Marketing automation, dashboards & machine learning are three technology solutions that PR & marcomm teams should explore.

You’ve probably seen this overwhelming graphic of the thousands of MarTech solutions available. While your specific needs will depend on the specific challenges you are trying to solve, there are three categories of MarTech solutions that you should not ignore in 2020. 

We’re not just entering a new year – we’re entering a whole new decade of marketing, and now is the time to up-level your team’s capabilities to build the foundation for a decade of marketing success. Here are three categories of tools to explore in 2020.

1)    A marketing automation platform that allows you to create campaigns, measure results and pivot with ease.

This is so foundational to marketing success, it should be a given. Yet I still run across established companies that are piece-mealing solutions together, trying to get by with free or basic versions of software or have signed up for a sophisticated software solution, but barely use it.

2020 is the year to take full control of the power of marketing automation. Set up those trigger campaigns that will communicate with prospects based on their actions (or inactions), start scoring your leads so you communicate with the right people at the right time, and A/B test everything you can so that you continually refine and improve your efforts throughout the year. While the right tool will depend on your company’s needs, we are particularly excited about HubSpot’s new multi-channel attribution feature that will help with measuring and pivoting (shameless plug: we’re a HubSpot Gold Partner).

2)    A dashboarding tool that allows stakeholders to view marketing performance in real-time.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t immediately hop on the automated dashboarding train. I’m a nerd, and I find a lot of satisfaction in pulling numbers myself, straight from the source – it helps me to see trends, identify opportunities and analyze data as I go. But as we approach 2020, all of your marketing stakeholders – from your copywriters and social schedulers to your CEO and board – will be demanding data to make decisions and do their jobs better. Dashboards allow you to fulfill these demands without overwhelming your team with constantly having to pull metrics.

But warning – the dashboard that works for your content creator isn’t the same dashboard you should share with your CEO! You’ll need to analyze each stakeholder’s individual needs and customize dashboards accordingly. Your content creator needs to see performance by content topic and content type. But what in the world would your CEO do with that data?

Dashboards also don’t eliminate the need for analysis and resulting action plans – but they can fulfill the constant demand for real-time data that you’re likely to encounter more and more in the coming decade.

3)    An AI or machine learning tool that takes burdens off of your team and/or makes your campaigns smarter.

Machine learning will be essential to marketing in 2020 because it will enable organizations to more effectively engage with their target audiences, which will increase their reach and lead generation. Marketing executives have traditionally relied on data to understand what their customers want, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use data analytics to help them reach out to those customers. Data, of course, is critical for business and marketing, but there’s more to data than meets the eye. As an executive at a global media company told me, “We have to look beyond what our data says, and we must also do more with our data to develop and measure our brand.”

Guess what? I didn’t write the paragraph above. Machine learning did. While it may not have a lot of meat, it’s mostly coherent and could certainly be the baseline of an article. All I started with was “Machine learning will be essential to marketing in 2020 because…” I first tried to get the algorithm to write this whole article for me, but the topic was too broad. It seems like it’s best for more specific queries or to get you started.

If you haven’t already, 2020 is the year to find a place to fit machine learning and AI in your marketing processes. Where? There are lots of uses for AI and machine learning in PR and marketing – from content planning to trend identification to personalized recommendations to identifying high-risk customers. Determining where to start depends on your biggest pain points. Look for areas that frustrate or bog down your team – these are often the best starting points.

What MarTech solutions are you excited to implement in 2020? Let us know @AR__PR.Need help determining which MarTech solutions and services can meet your needs in the coming decade? Give us a shout.

As SVP of digital marketing and analytics and ARPR’s resident data geek, Renee bridges the gap between traditional PR and lead generation.

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