The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Social media scheduling
I use marketing automation for scheduling all social media content well in advance, which frees up time to handle other aspects of the business. Marketing automation will continue to grow and provide ways to do more within a short amount of time while still maintaining a personal touch. I think the future will focus on automated analytics and statistics that show the results of our marketing efforts.
We use marketing automation to schedule follow-ups for leads and proposals. This saves us a significant amount of time and ensures that we are top of mind for that potential client. It's all about repetition and being in front of the lead. The future of automation will get more sophisticated by analyzing data and statistics to increase the touch points you get with a specific lead.
Salesforce's Pardot is essentially our marketing director’s virtual assistant. It cuts down on the day-to-day administration of marketing activities so she can focus on strategic initiatives. I foresee larger adoption and better affordability of marketing automation tools. Right now it's pricey ($1,000+ per month), but I anticipate pricing breaks as more competitors enter the ring.
Email marketing is automated. Whether someone signs up for a newsletter email or abandons their shopping cart, they’ll be automatically subscribed to specific email lists that send out email blasts at scheduled intervals. Our site and product review process is also entirely automated, minus comment moderation. In the future, order processing and fulfillment will likely be totally automated.
Automated push campaigns
We use Appboy to create automated push campaigns that we use in our app. It allows us to keep our users engaged and ensures that they only receive notifications when appropriate. There are so many ways to reach customers (push, email, in-app messaging, etc.). As marketers better understand how these various channels work, you're going to see them better tailor their marketing to each user.
We use Google's remarketing tool to automate our remarking strategy to our site's visitors. Whenever someone visits our website once, they start seeing ads for our company. This is a really great, inexpensive automated marketing strategy, and we have seen very good conversions from it. I think this can be improved by Google in the future by gathering more data about the visitors.
Marketing automation handles all of my online postings. Plus, it tells me when my brand is being discussed. I can essentially share and track more information than ever before in an organized, targeted way while always knowing what's being said about my brand. I think these tools will become even more refined and useful in the near future.
Lead scoring is a useful tool for focusing our marketing and sales efforts. Lead scoring takes a lot of work -- both upfront and ongoing -- to figure out what makes a good lead. But once we refined our criteria, it helped increase the conversion rates of our sales team, allowing them to focus on high-quality leads over people who interact with our site without intent to buy.