Changes in technology and business culture have changed the way that consumers interact with brand messages. This is where marketing automation platforms (MAPs) comes in a big way. Today’s consumers are savvy and do their own product research. Pushy sales tactics don’t work anymore. Instead, marketing has shifted its emphasis to lead nurturing — steadily moving targeted prospects into the sales pipeline with custom content and integrated brand messaging.

In fact, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase on average in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads (DemandGen Report). With stacks such as automated responses, scheduled email drip campaigns, user analytics, and data visualization a MAP can be a powerful tool for nurturing leads.

In 2017 and 2018, the name of the game is about “pre-thinking” consumer behavior and leveraging MAPs and predictive analytics and advanced targeting to take marketing action in real-time as consumer trends emerge.

In the realm of “thought-based” marketing, here are some ideas and projects that my team at SAM.AI is excited about:

Predictive Analytics: Big Data is definitely here, but the question is what do we do with it? We’re working on systems that not only tell you missed opportunities, but use contextual user data to generate push alerts that help you market smarter.

Data Visualization 2.0: Visualizing larger trends is key to marketing. Instead of static graphs, imagine interactive visual data sets that make projections and change based on custom inputs.

Embedded Marketing: We want to bring marketing and sales out of the dark ages and into the real world. From watches and smartphones, to glasses, and other embedded systems, we’re working to optimize data to fit marketer’s on-the-go needs.