Commentary

Eliminate Tedious Tasks With Marketing Automation

According to a new study by Ascend2 and Research Partners, titled Marketing Automation Strategy Survey Summary, with response from marketing, sales and business professionals from around the world, 59% of companies surveyed currently use marketing automation to some extent. 45% of all companies surveyed, say the most challenging obstacle to marketing automation success is the lack of an effective strategy.

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Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing, especially inbound marketing (promotions to attract customers.) The use of a marketing automation platform is to streamline sales and marketing organizations by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions.

34% are not currently using automation now, but plan to in the foreseeable future. Only 7% of companies that started the survey have no plans to use marketing automation now or in the future, and are not included in the Marketing Automation Survey.

Extent To Which Respondent Company Uses Marketing Automation

Extent of Use

% of Respondents

Extensive use of marketing automation

24%

Limited use

35

Not using now, but planning to

34

Non using now and not planning to

7

Source: Ascend2, February 2015

Expectations for marketing automation are high with 65% of companies, saying it is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing program. Another 33% consider it “somewhat important” and only 2% claim it is “not important” to marketing success.

Increasing sales revenue and lead generation are the most important objectives of a marketing automation strategy with improving lead nurturing trailing closely behind. Surprisingly, improving marketing-sales alignment is a capability, but the bottom priority for marketing automation.

Most Important Objectives Of A Marketing Automation Strategy

Objective

% of Respondents

Increase

   Revenue

47%

   Lead generation

47

   (improve) lead nurturing

44

   Customer engagement

37

   Marketing productivity

33

   Performance measurability

25

   Campaign targeting

25

   Marketing-sales alignment

20

Source: Ascend2, February 2015

86% of companies rate marketing automation as successful to some extent at achieving important objectives like increasing sales revenue and lead generation. 25% top the chart with a “very successful” rating while only 1% consider marketing automation “very unsuccessful.”

There are many barriers to marketing automation success, says the report, but the most challenging obstacle is the lack of an effective strategy. While the complexity of marketing automation is also a top hindrance, the lack of management support is not.

Most Challenging Obstacles To Automation Success

Obstacle

% of Respondents

Lack of effective strategy

45%

Complexity of automation

41

Budget constraints

37

Lack of quality content

36

Lack of employee skills

33

Insufficient contact data quality

30

Lack of marketing-sales alignment

20

Lack of management support

9

Source: Ascend2, February 2015

Overcoming the lack of an effective strategy to achieve success, the most challenging obstacle, requires a level of expertise not often found in-house, says the report. 76% of companies supplement their capabilities by outsourcing all or part of their marketing automation strategy planning.

  • Combination of outsourced and in house resources   (67%)
  • Outsource planning to a specialist   (9%)
  • In house planning resources only   (24%)

The ability to provide Lead Nurturing campaigns and Comprehensive Analytics and Reporting are the most valuable features of a marketing automation system for more than half of all companies responding. Close behind, at about 40%, are Analytics and Email management.

53% of all companies surveyed see their budget for marketing automation increasing in the year ahead. The costs associated with marketing automation include two primary categories: technology and professionals services.

The most useful metric for measuring the performance of marketing automation programs is conversion rate. And tracking the conversion of leads generated into revenue producing customers is much more useful than tracking tactical campaign

metrics like CTR, opens and unsubscribes.

Most Useful Metrics For Program Measurement

Useful Metric

% of Respondents

Conversion rate

68%

Revenue generated

53

Leads generated

49

Cost per lead

35

Pipeline value

29

Click-through rate

27

Open rate

12

Unsubscribe rate

4

Source: Ascend2, February 2015

To access the complete report in PDF format, please visit Ascend2 here.

 

 

2 comments about "Eliminate Tedious Tasks With Marketing Automation".
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  1. Byron Glore from TGG, March 4, 2015 at 7:03 a.m.

    informative study

  2. William Cosgrove from Devcode Services, March 4, 2015 at 7:22 a.m.

    Marketing automation technology today is evolving but still finds it difficult, especially in B2C, to be able to recognize that people are complex humans that have many different reasons for any particular action they perform online or offline.

    Every customer’s experience is different and to assume that you can assume or generalize what a customer’s intentions are can be an ill-advised and hazardous undertaking.

    Cultivating the customer experience through a Customer Relationship Management Community is a mutually beneficial way to foster communication and trust between you and your existing customers, potential customers and employees through a central hub, your website, which will emanate your customer centric culture across all your social channels and magnify your organic SEO and social reach to increase not only your inbound lead generation to gain new members but benefit all aspects of your marketing strategies.

    The benefit of having community members is that you can actually understand their wants, needs and concerns through “one on one” communication that is worth far more than assuming or guessing at their intentions and/or pursuing consumers you don’t know around the internet trying to entice them into to doing something they may not have any intention of doing at the risk of alienating them.

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