Topics such as automation, robots and artificial intelligence are never far from the news, yet what opportunities are there to gain efficiencies and productivity gains through marketing automation?

Will Digital Marketing be automated?

digital marketing automation

Most organisations have already automated parts of their sales and marketing operations through ever sophisticated CRM platforms. Automated workflows can manage large-scale, personalised email campaigns, sending prospects specific content once they meet a certain criteria or trigger point.

Long-term, multistage prospect nurturing processes can be built out to gradually drip-feed information crafted specifically to appeal to prospects at each stage of the sales cycle. There are even social media scheduling tools that automatically publish content to your different social media platforms, so you can spend more time creating content.

AI is already changing how organisations interact with prospects and customers in many ways. Messaging applications like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram are now being used for sales, marketing and customer service functions more than ever before. This is due in part to research that shows more consumers prefer to interact with companies through messaging apps than through telephone or email. Over 40% of people survey did not care whether they were interacting with AI instead of a human, as long as they got their query resolved!

Another reason is the significant cost savings to be gained. Automated chatbots can operate 24/7 to promote products and services, gather market intelligence on audiences and help answer frequently asked questions that take up a lot of time for staff. Whilst they are not quite advanced enough to answer highly detailed questions, they can automatically ‘hand-off’ to a live operator when the situations arise. With the rapid development in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) we believe that we are not far off chatbots being able to handle these more advanced interactions.

Chatbots are even being used as personal shopping assistants in co-operation with in-store robots! Walmart use robots to select products and add them to shopping carts, and robotic fulfilment services is increasingly used at big warehouses like Amazon.

Outside of Sales & Marketing, there are some incredible uses of chatbot technology, including the Insomnobot 3000 (one of the best named chatbots I have ever come across), a chatbot that aims to give insomniacs someone to interact with whilst the rest of the world is deep in sleep. Another ambitious project is a chatbot designed to help people with Alzheimer’s disease, who struggle with short-term memory loss.