What to Expect From Marketing Automation in 2015

This week, DemandGen Report released their 2015 Marketing Automation Outlook Guide. They interviewed several industry thought leaders to talk about the big changes in 2014 and predictions for the coming year.

With 15 cutting-edge marketing leaders and analysts, you’d expect a lot of varied insight. Each shared what they learned in 2014 and what they had on deck for 2015. As you can imagine, with all the marketing technology and types of audiences, priorities varied across companies. While certainly there’s a lot of material in the guide about a broad range of topics, there were a few key themes and trends that shone through.

Pressure to prove ROI

This has always been a big one for marketers, but as data and technology pick up steam, it’s becoming even more critical. Not only does marketing need to evaluate new technology and find traction in a crowded digital landscape, they need to collaborate cross departmentally and unify campaigns across the whole life cycle.

Predictive analytics

One of the ways marketers hope to become more efficient in the coming year is by leveraging predictive analytics. This year, they’ll be using big data not only to create more efficient, precise programs, but also to prioritize specific prospects and campaigns. Predictive analytics will also be a critical aspect of another big task for marketers: content mapping. Many companies have seen the value of targeted messaging and they’ll need high quality, actionable data to do it.

Shaking up the marketing team

As marketers gain more insight into how buyers are moving through the funnel, they’re realizing that a multi-channel approach is necessary for success. That means that all teams need to operate across all levels and be responsible for more than just their specific domain. In some cases, this may require reorganizing teams to accommodate the multi-channel approach.

Sales and marketing alignment

Sales and marketing alignment is old news, but as the marketing technology landscape grows, it’s got a new twist. Just as marketing teams will need to rethink how they work together, they’ll also need to devise new ways to work with sales. Some of the ideas in the new report might surprise you – such as marketing technology that gives sales the ability to run their own campaigns.

Account-based marketing

But above all, the thing that holds marketing and sales together will be a shared, agreed upon strategy, which is why so many companies will be prioritizing account-based marketing in 2015. Although ABM has always sounded good on paper, this year, companies want to integrate ABM into their technology stack and begin the process of automating it. The ability to execute ABM at scale will impact how marketers operate at every phase of the lifecycle, and how they think about their strategies as a whole.

Customer advocacy and engagement

Of course, your most important accounts are the ones whose logos you already have on your website: your customers. Marketing technology has demonstrated that it’s not just useful before a deal is closed; in fact, it’s elevated the importance of marketing across the whole customer lifecycle.

In case it’s not clear, what all this adds up to is that marketers will be facing a lot of “firsts” in 2015, and furthermore, at the end of twelve months, they may find that they don’t have the same job description they did on January 1. What changes do you expect in 2015? Give us a shout on Twitter @Demandbase.