Technology trends can you leverage off within your Company’s Inbound Strategy

Post by 
Gabriel McCarthy
Published 
January 18, 2019


Customers today are more empowered. They have information readily available to them by simply doing a quick search on their mobile phone. As technology trends have evolved and will continue to change, so too will buying behaviour. Let’s discuss how your inbound marketing automation can adapt to match buying behaviours, and how you can use automation technology to empower you through this evolution.

A lot of my clients come to me asking to help solve their company’s issues with disconnected technology, and most of them are still quite dubious as to whether automation is a viable solution. The problem is, most of them consider digital automation to be only relative to marketing automation solutions. This is far from true.

In fact, look below at one of our recent workshop slides (Adding Authenticity to Marketing Automation) and tell me if you think all that’s listed there can only be a marketing solution?

What can be Automated? | Blended Digital

So the benefits of automation are quite clear, and have been repeated over and over again. However, the ones that stand out are always: clarity, scalability, predictability, quality consistency, better response times, and taking on complex repetitive tasks without increasing the need for additional staff.

So what current technology trends can you leverage to feed into your inbound marketing automation practices? Well, let’s look at what the main drivers of automation are these days…

The way we interpret and interact with technology is undergoing constant transformation. A new digital way of being is created through immersive and conversational platforms.  

The cost of computing power and data storage has plummeted with cloud and Saas growing. Since machine learning depends on large amounts of data being available for processing, the more data those algorithms have, the more detailed their predictions can be.

Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation, the combination of automation with artificial intelligence as well as platforms that support such software systems, is very much a trend these days. Big companies, particularly those trying to figure out technology trends for financial services, such as banks, are taking on this trend in earnest and by the horns.

Unsure what I mean? If you have the latest version of your bank app, see if you’re able to “ask a question” and you may be surprised at how accurate and detailed the answer this chatbot can give you.

AI

Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are still separate trends in their own right (even though they blend and can feed off each other’s practices rather easily). AI is the main driver of advances in automation, with one of its most important aspects being machine learning.

AI for Business | Blended Digital

Machine learning has changed significantly in recent years due to the availability of big data, an increase in computing power, and improved algorithms. Its presence is growing significantly across platforms and devices, adding significant value to inbound marketing automation strategies, including:

  • Social retargeting and remarketing
  • Email marketing personalisation and accuracy
  • Chatbot communication and customer assignment
  • Audience segmentation into appropriate deal and value stages

A great example of a customer journey I use to demonstrate machine learning is this:

You use Google to find information about the best home loans currently available on the market. You come across a few articles and skip through them to see what the top picks are, and your search history is recorded via cookies. Said data is pushed through via incredibly well targeted social posting that knows the right age, gender, and interest appropriate content to show you. You click through on one, sign up for more content from this bot on the page that asks what you’re after. Next thing you know, you’re on ANZ Bank’s radar and implemented into a well-defined workflow designed specifically to your categorised persona.

But all of this happened six months ago, and nothing not much has been sent to you yet. The machine learning system is calculating and waiting to strike. Then, as the interest rate begins to lower, the workflow you’re in is triggered, and ANZ Bank starts telling you this helpful information and you start to tell yourself to speak to someone.

You were led to the decision that you made all by automation – no actual human involvement needed to happen (outside content and asset creation).

The inbound approach means doing business in a human way and creating meaningful one on one relationships with strangers or customers. Inbound means meeting people on their own terms and interacting with them using the platforms they value most. So the more human you make your automation practices, the better.

Inbound marketing automation is also about sharing your knowledge with the world. This will help to increase both awareness and trust with your target audience. It will help to educate your prospects and customers instead of trying to make them engage with you through interruptive experiences. Your strategy must align with how and why your potential buyers think, research, and purchase. It’s about helping each customer with their specific needs. It’s about understanding where your consumers are in the buyer’s journey (or customer journey).

Curious to learn more about the buyer’s journey? Check out this webinar recording we did on “How Marketing Automation Can Impact Your Business?”

Virtual Assistants

Another technology trend that can affect a business is Virtual Assistants (VA) – but they have not reached their full potential just yet. VAs have become smarter in recent years due to AI technologies, such as machine learning, speech recognition (e.g. “Hey Siri”) and computer vision. They are now much more capable of complex, humanistic interactions, including:

– Understanding intent

– Answering questions

– Completing tasks

– Making recommendations

Siri Helps People Find Your Business |

Therefore, we are seeing significant advances in intelligent technologies and we have networks, tools, and platforms supporting automation that assists this advancement.

One of the most impactful is Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

This is a technology relying on software robots (applications) that emulate human actions at the user interface level and integrate those actions to execute a business process. While cutting costs and saving time, one reason for its fast growth is that it sits on top of existing systems and companies can automate processes without replacing pre-existing code. It’s perfect for many companies to use and all ready to begin to leverage within their Inbound Strategies.

On the other hand, RPA can be a drawback for innovation. However, it is estimated that the VA industry will grow from $850 million to $2.4 billion in less than 5 years.

Understanding automation technology

So where does the convergence of technologies that support automation come into play when your company is attempting inbound practices?

With all the various technologies covering automation at all different levels and sometimes overlapping, it becomes increasingly important to understand the specifics of each technology and where it is the most appropriate for inbound marketing automation.

Successful automation means integrating various technologies, processes, and people. Doing so requires your company’s inbound practices to have vision, strategy, and action.

Although there is a clear impact of automation on jobs, it’s a process of evolution that can’t be stopped and should be embraced. The next wave of machines are here to complement humans, to take over activities that we don’t want to do because they are repetitive and don’t use our cognitive capacities, and to perform those tasks that we can’t do.

The importance of human interaction

Inbound marketing automation can never replace human interactions that mean the most to everyone – in fact, they free up more jobs for that to happen.

Replacing a bank teller with an ATM doesn’t replace the empathy you get from someone informing you of how to best spend that money you just took out of the machine. A machine doesn’t care, as it doesn’t relate, but a human does and always will be integral to the human way of life. So inbound will always evolve, but its core values will always remain the same and true.

It is to be expected that the future brings a closer alliance between people and machines, and the challenges of disconnected technology will be a problem of the past. Some jobs will be replaced, others will be created, and many will grow. Enterprise companies that have invested heavily in automation (like ANZ Bank) are hiring at a steady pace and are enabling its employees for the future.

Our work at this point is to find the correct balance between man and machine, making sure that intelligent automation is a valuable instrument that helps us progress and frees up more time for creativity and innovation that shines through inbound methodologies.

Because human complexities will always be as fascinating as the depths to which you can explore the endless corridors of the mind.

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