2014-11-June-Refrigerator.jpgAs a marketer, I have a different outlook on digital communications than most consumers.

I see the connections between omnichannel marketing strategies that trigger emails and display campaigns and site personalization tailored to me based on my previous behaviors. I understand how looking at a refrigerator on a major retailer’s website provides enough data to target me through marketing automation platforms via emails and Facebook campaigns, personalized to the model and prices that I viewed. I have witnessed the progression from one-sized fits all digital communication to the personalized experiences we have today.

I also realize how far we still have to go to reach the promise of true marketing automation -- the optimization of customer management.

What consumers want from marketing is simple: provide the right information at the right time through the right channel. Automation today touches on this, but stops short at tying all of the pieces of customer data together. Three weeks after buying the refrigerator in-store, I was still receiving messages about the model I looked at. While the platform had correctly understood that I was in the market, it failed to capture the end result -- I bought the refrigerator, my customer relationship status changed. My customer data was provided, but the platform was not set up to act on it.

Gartner Research has predicted that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationships without talking to a human. In order for this to happen effectively, marketing automation must evolve from its current state to address the following three themes:

  • Deeper Marketing Stack Integration
  • Marketer Empowerment
  • Customer Management Optimization

Integration Gives the 360 View 

Marketing automation will evolve by integrating fully into the marketing stack. The future digital experience will merge data and delivery into one system. Centralized automation systems will provide touch points for web content management, digital asset management and customer relationship management platforms into vehicles and channels that reach across web, email, search, ad exchanges, TV ads, in-store, customer support and beyond. Online and offline data will be merged with an end purpose: to centralize customer data points into one actionable, 360 degree viewpoint for business operations. This will allow businesses to automate communication from a central vantage point. This platform will capture all the data needed to optimize the customer experience, including the data points identifying both that I looked at and purchased the refrigerator.

Training Helps Focus on the Customer Relationship

In 2014, marketers are experiencing fast changes in tactics and strategies with little training. According to Adobe’s Digital Distress Study, just 48 percent of digital marketers feel highly proficient in digital marketing. The deeper integration of automation into the marketing stack will outpace the majority of marketers’ ability to practice optimizing customer management.