your company sells to. Obviously you are a company selling to businesses, but an account-based approach, even one using the latest techniques, does not work if the average lifetime value of your largest clients is small. In this scenario an inbound marketing approach is still the best approach.</p> <p>But what about in other scenarios?</p> <p>Account-based marketing works to close accounts in your sweet spot. These customers will typically be happier customers as they are aligned with your thinking and direction resulting in higher net promoter (NPS) or customer satisfaction scores. This in turn leads to significant numbers of advocates for your product driving more companies to your website.</p> <p>An outbound marketing approach is therefore the wrong approach and wasteful, but an inbound marketing approach will convert these incoming accounts at a much lower cost than an account-based programme.</p> <p>Combining inbound marketing and account-based marketing is also cost efficient. ABM requires hyper personalised content that speaks to an account’s needs, whilst traditional inbound marketing typically doesn’t have the same level of personalisation, it does aim to provide valuable content to attract prospects to the company. Content can be adapted to the needs of both strategies removing the need to create standalone content for both approaches.</p> <p>A further benefit is that these incoming accounts may lead you to new markets and territories fueling decision-making around expansion.</p> <p>So ABM and Inbound are indeed friends and work well together. In fact Hubspot, the home of inbound marketing, has not been shy investing in account-based businesses.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3247 2017-09-08T11:13:37+01:00 2017-09-08T11:13:37+01:00 Mini Masters in Digital Marketing Online <p>If you want to accelerate your career to take a leadership role as a professional digital marketer then the Econsultancy Mini Masters in Digital Marketing is the course that will give you the practical and strategic skills to step up.</p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;">Econsultancy’s Mini Masters is taught online with intensive, challenging, interactive modules taught by the very best in the business. Formalise your existing skills, and come away with the confidence that you really know your stuff – and how to prove it at the highest level. </p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;"><strong>Book your place now! Next course dates are in April and October 2018.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3246 2017-09-08T11:02:07+01:00 2017-09-08T11:02:07+01:00 Mini Masters in Digital Marketing Online <p>If you want to accelerate your career to take a leadership role as a professional digital marketer then the Econsultancy Mini Masters in Digital Marketing is the course that will give you the practical and strategic skills to step up.</p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;">Econsultancy’s Mini Masters is taught online with intensive, challenging, interactive modules taught by the very best in the business. Formalise your existing skills, and come away with the confidence that you really know your stuff – and how to prove it at the highest level. </p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;"><strong>Book your place now! Next course dates are in April and October 2018.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69340 2017-08-16T14:20:00+01:00 2017-08-16T14:20:00+01:00 B2B marketing automation software is underused and symptomatic of the industry Ben Davis <p>Let's look at some simple findings from Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/state-of-b2b-marketing-automation/">State of B2B Automation report</a>, in association with Act-On, to add weight to this view, and to offer some advice for marketers wanting to get more from their tech stack.</p> <h3>Correlation between marketing automation and company success</h3> <p>Okay, this isn't a stunning revelation but it's a useful wake-up call for those B2B marketers yet to properly make an effort with marketing automation.</p> <p>The chart below shows that 62% of Leaders have marketing automation in place, compared to just 50% of the Mainstream. The Leaders in this case are roughly one third (34%) of the total sample of 335 B2B marketers, and defined as those respondents who said their marketing functions exceeded their ‘top 2016 business goal’. The remaining 66% are designated as the Mainstream.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8295/ma_in_place.png" alt="marketing automation in use?" width="615" height="416"> </p> <p>Of course, automation isn't the absolute - whatever channel it is employed in, it needs to be done sympathetically (see Glen Hartman's article, '<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69302-personalization-is-nothing-without-creative-empathy/">Personalization is nothing without creative empathy</a>').  </p> <h3>Marketing automation is under-utilised</h3> <p>Here's a pretty conclusive stat, shown in the chart below, from the survey: Only 4% of respondents strongly agree they are using marketing automation to its fullest capacity. More than half disagree.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8294/automation.jpg" alt="automation underused" width="615" height="519"></p> <h3>Where are B2B marketers not doing enough?