What does the marketing landscape look like in 2023? Mike and Hannah discuss the trends marketers will see in the new year, from omnichannel campaigns to personalisation and experimentation.

They also share their thoughts on the increased use of automation reported by ActiveCampaign, as well as some tips on target audience segmentation.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Marketing Automation Moment Episode Four – What are the Marketing Automation Trends for 2023?

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Kelly

Hannah: Welcome to the marketing automation moment Podcast. I’m Hannah Kelly.

Mike: And I’m Mike Maynard. This is Napier’s podcast to tell you about the latest news from the world of marketing automation.

Hannah: Welcome to the marketing automation moment Podcast. I’m Hannah.

Mike: And I’m Mike. Today we’re discussing hub spots new film about startups.

Hannah: We discussed the increase in the use of automation. We’ll give you some predictions for 2023. And share some tips on target audience segmentation. It’s good to have you back after an eye operation Mike, how are you feeling?

Mike: Well, thanks, Hannah. I’m feeling great. Actually, the operations went really well. Still a little bit of blurriness from the drugs, but I’m almost back at full force. So looking forward to our conversation today.

Hannah: So I think the biggest thing that you’ve missed while you were away, Mike, is that HubSpot have actually released some news in collaboration with LinkedIn, that they’re going to co produce a new documentary series called spiralling up the journey to become a unicorn. And I think the idea behind this is that it’s meant to explore how startups can scale up because obviously, HubSpot started up as a start up, and really show some behind the scenes secrets. But I don’t know, does it feel a bit wishy washy to you? Or do you think it’s going to be an actual decent documentary?

Mike: It’s, it’s really interesting. I mean, I think the snarky view is, is that people used to talk about vanity publication when companies published books about themselves, and did it through self publishing. And that became very big. But now it seems like you’ve got to make a documentary mentary series about what you do, rather than just do a book. So I don’t know. I think that there is definitely some element of vanity in it. But it’ll be really interesting to see what they can do. Because I think a lot of HubSpot market really cares about startups. And they certainly seem to have got access to some big name people. So I’m actually I hate to confess it, but I’m actually quite excited about it and looking forward to watching it.

Hannah: I love the snarky view Mike, you know, I don’t always like to be snarky, but wasn’t there a book that HubSpot or someone at HubSpot wrote that actually you really enjoyed as well?

Mike: Oh, one of my favourite books. So I mean, maybe this is why HubSpot have decided to go the film route rather than the book route. is I don’t know if anybody listening has read disrupted a book by Dan Lyons. downlines is quite a well known journalist. And he went to work for HubSpot for I think, was about nine months. And his description of HubSpot and the kind of bro startup culture that existed there at the time, I thought was fantastic. I love it and definitely recommend it as a read to anyone listening.

Hannah: I love that. So maybe this documentary series is actually going to be their version of the story and maybe a more sleek version, rather than Dan Lyons version.

Mike: I mean, downlines version love to talk about Nerf gun wars and things like that. I suspect there’ll be less of a highlight of the film than they were in deadlines book.

Hannah: Yeah, hopefully, there’ll be actual more insightful advice behind the scenes from HubSpot and LinkedIn actually.

Mike: Yeah, and if it can be as funny as deadlines is booked, that’d be a bonus too.

Hannah: So one thing I wanted to talk about Mike, because obviously, you know, we’re gonna run up to Christmas now, but recently, we have had Black Friday. And Black Friday is obviously can be a goldmine for companies. And I actually read a really interesting report from Active Campaign, who said that compared to the Black Friday weekend, in 2021, more than 50% of their customers were sending emails and conducting automated experiences during the Black Friday period. And to me, I thought this was really interesting, because one of the big things I always hear a lot is, you know, clients and companies, they have their marketing automation platforms, but it’s not used to their full potential, you know, there’s so much more they can be doing, they’re just sending a few emails. But actually, this stat really tells me that companies really are embracing all the capabilities or the market automation platform, especially for something as big as Black Friday.

Mike: Yeah, for sure. And supposedly, this year, more people were out shopping in physical stores, because we’re not so worried about COVID the vaccination programme has let people feel more able to go out and shop in a real environment. So the fact that there’s been a 50% increase in a year where theoretically online should have dropped relative to physical retail, I think is is a pretty impressive stat and it’s really good to hear that people are now using their marketing automation systems for automation, rather than just to be you know, simple email platforms which I know sometimes happens with with companies where they really struggle to go beyond seeing it as an email distribution platform.

Hannah: Oh definitely. And also another thing that the report field that it’s actually more than 1 billion automation actions every day in Active Campaign alone. So I mean, if you look at Active Campaign, that’s 1 billion. What’s it going to be like when you add all the marketing automation platform stats together?

