June 25, 2019
If there’s an area in any business that keeps reinventing itself year in and year out, that definitely has to be marketing. It stands to reason – the constant innovations in the digital world and the irruption of new technologies need marketers to adapt their actions. That’s especially true in the last few years, a time when we’re seeing more complex and sophisticated solutions seep into our everyday lives.
AI-powered software, big data analytics, and automation are just 3 of the biggest examples we can use today that already found their way into the marketing world. In fact, these 3 technologies are changing the way we understand marketing for good, as they are providing never-before-seen possibilities.
Of course, marketers that want to take full advantage of these technological advancements need the aid of software development, be it in the form of an in-house team or with the help of a software development outsourcing company. Why’s that? Because those technologies need specific and even custom solutions to prove useful for different companies.
Software development services can provide marketing teams with new platforms that can boost their performance. Here’s how they can do that.
The most important marketing trends right now
Though there are several trends going around today that can impact marketing to a greater or lesser extent, the 3 we’ve mentioned before are unavoidable. A lot of companies are using artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and automation to gain a certain edge over their competitors. Let us see how they are using those trends.
Artificial intelligence (AI): since we’re living in the information age, there are lots of data flowing around. Companies can now learn tons of details about their customers, from their demographics to their individual behaviors. In that context, AI solutions can scan, analyze, and identify patterns your marketing team can use to create more robust campaigns and take more informed decisions. Additionally, AI-powered software can aid with repetitive tasks.
One of the most ubiquitous uses of AI in marketing can be seen in chatbots. You’ve surely visited a website where a digital assistant welcomed you and offered to address your questions. Those solutions were developed by software development providers that used artificial intelligence to make those chatbots sound human.
Of course, that’s not the only use for AI. Google’s auto-complete feature, Amazon’s product recommendations, and the navigational systems of self-driving cars are some other examples of AI-powered software. The possibilities are countless and they can cover a lot of ground, from offering real-time solutions to customers to analyzing data and pulling actionable insights. All of these can have a tremendous impact on your communications, sales outreach and your overall influence as a brand.
Big data analytics: AI-powered software allows for the monitoring and analysis of big datasets in a short amount of time. Specialized solutions to do so can examine millions of important metrics to identify potential growth opportunities for your marketing team. By delving into your audience’s demographics and combining it with KPIs such as unique visitors, leads, generation costs, and ROI, you can quickly understand your consumers and their behavior.
The processing of big data is just the beginning. After identifying trends within your database, you can engage with your customers in a more customized manner and through creative new ways.
The fashion retailer H&M is a great example of a creative use of big data analytics. The company uses the insights provided by its datasets to adapt its supply chain, thus meeting customers demands, preventing issues with the inventory, and even defining fluctuations in prices. Big data also works for the brand by analyzing consumption patterns from all of its worldwide stores to tailor the merchandise sold in each and every one of them.
Automation: one of the biggest trends, marketing automation continues to expand and grow within the marketing community. That’s no surprise. Automation software can prioritize and carry out several repetitive tasks found on your daily routine, thus saving you time and money.
Today it’s mostly used to automate communications, especially for sending personalized emails, making automated offers based on who the customer is, and publishing content in social media. Thus, automation helps a lot in nurturing prospects for the long term, which means that its goals are located beyond direct sales.
Software development companies can help you get a customized solution to easily add dynamic content throughout your funnel. In this way, you can focus on the quality of your messages and the right moments to engage, while the software takes care of sending the messages automatically in the proper moments.
The benefits of software development for the marketing industry
All of the trends above can bring several benefits for your marketing strategy. Working with software developers or going with the outsourcing of software development means that you can tailor the tools to fit your specific needs. In other words, custom software can mean different advantages for different companies.
However, there are some general benefits that software can provide to marketing teams everywhere, including:
- Reduction of repetitive tasks: from the AI-powered customer support to the automated sending of tailor-made emails, these trends can free up time from your marketing team. That leaves you the possibility to take more time in designing your strategies and messages, knowing that basic tasks are taken care of by digital solutions.
- Consolidation of data: Customized software can act as a central platform where all of the data you gather is consolidated. This main node in your data infrastructure can guarantee easy access to all of your marketing team members, thus making it possible for them to check trends and growth opportunities as needed.
- Stricter control: metrics of interest can be monitored through automated AI-powered solutions, making analysis easier on your marketers. Controlling KPIs in real-time can also trigger alerts about the ones that are underperforming as well as emerging trends that might otherwise be lost.
Is software development for marketing the right choice for you?
Before you go out looking for software development companies, you need to decide if adopting software for your marketing is the right thing to do for your company. Obviously, you might feel like it is, mainly because a lot of companies are using these new technologies and you surely don’t want to stay behind.
Yet, you have certain things to consider first, including:
- Be clear about what you want to accomplish with marketing software. If you believe that by including new software you’ll achieve spectacular results, you might want to think again. Success isn’t immediate and isn’t guaranteed. For your investment in software to be fruitful, you need to know how the digital solution might help you. Besides, you need to understand where it all fits in your overall strategy because an unmonitored implementation might end up hurting you more than doing good.
- Analyze your company’s situation. In these fast-paced times, it is easy to fall for the urgency trap. “Everyone else is doing it, so I must do it too!” you might argue, but that would be wrong. If you aren’t prepared for the implementation of these technologies, then you’re bound to fail. You need to have the time to learn the new tools, count with the resources for them to work at full capacity, and fit them in your processes. If that isn’t the case, then you definitely aren’t ready.
- Examine internal and external impact. Implementing new technologies will surely impact both your marketing team members and your clients. And though most business owners always imagine the best possible outcome, reality shows that a poor integration of software solutions can bring negative results. Your staff feeling unprepared or left out, slowing down of internal processes because of scarce training, bewildered clients in front of confusing actions – if you don’t fully understand what you’re doing, all of these might come true.
Some final words
Artificial intelligence, big data analytics and automation are certainly in vogue right now and aren’t going away any time soon. That’s because they can bring notorious benefits to the companies that use them – provided they know how to do so.
In that context, hiring software development providers to work on a customized platform for you might be tempting. However, there’s a series of things to keep in mind before jumping on board. Your company’s current situation, your staff capabilities, your clients’ expectations, and your own limitations will define if you’re in a position to start working with them.
In short, you don’t need to go into software development for your marketing team if you aren’t ready. If you are, though, you’ll get several benefits that will nurture your relationship with your clients, optimize your internal processes, save you time and money, and provide you with countless growth opportunities.
Malcom is a tech expert specializing in the software outsourcing industry. He has access to the latest market news and has a keen eye for innovation and what's next for technology businesses.