</h3> <p>The chart below shows how the Leaders and the Mainstream are using the functionality of their marketing automation software. It's unsurprising to see email out in front, but more of a shock to see lead nurturing used by only 35% of the mainstream. Remember this is a B2B sample.</p> <p>Even amongst Leaders, use of A/B testing (40%), account-based marketing (35%) and dynamic segmentation (32%) is well below half of the sample.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8300/functionality.png" alt="ma functionality" width="615" height="597"></p> <h3>What is causing this inertia?</h3> <p>Resources is cited by 60% of the sample as the biggest challenge with marketing automation - this is somewhat of a vague and overarching term, considering the other options may fall under this label, too. Therefore, a lack of skilled experience, cited by 50% of respondents, is perhaps the biggest challenge with this technology.</p> <p>This is symptomatic of our industry - lots of amazing tech but not enough practitioners that know what they're doing with it, or that can navigate legacy technology (integration and data management cited by 37% and 48% respectively).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8299/challenges.png" alt="challenges to automation" width="615" height="477"> </p> <h3>How can marketers make better use of marketing automation?</h3> <p>There's plenty of advice in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/state-of-b2b-marketing-automation/">the report</a>. Here are four important nuggets:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Do your due diligence</strong> when researching marketing automation to ensure that you adopt the system that’s the right fit for your company size and business needs.</li> <li> <strong>Build a watertight argument</strong> to sell the business case internally and have clarity of purpose.</li> <li> <strong>Make use of third-party services</strong> to support in-house efforts.</li> <li> <strong>Be prepared to pay for skilled experience </strong>and make your company a great place to work<strong>.</strong> A mix of data skills and management/marketing nous is required but hard to find.</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4560 2017-08-15T16:15:00+01:00 2017-08-15T16:15:00+01:00 State of B2B Marketing Automation <p>The <strong>State of B2B Marketing Automation </strong>report, published by Econsultancy in association with <a title="Act-On" href="https://www.act-on.com/">Act-On</a>, is based on a survey of more than 350 B2B marketing professionals.</p> <p>The aim of the research is to explore the maturity of B2B marketing automation, looking at adoption levels and types of strategies organizations are using. The study evaluates tools and processes employed as well as potential barriers to the effective use of the capability.</p> <p>A major focus of this report is the exploration of what B2B companies that are succeeding in their marketing activities are doing differently from the rest.</p> <p>Where appropriate, the research findings are broken down by level of marketing performance, comparing high-performing companies (‘Leaders’) with the rest of the sample (‘Mainstream’), in order to identify the attributes and characteristics that are correlated with success, and to make recommendations.</p> <p><strong>Key findings</strong> from the research include:</p> <ul> <li>Investment in marketing automation drives B2B marketing performance</li> <li>Companies strive to close the gap between expectations and reality</li> <li>Leaders take a different path to ensure they are utilizing tech capabilities</li> <li>Europeans are playing catch-up with their North American counterparts</li> <li>Marketing automation delivers but challenges must be overcome</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69296 2017-07-28T14:34:27+01:00 2017-07-28T14:34:27+01:00 10 superb digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>On we go…</p> <h3>Only 25% of data is being used for real-time customer engagement</h3> <p>Despite 60% of UK organisations believing that real-time customer engagement can deliver a 10%-40% increase in revenue, those same organisations are collecting less than a third of relevant data on their customers.</p> <p>What’s more, just 25% of this dataset is being used in segmentation for real-time customer engagement.</p> <p>These stats come from SAS’s <a href="https://www.sas.com/en_gb/whitepapers/real-time-customer-experience-report.html" target="_blank">Age of Now</a> report, which also reveals how slow companies are to act. It says that only 16% of UK organisations can adjust their marketing communication in real-time based on customer behaviour.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7888/SAS.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="327"></p> <h3>42% of customers more impatient due to reliance on technology</h3> <p>A new survey by Fetch and YouGov suggests UK consumers are increasingly looking to new technology for functional purposes, with 81% of millennials being more receptive than older generations to try new tech in order to improve the speed at which they do things.</p> <p>42% of UK consumers now say they are more impatient today than they were five years ago, mainly due to an over-reliance on technology to complete everyday life activities.</p> <p>When it comes to food, 61% of Brits are unwilling to wait 45 minutes or more for a takeaway they ordered online or using an app. Similarly, 22% of consumers say they are only willing to wait between 11-15mins for a taxi service.