Mike: Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, active campaigns are a very successful marketing automation platform. But it’s not one of the biggest platforms around here. So for sure, you know that they’re a relatively small percentage overall, the automations. I do just wonder about that automation figure, whether it’s, it’s really a good number, because what is an automation? I mean, is it something as simple as allocating someone to a salesperson? Is it something as complex as routing someone through a nurture journey? I think you know, it, it’s hard to say whether that’s the right measure or not, but certainly relatively, the jump is huge. And it shows that people are not only valuing marketing automation more, but also trying to use more of the capabilities, which I think is super important.

Hannah: I think that’s an interesting perspective. Because I agree, is it just something because you know, simple, that they’re automating it so that a sales person is notified when they get to a certain stage in the customer journey, but to me as well, I actually think that’s really valuable. So even if it is this real simple automations, it’s still showing that they’re using the platform, because one of the big things about marketing automation platforms is that they are meant to bring sales and marketing teams together. And so if the automations are counted the sales actions, then to me, I think that’s a really good sign.

Mike: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think there’s no good and bad marketing automation within a platform, the more automations are beneficial. You’re absolutely right, Hannah, it’s just you know, how you run that you might run an allocate people in your database to sales teams and have a, an automation that runs through your database every day to do that allocation, you know, for 99% of the database, that’s not something new. Or alternatively, you might only allocate them when they come in as a new contract, in which case, I think that that automation number is much more valid. So there’s some nuances there. But I think we can both agree, can’t wait. But it’s a good thing. People are using more automation. And that’s going to help not only get better results, but also deliver better campaigns as well.

Hannah: I think we could definitely agree on that. Mike.

Mike: One of the things I saw that I think is very relevant to a lot of people using marketing automation is a predictions article on martec.org. On marketers, and what they need to do prepare for 2023. Did you see that?

Hannah: I did, yes. And it did actually have some really interesting thoughts about what the future looks like for 2023. I mean, to me, one of the things that stuck out, and it is obvious, but any saying is that Account Based Marketing is going to continue to grow. And it really is going to come more important. And I think, you know, the recession will have something to do with this. Because we need to focus budgets, marketers need to focus budgets on their biggest opportunities, and Account Based Marketing allows marketers to do that. And so I think it’d be really interesting to see, you know, if the recession hits, how marketers are going to use their budget, to really optimise the return of investment.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I agree. And I think the recession is a big issue, we are going to see problems across both b2c and b2b as the world slows down a bit in terms of economic development. And I think for people using marketing automation, this is super important, a lot of people are still being a little bit lazy in their testing. And so what they’re doing is running one campaign, and then they compare the next campaign to the previous campaign and see whether the next campaign is better or worse, and they’re not really doing proper A B testing. That’s fine if the world’s growing because as the economy grows, your campaigns look better, even if they aren’t better, because economic growth makes them look better, it delivers better results. If you hit a recession, and you’re comparing a campaign, you’ve run now to a campaign you’ve run maybe six months ago, the world was in a different place than a much more positive place. And so I think you’re likely to see your results fall if you’re doing these comparisons over a period of time. So I mean, marketers, and particularly marketers, using our automation tools, I think, needs to be really aware of the impact of the recession, both in terms of business and what they’ve got to do to make up for the economic slowdown, but also in terms of the fact that they shouldn’t be doing what would be called longitudinal comparison. So comparisons of two campaigns run at different times.

Hannah: I think that’s such a good point to make Mike because one of the things that I read in the article as well and and it kind of relates to what you were just saying there about the AV testing is that personalization is going to continue to really be a growth driver. And I think that so if i to especially when you’re targeting different segments with target audiences, and I know we’re going to discuss this in a little bit, far insightful Tip of the Week, but companies are going to need to spend more time personalising content, and it could be down to just changing the different landing page titles, it could be to share in the same ebook or white paper, but actually changing the messaging that’s communicated in the ad. But I think you’re so right in the fact that there needs to be more testing and the budget needs to be used to actually help marketers understand what’s working for their company.

Mike: Definitely, I mean, actually, maybe now’s a good time to move on to what we think is gonna happen in 2023. I mean, obviously, the listeners gonna have a look at the article in matec.org. But, you know, I think we came up with five key trends we think are going to happen for marketing automation in 2023. So do you want to kick off with Trend number one?

Hannah: Yeah, definitely. And I have to say, you know, obviously not alone, because the first two trends that we actually had on our list, Mike, were Account Based Marketing and personalization. So I don’t want to brag, but we’re obviously in line thinking with the experts. So that’s all good. But if we move on, you know, you did mention to me earlier that omni channel campaigns is going to be a trend that we’re going to see in 2023, did you want to explore a little bit more about that?

