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Marketing automation adoption takes off: 2016 technology trends

As we look ahead to the 2016 IT trends to watch, one key CRM theme is marketing automation adoption, which is poised to grow, says an expert.

As we survey the landscape for 2016 technology trends, there are several CRM-related themes that stand out.

In part one of our podcast discussion with Brent Leary of CRM Essentials, we outlined some of the CRM trends for 2016 we expect to gather steam, including marketing automation (MA) adoption, the need for better customer data integration, and mapping customer experiences to a company's vision of omnichannel customer service.

Marketing automation. While marketing automation software is widely acknowledged as critical to communicating with customers and prospects in a scalable, automated and personalized way, the reality is that many companies have yet to implement it. As Leary noted in the podcast, MA software is still in the single digits as far as adoption for many companies and, according to a recent survey, is at only 3% adoption for nontechnology companies.

According to Leary, there are certain views of marketing automation that may be hindering adoption. "There are still some perceptions around marketing automation being too complicated, too expensive and companies not really knowing what it's really good for," Leary said. But he added that companies are recognizing it's critical to communication with customers, and email communication isn't going away anytime soon.

Data integration. Companies have massive volumes of data to integrate from various applications and departments. As a result, data integration has been a thorny issue for many, where they have only pieces of a customer's profile residing in various applications. As a result, company departments often have access to only portions of customers' data, which could be more informative if they had a complete picture -- often referred to as the 360-degree view of the customer.

"If you have a structured way of sharing data insights," Leary said, "you see productivity go up, you see better results in terms of customer service, you can quickly respond to customer requests, you can do so many things more efficiently. It's hard to get to, but it shows the benefits if you are able to get to that level of integration."

For more on 2016 technology trends, check out the podcast above. And for part two, click here.

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