</p> <h3>CPC costs reach an all-time high</h3> <p>iProspect has just released its <a href="https://www.iprospect.com/en/us/insights/povs/paid-search-trends-2017-q2/" target="_blank">Q2 report</a>, which includes in-depth analysis of data from more than 1,800 AdWords accounts.</p> <p>It has revealed that CPC costs continued to rise in Q2, reaching their highest recorded levels since 2014. Despite this, iProspect found year-on-year impressions and clicks declined 16% and 27.5% respectively, as advertisers were forced to pay more per click while dealing with diminishing budgets.</p> <p>Elsewhere, it found mobile CPC to be on the rise, increasing 17% from Q1 to Q2 of this year and 52% year-on-year. Similarly, mobile click share increased 22% year-on-year. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7890/iProspect.JPG" alt="" width="743" height="547"></p> <h3>Over 60% of SMB’s attribute half or more of sales to Amazon</h3> <p>In a survey of 503 small- to mid-size retailers, NetElixir found that 60% of respondents attribute 50% or more of their ecommerce sales to Amazon. Interestingly, 26.6% are seeing a 50/50 split from their website vs. marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.</p> <p>In terms of the reasons why SMBs are choosing to sell on Amazon, 52% said that the potential for increased sales volume is the biggest benefit, 32.6% said increased brand exposure and 11.3% noted solid infrastructure. Conversely, 45% cited lower margins as the biggest downside.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What was the biggest benefit and downside of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Amazon?src=hash">#Amazon</a>? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/webinar?src=hash">#webinar</a> <a href="https://t.co/OhOnUZG67Z">pic.twitter.com/OhOnUZG67Z</a></p> — NetElixir (@NetElixir) <a href="https://twitter.com/NetElixir/status/890292060938543105">July 26, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>UK advertising spend grows 1.3% YoY in Q1 2017</h3> <p>WARC’s latest <a href="http://expenditurereport.warc.com/" target="_blank">Expenditure Report</a> has revealed that overall ad spend grew 1.3% to reach £5.318bn in Q1 2017. But despite being the 15th consecutive quarter of growth, it was actually the slowest rate seen in four years.</p> <p>This growth also occurred despite a 6.2% decline in total television advertising spend – TV’s first fall since 2009. However, it is forecast to recover next year with 2.5% growth in 2018.</p> <p>Meanwhile, online ad spend grew 10.1% year-on-year, and mobile growth was recorded at an impressive 36.2%.</p> <h3>Retailers wrongly assume that customers value speed over free shipping</h3> <p>According to a new report by <a href="http://www2.temando.com/l/86602/2017-07-10/4g564b" target="_blank">Temando</a>, 86% of UK shoppers prefer free delivery over fast delivery. However, the majority of retailers’ surveyed wrongly assume that customers place greater value on a fast shipping service.</p> <p>As a result of this misconception, many retailers are failing to respond to customer demands, with just 27% offering free standard shipping every day. Even worse, almost a quarter of retailers admit that that they don't use free shipping as a promotional tool.</p> <p>With 58% of shoppers stating that they’d shop more if free shipping was offered, many online retailers are still missing a trick.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7889/Tamando.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="439"></p> <h3>Usage of connected TV’s predicted to grow 10.1% in the US this year</h3> <p>Emarketer says that usage of connected TVs will continue to surge in 2017, with 168.1m Americans predicted to use an internet-connected television this year – up 10.1% on 2016.</p> <p>In terms of brands, it predicts that 38.9m Americans will use a Roku device at least once a month – 19.3% more than in 2016. Meanwhile, 36.9m will use a ChromeCast and 35.8m will use an Amazon Fire TV. Just 21.3m users are expected to use an Apple TV.</p> <h3>AI predicted to create over 2.5m jobs in the next 15 years</h3> <p>PwC has estimated that by 2030, 30% of British jobs will be lost to automation. On the back of this, <a href="https://joblift.co.uk/Press/artificial-intelligence-and-automation-potential-job-creation-will-fill-only-19-of-the-hole-left-by-robotic-job-replacement" target="_blank">Joblift</a> has further analysed the situation, comparing potential job creation with jobs lost.</p> <p>Research shows that 136,939 jobs dealing with AI and automation have been posted in the last 12 months, and jobs in this field have increased by an average of 0.06% each month.</p> <p>On this basis, calculations suggest that over the next 15 years, AI, automation and robotics will create 2,535,009 new jobs in total. However, by 2031, 13,375,363 jobs will be at risk from automation, meaning that newly created roles would be able to fill only 19% of the jobs lost.</p> <h3>John Lewis tops UK brand health rankings</h3> <p>John Lewis has ranked first in YouGov’s BrandIndex list of UK brand ‘health’. The ranking is based on consumer perceptions of a brand’s quality, value, impression, satisfaction, reputation and whether consumers would recommend the brand to others.</p> <p>BBC iPlayer comes in at number two on the list, followed by Sony and Marks &amp; Spencer. In contrast to these older, more heritage-based brands, the global list was topped by younger tech brands like Google, YouTube, and Facebook. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7892/Brand_health.