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I have to say, I hate the term omni channel, it’s something that’s thrown out to basically mean multi channel. So I felt we had to put it in because you know, it’s a trendy term. But basically, I think people are gonna go beyond this simple approach of you advertise, you drive someone to a landing page, they register, you send them in email, nurture campaign. That’s it. Because although that’s multi channel, it’s multi channel in a sequence. And I think what we’ll see is we’ll see a marketing automation campaigns, being more directed to use multiple channels at the same time in the same stage of the journey. And my simplest example is, is when you’ve got someone in an email nurture campaign, why you’re not advertising to them. You know, retargeting lets you focus on people, and advertise just to people in the nurture campaign, it’s a really simple thing to do. And so I think what we’ll see is we’ll see people using multiple channels at the same time at the same stage of the customer journey. And that’s going to make the campaigns much more effective. So to me, that’s an obvious one. And it’s really just an evolution and development of how people use marketing automation to make better use of the capabilities.

Hannah: I agree. And I think it’s been really interesting to see I mean, even in the last quarter of this year, we’ve spoken to some clients, we’ve been speaking to some new prospects, and we say to them, okay, well, that’s great. We can do an email nurturing and flow. But what about Google ads campaign? What about retargeting? And there’s so much opportunity. And it’s, it’s good to see that actually, in the last quarter of this year, we’re already trending to making that a reality.

Mike: Definitely, I hope we’re going to see more and more of it, because it’s going to make marketing automation more effective.

Hannah: So one thing that we discussed earlier, Mike, which I’d really like the listeners to know more about is the form of a micro customer journey campaign. What did you mean by that?

Mike: Yeah. So this is one of my big things is a lot of marketing automation, doesn’t take much notice of the stage at which customers or prospects are at as they go through the journey. And so quite often, what we see is we see campaigns that try and get a complete customer journey in one campaign. So you’ll start off with maybe some, you know, targeted LinkedIn advertising, driving to a landing page, some email, nurture, and then the salesperson will call. And magically, this contact in one campaign has gone from never having heard of your company, or offering all the way through to being ready to buy, which we all know is unrealistic in a lot of situations. So I think what we’re gonna see more and more of is we’re gonna see people breaking down the customer journey into multiple micro journeys. And so you know, a simple example might be if you use the, you know, awareness, Interest, Desire action, moving someone from interest to desire is a really simple stage knows, somebody knows about the product, they’re interested in it, how do we get them to actually want to buy. So that sort of journey is fairly easy to do in terms of presenting the benefits and beat trying to be personal to the individual prospect. And also, you also need to present things like risk reduction or content like case studies. But it’s very measurable to see when somebody moves their engagement from content that’s interest driven to content, this desire driven, and I think you’ll see a lot more people breaking down that journey, and trying to move from one stage to another, it’s my big issue, as you know, with scoring is scoring just gives you a number. And if you’ve got a high score, then actually the next action is very different if you’ve got a high score, and you’re just really at that awareness interest, kind of phase top of the funnel, as compared to somebody who’s right at the bottom of the funnel and ready to buy so I’m not a big fan of scoring and I think by breaking down customer journeys, and getting these micro journeys, people will start getting a lot better results from their marketing automation system.

Hannah: I actually love this point of view because I believe what you’re saying there, Mike, is that rather than this one, you know, there’ll be a huge marketing strategy. But really, we’re going to see a bit more detailed and campaigns running simultaneously from awareness to conversion, or from sales to desire, and how is that going to work? Could you give an example of how that would work in a campaign?

Mike: So I think what there’ll be is they’ll actually be separate campaigns. And so you’ll have segmentation. And you’ll split people out. And you’ll know which stage people are at, or at least you’ll have a model to define which stage people are at. And you’re looking to move people along that segment of the journey. So you’re absolutely right, you’ll have multiple campaigns running in parallel. But one campaign will be targeting the people who maybe you’ve just acquired, so they maybe got awareness, but no interest or desire. You know, the other campaign might be bottom of the funnel stuff that’s trying to get people who’ve really engaged to then start put their hand up. And the classic b2b thing might be to get a demo of a product. So I think you’ll have lots of those, but segmentation will be the secret.

Hannah: I love that. So, Mike, I’m really excited about the next trend, because I will be honest to our listeners, when Mike showed me this tool, it really did blow my mind. I was really excited about the capabilities. And so we’ve not said anything about AI yet, Mike. So did you want to talk about chat? GPT?

Mike: Well, yeah, I mean, I think last trend is experimentation. And I think as you say, Chechi GPT is the hot new AI product at the moment. Although if you want to know what the marketing trends are in 2023, don’t ask chat GPT. It’ll tell you it can’t give you trends. So there are certainly limitations with this cool new AI kid. It is amazing in terms of what it can do. And I think a lot of people have seen new stories about how chat GPT can help. And I think because of that it is going to make people feel a little more comfortable experimenting. And obviously AI is one area of experimentation. But I think people will experiment in lots of other areas, whether that be online chat, whether it’s more testing, and all of this. So I’m really optimistic that now we’ve seen in the story earlier about Active Campaign, having more automations more and more people using the automation element of their marketing automation tool. So hopefully now the next step is to get people to experiment and optimise. And that really is going to unlock much better results.

