Keeping up with new features and product updates is time-consuming. Marketing automation tools are constantly evolving, and choosing which new tools are worthy of your time can be especially difficult.
I recently visited an Act-On event to learn more about Act-On’s product road map. The event, called Adaptive Journeys, A Look Into the Future of Marketing, introduced three new machine learning based innovations for 2018. For all B2B marketers, these will be total game changers.
The innovations coming up are geared around machine learning. Machine learning in marketing automation will help us in finding the most successful path in the buyer journey of a person. In this article I describe a couple of examples of how this works.
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As with most marketing automation tools, Act-On’s current email scheduling options include sending an email now or over a set period of time, scheduling it for later, or if you’re dealing with international audiences, sending it in the recipient’s time zone.
This approach requires us to constantly test and optimise our email schedules. To find the best time to reach out to leads. Unfortunately, the reality is marketers more often lack the time for continuous revising. And our email strategy tends to be based on our needs and not the needs of our leads.
With adaptive emails we’ll truly reach out to our leads when they are ready to engage with us. This new feature will analyse the Act-On tracked behavioural data of the lead and of similar leads to him to identify patterns in behaviour.
For example, Act-On will analyse when the lead usually opens and clicks on our emails. Is it always early on Monday mornings, or only very late on weekends? When does the lead usually visit our website and landing pages? When does he submit forms?
With these learnings, we will be able to schedule our email to go out when the lead is most likely to open the email, click on links and submit our forms. We will see our email statistics go up, and ultimately, our engagement with our leads improve like never before.
Adaptive social posting
Adaptive social posting is built on top of Act-On’s current social posting feature. It follows the same principle as adaptive emails: with our leads’ previous engagement data, Act-On will identify the ideal time for us to post messages on social media.
However, where emails are communications between us and one lead with a unique identifier, our social posts are sent to our entire group of followers. This means adaptive social posting will optimise our posts per network, based on the engagement of our group of followers in that network.
Act-On’s plan for optimising social media posts is 2-fold. First, Act-On will help us find the best time to publish posts per network. For example, when are my Twitter followers most active? Further down on the roadmap, Act-On will optimise our posts per content type within those networks. For example, when is the best time to post about webinars on LinkedIn?
Act-On has reacted to feedback from us users and made major changes to its form builder. The new form builder has the same look and feel as Act-On’s email and landing page editors, and forms no longer need an iframe to hold them.
The most exciting improvement regarding the form builder is the new conditional logic. The if/then rules now allow you to customise the form to the lead based on what he submits in the form. For example, you can set the form to show an extra field when the lead sets his company size to 500+, or display an image of an event location when the lead selects an event from a drop-down.
Adaptive journeys as presented by Act-On are here to stay. It will help marketers to get the best message out, at the perfect time, through the ideal channel. By introducing adaptive journeys Act-On acknowledges that there is no such thing as the one and only buyer journey; we all ‘travel’ differently. Marketing automation can adapt to that, no problem.
Don’t forget that we still need journey mapping and content creation. Leaders in B2B marketing use excellent content that fits the phases of the buyer journey, and not only that, they use the content dynamically. This is only possible when tooling is supporting behaviour-based actions.
I’m looking forward to the new features that marketing automation will offer us. If you want to discuss what Act-On can mean for you, feel free to contact us at email@example.com or via +31 (0)20 705 58 88.