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="291"></p> <h3>Cause-related ads generate more views &amp; engagement</h3> <p><a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/video/cause-related-marketing-purpose-driven-ads/" target="_blank">Pixability</a> has revealed that the number of cause-related ads created by the top 100 global brands has increased four times over the past five years.</p> <p>Women’s empowerment accounted for 24% of these ads, making it the top featured issue. Meanwhile, 17% of ads were related to the topic of community aid and 14% were about sustainability.</p> <p>Pixability also found that the average number of views for cause-driven videos was almost 1m more than for those not related to a particular cause. The engagement rate was also 0.31% for cause-related ads compared to 0.29% for the rest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7891/Cause_related_ads.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="384"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69248 2017-07-19T01:00:00+01:00 2017-07-19T01:00:00+01:00 What is the state of marketing automation in Australia & New Zealand? Ben Davis <p>Subscribers can download the report in full, but here's a taster of some of the conclusions the report comes to, based on a survey of more than 350 marketing professionals.</p> <h3>In-house vs. agency</h3> <p>Three in five (59%) of organisations surveyed said they have an in-house team managing marketing automation activities. Only a fifth admitting outsourcing the activity to an agency.</p> <p>Outsourcing was more likely in large organisations with more than $50 million revenue (31%) compared to smaller organisations (13%). One could presume that cost is a factor here.</p> <p>Interestingly, organisations with in-house automation teams were more satisfied with their efforts than those using an agency. Twenty eight percent of those with an in-house team said their capabilities were 'advanced', whereas only 13% said so of their agency-run automation.</p> <h3>What is automation technology used for?</h3> <p>Respondents were asked what precisely they use their automation tech for.</p> <p>Triggered email was way out in front, utilised by 72% of respondents. This is not suprising. What was slightly disappointing was the difference between the proportion stating that lead nurturing was/is a reason for investment in marketing automation (44%) and those that say they are actually doing it (32%).</p> <p>Only 21% of companies surveyed are currently engaged in lead scoring, perhaps another missed opportunity.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7595/ma_uses.png" alt="marketing automation usage" width="550"></p> <h3>Data integration troubles</h3> <p>Forty six percent of respondents said that integrating data was the biggest challenge to marketing automation set-up. This was the biggest concern amongst those surveyed.</p> <p>And as you can see from the chart above (how companies use their automation tech), only 25% are using marketing automation software with a unified database.</p> <p>What's more (and is fairly predictable), 43% of respondents admitted to having separate and unconnected technologies managing data from different channels. This was the most popular response (results shown in the chart below), with a mere 8% as advanced as having a single platform managing data across multiple channels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7594/connected_ma.png" alt="ma integration" width="550"></p> <h3>Criteria for vendor selection</h3> <p>Recently, Econsultancy published a blog post by Henry Hyder Smith titled <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69206-how-automation-came-to-be-more-important-than-cost-when-choosing-an-esp/">How automation came to be more important than cost when choosing an ESP</a>.</p> <p>Our survey, though more specifically about automation tech, to some extent corroborates Smith's theory about cost, with 'ease of use' the most important criteria when assessing automation vendors. Cost, however, was deemed pretty important (58% of respondents placed it in their top three priorities), even if only 10% said it was paramount.</p> <p>Just 15% of companies cite product integration capabilities as their topmost priority which, given what we discussed in the data integration section above, seems shortsighted.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7593/ma_purchase_criteria.png" alt="ma purchase criteria" width="550"></p> <p><em><strong>There's plenty more in the survey report. Subscribers can <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/state-of-marketing-automation-in-australia-and-new-zealand/">download now</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4538 2017-07-17T01:00:00+01:00 2017-07-17T01:00:00+01:00 State of Marketing Automation in Australia and New Zealand <p>The 'holy grail' of marketing automation envisaged by marketers sees the complete elimination of internal data silos to build a 360-degree view of the customer, and the utilisation of this intelligence to enable deeper, personalised engagement with prospects and clients.</p> <p>But how close are today’s marketers to realising this?</p> <p>This is Econsultancy’s first <strong>State of Marketing Automation in Australia and New Zealand</strong> report, published in association with <a title="Oracle Marketing Cloud" href="https://www.oracle.com/marketingcloud/about/australia-new-zealand.html">Oracle Marketing Cloud</a>.