Somewhere, most likely long ago, someone decided that chaining yourself to your desk and developing a workaholic lifestyle was something to be praised. So many of us are congratulated for our work ethic when, in reality, we’re working far too much. And when we find a simpler, easier way to do things, we feel bad about it. Why? Why do we assume that if something can be done more efficiently, that it automatically means we aren’t putting in as much effort? 

To combat this unreasonable expectation, and to allow myself some reprieve, I’ve made my New Year’s resolution to work smarter, not harder. Which is what makes marketing automation genuinely amazing. It makes our lives a whole lot easier by automating certain tasks so we can focus on our other important duties. But that’s not all. While the reasons for needing a marketing automation software are somewhat endless, here are the more compelling things it helps you with: 

  • Adding efficiency to your outreach and lead nurturing strategies
  • Providing a more fast-tracked method for measuring your performance
  • Understanding your customers better through accumulated behavior data
  • Putting data-backed insights to use for marketing improvements

Marketing automation platforms have come a long way, and not every software out there is created equally. Each offers its own benefits, which makes it essential to fully understand the software you’re using, considering using and the developing factors that will ultimately affect your capabilities. 

With that in mind, here are four major factors that will affect how you automate your marketing:

1. Chatbots Aren’t Going Anywhere

It’s 2020; this list wouldn’t be legit unless chatbots were included. We’ve been talking about the coming of chatbots and what they can do for the customer experience for a while, but I think it’s safe to say that they’re here and they aren’t going anywhere. 

Along with being incredibly useful automation tools for brands, today’s chatbots are a lot more complex — and a lot more productive — than their predecessors. This includes being much better at communicating than in the past. On Facebook, live chat software has a 73% satisfaction rate when it comes to customers interacting with brands. And 80% of businesses report that they’ll be deploying brand customized, results-driven chatbots by 2020.

Adding chatbots to your automation strategy could help you save a lot of money on customer service costs. It can also help you move the needle in terms of performance by giving you a chance to provide more real-time connections with your audience and connect prospects with the content they need to make more informed purchasing decisions.

2. There’s A Voice Search Revolution

It’s predicted that this year, 50% of all searches are expected to be done on voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home. And that has significant implications for your brand’s content and SEO. And since content fuels your marketing, that in turn has significant implications for your marketing automation practices. 

It’s undeniable that the voice search revolution is well underway. This is why you must fuel your marketing automation with content that is optimized for voice search. This means you’ll need to:  

The old rules of the SEO game are still going to apply in 2020. But, make sure you’re reworking some of your existing content to better fit with voice searches, and make sure you’re using this content in your email marketing, social media, and any other tasks and areas you automate. 

3. Social Media Isn’t Slowing Down

While the major players in social media seem to be ever-changing, there’s no denying that a strong social presence is more crucial than ever. Fortunately, marketing automation has made managing your social media channels significantly easier and less time consuming, which means that you have more opportunity to work on some truly creative social content.

In 2020, expect social media to become even more of a mainstay in how customers experience and engage with brands. The stakes are high, but the payoff potential is too, which is why automating your social media and building out a thorough strategy is critical.

Keep in mind: 71% of consumers who have positive experiences with a brand on social media are then more likely to recommend that brand to their peers. So, do what you have to do to increase your social efforts. Maybe that’s hiring someone dedicated solely to managing your social media, exploring new social platforms, or looking for better social media automation tools. Whatever it is, you can’t afford to not maximize your use of social channels in the coming year, so start figuring out the next steps. 

4. Revenue Will Always Count

The digital age has turned the world of marketing metrics on its head. Ten years ago, open rates and click-through rates simply weren’t a thing that a lot of brands paid attention to. What they did pay attention to though — and what they’re always going to be paying attention to — is revenue. Lucky for us that embracing marketing automation is one of the quickest things you can do to boost your bottom line.

Marketing automation spend is expected to reach $25 billion by 2023, thanks in large part to revenue growth potential. Businesses that use marketing automation say that the biggest benefits include lead generation and an increase in revenue. What’s more, email marketing automation alone drives 18x more revenue than standard email blasts.

Revenue as a primary metric isn’t going to change, but the way you maximize it is. Invest now in marketing automation so that you don’t fall behind your competitors in the next decade.

Tracking what’s to come in marketing automation is exciting, and seeing how these new developments change our automation and simplify our work will keep us on our toes. Be sure to follow along on our blog, where we’ll be tracking and talking about everything you need to know to excel with your marketing strategy in 2020 and beyond.