Is marketing automation still relevant in 2017?

Elly Brookfield on June 14, 2017

Picture yourself as the CEO of a massive company.

Perhaps you already are the CEO of a massive company – in which case, picture yourself.

What do you spend most of your time doing? Brainstorming new ideas? Business meetings? Golf?

Whatever it is, you’re a busy person. And you probably don’t have time, or want to pay someone to send out hundreds of personalised emails to your customers and potential leads. You certainly don’t have time to keep track of all the visitors to your website and send them relevant content. But if you’re planning to run a successful marketing operation, it has to be done. And it’s likely that the skills required to develop and manage such a programme could be a challenge.

Whilst this dilemma exists, we can promise you that marketing automation will remain not only relevant, but also essential for modern successful companies. It will become commonplace in the UK, just like it has become in the US. 

According to Forbes, 85% of marketers who use automation tools believe that this technology has the potential to significantly change the future of marketing. However, the same number still believes that they don’t use them to their full potential.

In fact, a recent poll by Smart Insights found that nearly a quarter of B2B businesses are still not using Marketing Automation at all. Only 7% reported that they used all features of marketing automation and optimise them, which suggests an overwhelming majority still have a fair way to go to get better results.

A recent study by Mckinsey tells us that up to 45% of activities performed by paid professionals can be automated. These consist mostly of repetitive activities, like sending remarketing emails, segmenting new leads, and generating ROI reports. And with these marketing executives coming in at a high price, it might be worth investing in a new automated system.


Here’s what we expect the best Automated Marketing campaigns to have this year:

  1. A strong human connection

According to Nurture CEO Rich Watts, the need to maintain a strong human dimension in an automated marketing campaign is only going to get stronger.

“Clients are sick to death of receiving bland, irrelevant content that doesn’t feel personalised. When it comes to modern automated marketing technology, systems are getting more and more intelligent in analysing browser activity. Nowadays there’s no excuse for our campaigns not to be personalised and targeted.”

There will always be high value in adding in the human element to build trust and connections. That’s what allows you to close the deal or answer the most pressing questions. 

  1. Personality over Persistance

The marketing world is slowly learning from the huge campaign successes like that of Lenny (Lena Dunham’s monthly newsletter) and Brainpickings’ weekly insight.

These two have managed to build up a dedicated cult following with huge open rates. Lena Dunham’s success is largely attributed to her fantastic content that sign ups can’t wait to read every month, and also to the fact that she doesn’t spam any of her readers with information they haven’t asked for.

The same can be said of Brainpickings, self-called “interestingness digest.” Handpicking only the most unmissable articles about creativity, psychology, art, science, design, and philosophy, this newsletter appeals to a wide audience. At its core, it explores what it means to live a good life.

By keeping these newsletters as a rare treat rather than an everyday occurrence, and by keeping the content fresh and interesting, people are less tempted to unsubscribe.

  1. Automation technology will become far more sophisticated

With more complicated marketing automation systems in use, we should be able to build better-rounded customer profiles with new ways of capturing customer data at different points. Companies can do this by asking customers more questions at different points to allow them to build personalised profiles.

Technology like AI will also allow marketers to analyse and predict customer behaviour. With the increased accuracy of self-learning algorithms, marketers will get better at deconstructing data, allowing them to create incredibly targeted and timed user experiences.

  1. It’ll become much more cost effective too…

Right now, the main providers of marketing automation can be extremely costly, whether you’re a huge firm, or a growing start-up. Equally as important to both, costs can be managed by the volume of distributed emails but the fundamental monthly cost remains high. Expect to see a new offerings coming to market that lower the cost of entry. Just be sure to evaluate their solutions alongside one of the more established so you know what you’re getting for your money.

In general, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing an end to marketing automation any time soon. With demand growing and more sophisticated systems showing a huge amount of promise for marketers everywhere, it looks like we’ll only see more campaigns in the future.