</p> <p>The research is based on a survey of over 350 marketing professionals based in Australia and New Zealand, and evaluates current adoption levels, tools and processes employed as well as barriers to effective use of marketing automation.</p> <p>Key insights from the research include:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>The majority of companies are choosing to manage their marketing automation in-house.</strong> Three in five (59%) organisations have an in-house team managing marketing automation activities, with only a fifth outsourcing them to an agency. Large organisations (with annual revenues of more than $50 million) are more likely to outsource their marketing automation.</li> <li> <strong>Budgets and internal buy-in are there, but a capability gap is hampering the potential of marketing automation.</strong> Encouragingly, a lack of budget and organisational buy-in prevents only a minority of organisations (20% and 12% respectively) from implementing their automation strategy. The most common barriers are related to data integration and inadequate resources.</li> <li> <strong>There’s a pressing need for data unification.</strong> Only a quarter of companies are working towards the creation of a unified database. Furthermore, nearly half of companies say that integrating data is the most significant barrier to effectively implementing a marketing automation strategy.</li> <li> <strong>Cloud-based SaaS platforms lead the way at an enterprise level.</strong> Large organisations (with annual revenues of at least $50 million) are more likely to use cloud-based SaaS platforms that include automation (38% vs. 28% of smaller organisations).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69232 2017-07-06T11:41:00+01:00 2017-07-06T11:41:00+01:00 Marketers can rest easy, AI is not about to make them redundant Nikki Gilliland <p>Sounds pretty simple when you put it like that, right? </p> <p>Of course, actually getting to this point isn’t <em>quite</em> so easy. Neither is convincing businesses that artificial intelligence is actually worth investing in, especially considering it is nearing the dreaded “trough of disillusionment” on the infamous Gartner Hype Cycle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7299/Gartner_hype_cycle.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="476"></p> <p>Reflecting <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots">the various examples of brand chatbots</a> we’ve seen throughout the past year or so, the conversation at Supercharged ranged from the inspiring to the silly. Here’s a summary of the day’s biggest talking points, along with insight into how brands of all kinds are implementing artificial intelligence.</p> <h3>Rapid rate of change</h3> <p>While many people can get carried away with what artificial intelligence might look like far into the future, John Straw kicked off Supercharged with an inspiring talk about how the technology will evolve in the next couple of years.</p> <p>Right now, of course, it has its limitations, with most marketers creating augmented decision trees and calling it a chatbot. Then again, John reminded us of the prediction that bots will be in everyday use by 2020, also suggesting that the rapid rate at which the technology is evolving means the bots will look (and sound) far different to how they do now. In fact, he said that by mid-2018, the technology will have advanced so much that users won’t even realising they’re talking to a bot. </p> <p>As someone who has <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68636-pizza-express-channel-4-and-tfl-three-examples-of-brand-chatbots/" target="_blank">reviewed quite a few (mediocre) examples</a> in the past year or so (not counting <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69146-five-things-we-learned-from-launching-a-facebook-messenger-chatbot/" target="_blank">our own</a>, of course), I feel that John's prediction sounds rather optimistic. </p> <p>Then again, as John explained, just because we’re not seeing the technology in practice right now, does not mean it is not in existence. Take the healthcare sector, for instance, where new companies such as HealthTap and Babylon Health are looking to revolutionise the early stages of patient diagnosis. </p> <p>Instead of endlessly waiting on hold to speak to a human or Googling their aches and pains, patients can liaise with AI-powered doctors to speed up and streamline the process.</p> <p>As John said, the net benefit of this kind of technology is greater satisfaction, not just in the context of a doctor-patient scenario but in relation to all kinds of customer service. Instead of being passed from pillar to post and ending up “talking to a 19-year-old in a call centre”, people will be able to talk to a single entity to get the answer they want much faster. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Proud to be nestled among some of A.I.'s best. <a href="https://t.co/EtnEzSPCXR">https://t.co/EtnEzSPCXR</a> <a href="https://t.co/sNIOJIIVKv">pic.twitter.com/sNIOJIIVKv</a></p> — babylon (@babylonhealth) <a href="https://twitter.com/babylonhealth/status/880715572379611136">June 30, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>The benefits of NLP</h3> <p>A lot of brand chatbots involve scripts and decision trees to force users down a specific path. And while some can be frustratingly limited, others can work surprisingly well.