In the digital economy, consistent failure to satisfy the customer can be fatal. This puts enterprises under tremendous pressure to retain customers while also searching for new ones to offset inevitable churn and grow revenue.

Enter marketing automation (MA), which uses advanced digital technologies to streamline marketing processes and generate data that may contain valuable predictive insights into customer behavior and potential market opportunities.

“Any company that markets to consumers or businesses has to automate their marketing messaging, especially as they grow,” says David Rangel, chief operating officer of Iterable, a San Francisco-based Marketing Automation company focusing on growth marketing, a specialty that emphasizes customer retention as well as acquisition.

Marketing Automation tools are being deployed in industries such as retail, media, insurance, financial services, and others with positive results: 91% of respondents to a survey by Ascend2 who said their enterprises make “extensive use” of MA also said the technology was “very important” to their marketing efforts.

“The marketing automation market is very large,” says Rangel. That is because the need is so great. “It isn’t feasible for a marketing team to manually manage messages to millions of customers across channels such as email, mobile push, mobile in-app, SMS, and more,” he says.

Iterable is one of four MA start-ups that will discuss their technologies and business strategies at a breakfast in New York City on April 5 sponsored by the Velocity Network. (Click here to register.)

While marketing automation isn’t brand new, older platforms are ill-suited to meet the requirements of multichannel marketing and the demands of digital consumers. Rangel says Iterable’s focus is on giving large B2C companies a modern platform for marketing to their customers at scale.

“The last generation of marketing automation companies (e.g., ExactTarget, Responsys) was built 10-plus years ago, and it shows,” he says. “Iterable enables marketers to build sophisticated campaigns in minutes without relying on IT/engineers. This gives marketers a huge advantage in quickly rolling out campaigns to message users across the right channels and with the right content.”

Online real-estate listings provider Zillow uses Iterable to segment and message potential buyers and homeowners. “Zillow messages potential buyers in a way that mirrors the timeline of a consumer searching for a new home,” he says. “For example, one campaign will re-engage users that have been inactive for more than 30 days.”

Other MA companies presenting at the Velocity Network breakfast include:

  • SessionM, which offers a cloud-based platform that integrates MA with loyalty marketing technology and data management capabilities. Customers include AT&T, Coca Cola, and Samsung.
  • Drift, which leverages artificial intelligence to enable business customers to send timely in-app messages to consumers.
  • Clarabridge, which applies advanced text analytics to customer feedback to improve the customer experience. Among its customers are Walmart, GE Healthcare, and Verizon.

Attendees also will hear from Andrew Frank, vice president of research at Gartner, on the latest marketing technologies and trends.

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Marketing Automation News and Views

A failure to execute
“A majority of marketing organizations are not using their highly sophisticated marketing automation tools to their full potential,” despite large investments in these MA platforms, writes MarTech Today’s Mary Wallace.

Automation innovations
Business 2 Community’s Jaime Nacach looks at some of the innovations expected in marketing automation in 2017, including increased use of artificial intelligence and an even greater emphasis on personalized content.

Fueling sales success
The ultimate point of marketing is to increase sales, so it makes sense that marketing automation tools are aligned to the needs and goals of an enterprise’s sales team, according to Siva Yenneti, president of web design and marketing firm ITVibes.