Companies pour a good part of their budgets into marketing technology. And it’s money well spent, judging by a new study from Ascend2 and its Research Partners.
For one thing, 97% say technology is increasing their ROI, and 52% significantly so. A mere 3% say their return is decreasing marginally.
And they’re getting better at it. Of the 232 influencers surveyed, 92% feel they’re successfully using technology to generate ROI, with 52% rating themselves as best in class. Again, only 8% feel they’re somewhat unsuccessful.
In addition, budgets are going up, although not as dramatically as the other findings suggest. Of the executives polled, 43% expect their budgets to significantly increase, and 51% foresee marginal hikes.
But 5% say their investments will decrease marginally, and 1% that they will significantly decrease.
Overall, the report “takes a deeper dive to discover what marketing technology strategies and tactics are producing the most significant ROI,” says Todd W. Lebo, partner/chief marketing officer at Ascend2.
While the study does not address email per se, Lebo notes that “email marketing benefits and drives the top functions most likely to increase ROI: predictive modeling, data management, and content/user experience.”
That said, marketers rate analytics or predictive modeling as the most likely tech-driven function to increase ROI. Next is data management, specified by 45%.
Marketing management was hailed by 38%, and content or user experience by 37%.
What’s holding companies back? For 59%, it’s budget availability. And for 44%, it’s forecasting ROI.
Then there is technology -- 43% are hampered by integration requirements, and 36% by the challenge of prioritizing needs. In addition, 29% are flummoxed by the lack of an all-in-one solution, 26% by the vendor selection process and 22% by lack of executive support.
What do they expect to get out of their high-tech spends?
Better ROI -- that’s the selection of 69%. The distant second, chosen by 48%, is improving marketing efficiency
Another 40% believe technology will help them improve their decision making, 36% believe that it will give them a competitive advantage and 30% think it can help them quantify their marketing contribution.
However, only 22% say it will help them improve security — not a positive finding, given the rash of malware attacks.
How long does it take for technology to produce ROI?
The answer is three months or less for 25%, four to six months for 39%, and six months to a year for 29%. Then there’s the unfortunate 7% who reply that it takes over a year.
There’s good news for vendors — 31% outsource their implementation to specialists, and 60% use a combination of in-house and outsourced resources. Only 9% try to do everything in-house.
Email remains an imperative. In a prior survey by Ascend2, 90% said email helped them achieve key marketing objectives, and 40% very much so.
Lebo concludes that “we know that email marketing has dominated performance in the digital marketing space for some time and that email marketing is successful at achieving important objectives.”
He adds that "this is an exciting time for email marketing, as the technology allows marketers to optimize the performance of campaigns.”
The survey, featuring a three-minute online format, was fielded to influencers and research subscribers earlier this month. Ascend2 and Research Partners offer a survey service to generate leads with research-based content.