</p> <p>Alex Miller from <a href="http://www.bytelondon.com/">Byte London</a> cited Adidas as a prime example, with the sports brand using a scripted chatbot to enable Facebook Messenger users to book a free session in an East London fitness studio. Users could interact with the bot to book times, get reminders, and find out location details. The results showed a 76% retention rate after 23 weeks, 1.1m interactions, and 46,000 fitness sessions organised in all. </p> <p>So, scripted bots can work well for events, but what about scenarios where users are more inclined to ask questions?</p> <p>JustEat is one brand that has successfully combined scripted technology with NLP (natural language processing), going on to create a chatbot that is both functional and entertaining.</p> <p>To do so, it put together a large collection of possible user queries, alongside a list of how the bot would answer in response.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7300/JustEat_chatbot.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="419"></p> <p>Of course, this still has its limitations. There’s only a certain amount of language it is programmed to recognise, however it's still a good example of a bot that goes beyond basic commands to inject personality and humour into the mix.  </p> <p>For JustEat, it meant that 40% of people who interacted with the bot went on to actually place an order online, as well as the brand seeing an average dwell time of 2mins 14secs.</p> <h3>Programming personality into AI</h3> <p>Speaking of personality... according to Nick Asbury, writer for Creative Review and one-half of agency <a href="http://asburyandasbury.com/about/">Asbury &amp; Asbury</a>, character remains a largely untapped area of artificial intelligence. </p> <p>This seems strange, he suggests, especially considering humans are instinctively drawn to any kind of inanimate object that appears to have a personality. Meanwhile, with most humans naturally inclined to choose text or email – even in the context of social relationships – why would we want to spend time having a conversation with Amazon's Alexa when we could skim-read textual information? </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">This alarm clock is so confused <a href="https://t.co/j6bbHp98nh">pic.twitter.com/j6bbHp98nh</a></p> — Faces in Things (@FacesPics) <a href="https://twitter.com/FacesPics/status/878651935435485184">June 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Putting these negatives aside, the positive is that most people are also open to the idea of artificial intelligence taking on more human characteristics. As Nick explained, we’ve traditionally seen this in popular culture, with robots taking on all kinds of human traits in films ranging from Knight Rider to 2001: A Space Odyssey.</p> <p>Ultimately, this means that there is a huge amount of unexplored territory in terms of chatbot tone and personality. If ‘neutral’ or an Alexa-type chatbot is the middle of the spectrum, a large percentage of all brand communication does not tend to stray very far from this. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/asburyandasbury">@asburyandasbury</a> on giving AI personality: "Most chatbots are neutral, polite or helpful. Lots of unexplored traits" <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/supercharged17?src=hash">#supercharged17</a> <a href="https://t.co/2e86Pt8aG6">pic.twitter.com/2e86Pt8aG6</a></p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/882184030388670469">July 4, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>So, instead of concentrating on just one aspect (either functionality or personality) Nick suggests that brands should explore different areas of the tonal map – even embrace sounding like a robot. </p> <p>Nick specifically mentioned Zhuck – an app that Asbury &amp; Asbury worked on in partnership with a Russian bank. Described as an ‘endearingly grumpy smart ass’, it was deliberately designed to be more interesting and engaging to use, with a character that set out to entertain as much as serve a functional purpose. </p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/128130687" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>Fusing AI with human roles</h3> <p>Unsurprisingly, a lot of discussion at Supercharged revolved around the automation of jobs, and the natural backlash that has occurred because of it.</p> <p>So, from a marketer’s perspective, will we see AI disrupt specific areas such as content creation? And what about from a wider branding perspective – could we even see artificial intelligence informing brand straplines or mission statements?</p> <p>While companies such as <a href="https://phrasee.co/">Phrasee</a> (which uses software to generate email subject lines) shows that artificial intelligence can beat humans in terms of scale and immediacy, it still feels like we’re a long way from bots replacing human creativity.</p> <p>Jukedeck is a company that uses artificial intelligence to compose music that’s suited to individual needs and contexts. Patrick Stobbs, the company’s co-founder, gave some interesting insight into this idea. When asked whether or not this kind of technology creates <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble">a filter bubble</a>, he argued that – in contrast – it actually gives creative people the tools to improve and enhance their craft.