[English – originally published at Digital Doughnut]

If you ignore the rise of Smart Marketing. If you neglect to professionalise your digital strategy right now. Prepare yourself for a rough time. Here are 5 trends to support that statement.

According to the common definition, Marketing Automation is just about software. I know that it is not just the technology. Technology is the enabler to align marketing and sales. To optimise your communication with the goal to convert new leads. Technology makes marketing smart.

1. Increase of the effectiveness and importance of digital channels

The main goals of the 2017 digital strategy for companies are to “generate more leads” and “increase revenue”. According to a survey by Ascend2 almost 40% of those companies see “lead generation” and “revenue increase” through the digital channels as a significant success barrier. Prioritising goals will be necessary to create an effective digital marketing strategy.

The survey clarifies that a company’s website and social media are the most effective digital channels, but also the hardest to execute. For this, they hire external specialists.

2017_ICC_CMI_StrategySurvey_Tech.jpg

A good development is that 92% of the respondents of a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute say that their organisations view content as a business asset.

On the other hand (sadly) only half of them have a documented strategy. And only 18% use the available tools to their potential.

2. Popularity of Marketing Automation sky high

Analysing the data from Google Trends makes clear that the interest in Marketing Automation increases in an extremely fast pace. Over 2 years the popularity doubled.

Google Trends Marketing Automation

At this moment Google serves about 15 million results on this topic in 1 second. Two years ago this was half of that result. So the sources of information doubled in that time. Not only the supply exploded, but also the demand. The monthly Google searches for Marketing Automation grew from 14.800 in February 2015 to 44.200 in February 2017 (Google Keyword Planner).

The huge supply of content on this topic and the speed in popularity growth will make it impossible to value the credibility of the information source. It is already hard right now, but start following the right influencers and you will have a (small) advantage.

3. Marketing Automation market will reach $8.6 billion by 2025

Markets and Markets expect the global market for Marketing Automation software to reach a worth of $5.5 billion by 2019. Inkwood Research looked towards 2025 and expect a market size of $8.6 billion. They expect an increase of 9.3% in the coming years.

Knowing this you also know that the importance of this technology will increase dramatically in the coming years. With the connected challenge that new skills are needed too.

  • Content Marketing Institute: “The greatest educational need is how to better use technology to manage content as a business asset and how to build a digital content strategy.”
  • Inkwood Research: “The leading players in the marketing automation software market are encountering challenges in incorporation with existing marketing and lack of knowledge and skilled employees.”
Inkwood Research on Marketing Automation

4. Lack of digital knowledge will cause bankruptcies

That more education is needed is clear. For large organisations this will be part of a talent development program. Small companies should take care of this themselves, otherwise the knowledge gap will be hard to overcome and they will fall behind.

45%25 do not know what SEO means

Two researches, one done by Weebly and another by Web.com, indicate that small business owners/online entrepreneurs know the importance of Google Search.

But 45% of them do not even know what SEO means.

Only 17% of the entrepreneurs will invest in Search Engine Optimisation. They think that hiring a specialist involves a high investment. Another good reason to start experimenting right now, while Marketing Automation is still in this phase too.

5. Technology and strategy will come together

While the main objective for the Marketing Automation strategy is “Increasing Marketing ROI”, marketeers see that “Measuring the Performance” is the most critical challenge.

Although implementing Marketing Automation software will take some time. It is not the software itself, but optimising your data and creating the right content. That will take time before you can really benefit from it. The software should help you in an easy way to let you start immediately. Than you can start learning by doing.

Be aware of this and select the right solution. The top selection criteria for the right Marketing Automation platform are “Ease of Implementation” (54%) and “Cost of Ownership” (43%).

Nucleus Research used the criteria Usability and Functionality for their Value Matrix. If we combine this with Marketshare data from Datanyze we see two dominant suppliers, but according to Nucleus especially the platforms with a low Total Cost of Ownership (for instance the open source software Mautic) are growing fast.

Atumic - Nucleus vs. Datanyze

If you have read these 5 trends you must have got the feeling too that it is time to move. It is not my goal to scare you. I want to open your eyes for the trends. They will have a huge impact on the marketing developments for the coming years.

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