Hannah: Definitely, and I think for me personally as well, I mean, we talk about AI, we’ve talked about AI on the previous podcast, but to see an actual tool that people are using that has the capabilities to help them experiment to help them optimise is actually really exciting.

Mike: Definitely. And I think, you know, the more people experiment, the more they’re going to learn about their audience and their particular group of prospects. Because we all know that there’s not golden rules for market automation that apply across everybody. And actually, what I really hope is that experimentation is going to mean that companies are running fewer campaigns that they like, and more campaigns that work. And we quite often see this, you know, companies do want to run campaigns that internally, they like the campaign. And sometimes they’re great, sometimes they work fantastically, but sometimes they just don’t resonate with the audience, they’re focused more on someone who’s already an expert on that particular company, or the product or service or whatever. So what we want to see is more experimentation, and more acceptance, when the campaign you like, isn’t actually the most effective to use the effective one.

Hannah: I love that the campaigns that work, I feel like you speak as a true agency owner in wanting our clients to succeed there, Mike.

Mike: Well, yeah, and as you know, typically, when we try these optimization competitions internally, and we see who can generate the best optimization, I’m quite often not the person to write the best ad. So it’s people like Helen, who always beat me. And it’s not that I don’t make the best out I’m sure mine are the best, but actually just happens that has performed better. And I think you’ve got to be very humble. It’s got to be tried different things. And see which optimization actually resonates best with your audience. And don’t have this ego that says the one that I like best has to be the one I run because I think that’s very often wrong and particularly wrong when you look at something like marketing automation, which, generally speaking is a lot of touches, but quite low engagement touches.

Hannah: Definitely some great advice there, Mike. Thank you. So, to finish off our podcast, you know, we’re coming to the end of our time, let’s have a little chat about our insightful tip. Now, this week, we want to talk about the importance of segmentation with target audiences. So, to me, there’s many effective ways to segment properly. I mean, one high level way is using the same content but pulling out different messaging, as I mentioned, reviews and ads. But could you share what effective ways you think are of how companies can segment their target audiences.

Mike: Yeah, so this is a really interesting one because I think segmentation is an area where perhaps there’s a real lack of creativity. So we’ll quite often see very simple segmentation. So it might be, we’re segmenting our target accounts and every other account, which sometimes is strange, because actually probably they need the same messaging and the same content, or we’re segmenting sea level people, and then everybody else or engineers, and everybody else. And I think what you need to do with segmentation is try and be a little more creative. So one thing that quite often isn’t used for segmentation, but certainly should be is stage of the customer journey, we’ve already talked about that. Somebody at the awareness stage is going to need some very different content to somebody who’s almost ready to buy. But also, I think, looking at how you create segmentation groups. And so you could look at, for example, buyers, people who actually buy your product and people who were influences, or you could split that influences out and there could be financial influences and technical influences. For example, if you’ve got a technical product, so there are people who, in an organisation might be responsible for saying yes, technically it’s okay. And people who might be responsible for saying, yes, you get the budget. And I think it’s thinking about roles and what people want. And that’s the classic, you know, we’re going to talk about pain points, and motivators and all those kinds of classic persona things. But really thinking about more than just a job role and the company name and maybe a company size is really important when segmentation. So my advice is actually don’t feel there’s there’s a silver bullet answer. Just go mad, be creative, and try different things.

Hannah: I love that go mad. The best advice. And I think it’s important to add on to that, Mike is that the segmentation needs to be used across all platforms. You know, we talked about the omni channel approach earlier. And it’s not just you know, segmentation for emails, it’s segmentation. In your LinkedIn campaigns, it’s segmentation, your Google ads, it’s being creative across all the platforms, as many as you can really.

Mike: That is such an important point. And that often, we’ll see people run an email campaign where they segment carefully, and then they’ll run an ad campaign. And those digital ads will be the same ads to everybody. And that clearly is not right, you need to try and segment. It can be harder to segment when you’re advertising versus when you’re running email marketing campaigns, or it can be harder on social and email marketing. But the more you can segment, the better. So that is definitely a super important thing to remember. And I love that tip.

Hannah: Brilliant. Wow. Thanks for your time again, like it’s been another interesting conversation.

Mike: No, thank you, Hannah. It’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed it. And all that’s left is to say have a great Christmas.

Hannah: Thanks for listening to the marketing automation moment podcast.

Mike: Don’t forget to subscribe in your favourite podcast application. And we’ll see you next time.