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjukedeck%2Fposts%2F784081638422118&amp;width=500" width="500" height="476"></iframe></p> <p>Other brands at Supercharged spoke about how they are using artificial intelligence to streamline services, as well as to upskill and aid traditional roles rather than automate them out. </p> <p>Nicola Millard from BT suggested that most jobs are made up of an intricate series of tasks, regardless of seniority level or industry. As a result, instead of the ‘automation will take our jobs’ scenario coming true – the reality might be more like 60% of jobs having about 30% of their roles automated in the next 10 years.</p> <p>In relation to companies like BT that currently rely on people for customer service, Nicola emphasised that it will not be a battle between bots and agents, but rather a partnership that combines the (very different strengths) of the two. </p> <p>IntelligentX Brewing Company is another brand that cited this belief, insisting that its own product – a beer brewed by AI – requires human involvement throughout the entire manufacturing process. Instead of automating out the human elements, people work in conjunction with the AI (in terms of testing, assessing and providing feedback on AI-produced recipes) to create the very best result.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Found my way to the <a href="https://twitter.com/IntelligentX_ai">@IntelligentX_ai</a> beer tasting at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/smlates?src=hash">#smlates</a>! Beer that evolves with consumer feedback. <a href="https://t.co/NkIHPVbvih">pic.twitter.com/NkIHPVbvih</a></p> — Michelle Reeve (@michelleareeve) <a href="https://twitter.com/michelleareeve/status/771058383566860288">August 31, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Dealing with data issues</h3> <p>The final panel talk of the day centred around how data and artificial intelligence can fuel personalisation and brand loyalty. But when does AI cross the line from cool to creepy? Moreover, with the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69119-gdpr-needn-t-be-a-bombshell-for-customer-focused-marketers" target="_blank">GDPR deadline rapidly approaching</a>, will greater regulation impact automated processes such as customer profiling and segmentation?</p> <p>While this is not as relevant in cases whereby automation doesn’t have a significant or legal impact, it still reflects the dangers of using customer data to such an extent that it feels like a violation of privacy.  </p> <p>For brands like ASOS, artificial intelligence certainly underpins targeting strategies, with AI processes impacting what products to show which customers and when. However, even ASOS realises that data should be used with caution, agreeing that <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-incredible-story-of-how-target-exposed-a-teen-girls-pregnancy-2012-2?IR=T">Target’s recent fail</a> proves some lines should not be crossed. The retail brand sent coupons for baby items to a teenager (and her unsuspecting father), having determined from data tracking that she was pregnant.</p> <p>While other brands like ShopDirect show that using artificial intelligence in this way can generate results – i.e. to identify and retarget a customer who might have run out of lipstick – it’s clear that there’s a long way to go before basic human judgement becomes redundant. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68770-an-introduction-to-ai-and-customer-service/" target="_blank">An introduction to AI and customer service</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69112-what-s-the-difference-between-ai-powered-personalisation-and-more-basic-segmentation/" target="_blank">What's the difference between AI-powered personalisation and more basic segmentation?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing" target="_blank">15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69206 2017-07-04T13:00:00+01:00 2017-07-04T13:00:00+01:00 How automation came to be more important than cost when choosing an ESP Henry Hyder-Smith <p>With 11 years of researching the state of the industry in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census">this report</a>, we have been able to track the development of this side of marketing technology and its adoption as it has come to the forefront of a marketer’s arsenal. So we found it very interesting that, when asked for the most significant attributes of an email service provider (ESP), most marketers chose marketing automation for the first time in the study’s history.</p> <p>With an increase of 6% points (up from 61% in 2016 to 66% in 2017), this capability overtook user-friendly interface (which decreased to 60%), cross-channel (32%) and low cost (27%).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7255/2017_Census_ESP_capabilities.PNG" alt="email census" width="615"></p> <p>While we anticipated automation to become the top choice sooner rather than later, the discrepancy between that and cost shows just how much value marketers place on it. With an increased appetite for delivering relevant messages at scale and improving customer experience, automation has driven a move away from batch and blast email and put the customer at the centre of communications. </p> <p>Over the years, we’ve also tracked the rising level of success of using automated campaigns, which has been slow but steady. This shows marketers are increasingly willing to experiment with automation. They have understood that ‘getting it right’ involves planning and optimisation, but that it can also deliver results far above those of manual campaigns because timing is such a significant part in the impact of a message. </p> <h3>How to approach automation in the right way</h3> <p>The above being said, there is plenty of space for growth in marketing automation adoption and success rate. In 2017, only 8% of marketers considered their automation efforts ‘very successful’ and 33% were ‘not successful’. To bridge that gap, marketers must adopt a first-person marketer mindset to digital marketing. This means automation is only one part - albeit an important one - of their strategy.</p> <p>For first-person marketers to thrive, they must think about how automation integrates with their capability and strategy around personalisation, integration and optimisation to really put the customer at the centre of communications and deliver a contextual, individualised experience at scale. </p> <p>Are your systems integrated to bring the necessary first- and third-party data required to power the personalised campaigns you build? Figure 1, above, shows an oversight in the importance of this.</p> <p>100% integration is an ideal for many, but bring it back to reality by making sure at the least the basic integrations are in place. And use the concept of incremental innovation to deliver more effective communications now, and in the future.</p> <p>Rome wasn’t built in a day.</p> <p>Ask yourself: are you using personalisation in the true sense when you build ad-hoc and automated campaigns? Do you have a testing and optimisation plan in place to regularly review, tweak and test marketing output?</p> <p>First-person marketers juggle all the above in order to give their marketing automation programs a chance to make a real business impact. It’s not just about eliminating mundane manual tasks. As for the benefits of using marketing automation, you’ve probably heard them many times so, instead, I wanted to share some examples of the companies that are part of the 8% elite who are ‘very successful’ at using it.</p> <h3>Setting the scene for high email engagement</h3> <p>A recent study by Return Path revealed 75% of top 100 retailers have a welcome program. But rather than just ticking a box, etailer PetsPyjamas wanted to make a difference to their marketing communications from the first impression. Unhappy with its existing welcome email, it expanded the campaign to a series of four.</p> <p>The program starts by offering an incentive to purchase, followed by introducing or reminding customers of PetPoints depending on whether they had already signed up to the loyalty scheme. After a holiday offering promotion, the final email is based on whether additional purchases were made during the length of the program.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7256/PetsPyjamas_terrier_email.jpg" alt="pets pyjamas email" width="569" height="1034"></p> <p>PetsPyjamas’ welcome strategy sets a standard of personalised communications, encourages additional purchases and fuels customer profile data for future campaigns all in one program. Compared to the original welcome email, this program delivered increased engagement across email metrics including a tenfold increase in revenue.   </p> <h3>Giving marketers their time back</h3> <p>How much time can actually be saved using automation? It depends on the complexity of the process you’re trying to automate. Future Publishing reclaimed a day and a half per week automating their magazine renewal process. That is almost a third of working hours!</p> <p>And it was no mean feat either, as the renewal process involved a myriad of data points from the right message to the subscription type, discount, currency and more. In total, there were 192 variants of renewal campaigns in the program which Future expanded to 24 titles. </p> <p>This might seem daunting to achieve, but the right technology partner will have the experience you need to make such a project a success. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7257/Future-SFX-renewal-email-Trimmed.jpg" alt="future sfx email" width="596"></p> <h3>Improving the user experience for resource-strapped charities</h3> <p>When you have a small team, many marketers think there is only so much you can do. However, this example from NSPCC will show you that determination and focus can make a big difference.</p> <p>Keeping personalisation and the donor journey front of mind, NSPCC analysed where marketing automation could make the most difference. The team decided to implement it for transactional emails, content automation in their regular newsletters, an automated participation journey for fundraisers to make sure they have the resources and support they need, and abandoned donation campaigns. </p> <p>By thinking out of the box and using technology that is generally more prevalent in the retail industry, NSPCC made a big impact on the funds raised. The abandoned donation campaign recovered an average donation of £38 and email engagement increased because key messages were relevant and delivered at the right time.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7258/NSPCC_failed_transaction.jpg" alt="nspcc failed transaction email" width="596"></p> <p>Of course, if you’re not at this level of automation implementation, you shouldn’t feel discouraged. No company implemented 100 triggers overnight.</p> <p>As well as having the goal of turning every marketer into a first-person marketer, I am also a big fan of incremental innovation. This involves taking the time to plan, set a direction and improve your marketing efforts one step at a time and at a steady pace. So, what’s the one change you’re going to make today?</p>