Marketing automation is used in a growing number of companies and many are considering it. Automation is commonly regarded as something that boosts your business and saves resources but what do the studies say? Is marketing automation worthwhile, and if it is, how?
Big ones lead, small ones follow suit
The pioneers, big companies, the valedictorians of the class and corporate marketing have already discovered marketing automation, so have North and South America. Europe is following just behind and small companies and B2C marketers have still some job to do.
- America shows the way but Europe is following just behind. North American organisations are 14 % more likely to use marketing automation than their European counterparts (Econsultancy & Act-On 2017).
- B2B leads. 53 % of B2B organisations are using marketing automation technology, and a further 37 % say they are planning to implement it. (Econsultancy & Act-On 2017).
- The small ones are just getting started. Only 10 % of small and medium-sized companies use marketing automation (Digital Capital Advisors 2015).
- Leading companies are old stagers. The leading companies of their class are 67 % more likely to use marketing automation than others (Aberdeen Group 2014) and have probably used it for a few years (Gleanster 2013). Also the most successful small companies use marketing automation 7 times more likely than others.
- The highflyers make the most of it. 63 % of the companies that are outgrowing their competition use marketing automation (The Lenskold Group 2013).
Marketing automation pays off
In the light of statistics, marketing automation is perceived as useful and produces measurable results: higher conversion, more leads and better profit.
- Value for the money. 57 % feel that marketing automation is inexpensive or worth its cost (VB Insight 2015). 98 % of marketers agree that effective marketing automation is critical to long-term business success (Econsultancy & Act-On 2017). 45 % of marketing agencies rely on marketing automation platforms to show ROI (Ascend2 & SharpSpring 2017).
- Visible benefit. 45,9 % of marketers say that marketing automation has improved customer experience (Liana Technologies 2017). 74 % of the companies that do marketing automation, state that it is very or quite useful for them (B2Bmarketing.net & Circle Reseach 2015). 78 % of marketers say that marketing automation is the main reason for making a better profit (The Lenskold Group 2013).
- More leads. Marketers name the number and quality of leads among the most beneficial aspects of marketing automation (Liana Technologies 2017, LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group 2015, Pepper Global 2013).
- 80 % of those that use marketing automation, have gotten more leads through it (VB Insight 2015). 67 % of B2B marketers say the amount of leads has increased 10 %, and 15 % of the respondents reported a growth as big as 30 % (DemandGen 2014).
- Conversion on the rise. 77 % of those using automation report a better conversion (VB Insight 2015). Those that make the best use of automation have, on average, a 60 % better conversion than the others (PR20/20 2014).
- Better messages. The biggest benefit of marketing automation is the improved targeting of messages (named by 68,5 % of marketers) (Liana Technologies 2017). 27 % of those that have recently started to use automation, feel that the messages respond to the recipient's needs better. You also learn by doing: for those that have used automation for two years, the number is 74% (B2Bmarketing.net & Circle Research 2015).
- Measurable goals. 63 % of the respondents felt that one of the best features of marketing automation is that it enables setting measurable goals (Gleanster 2015).
- Other benefits are the shortening of the sales cycle (23,9 % of respondents) and increased web traffic (21,1 % of respondents) (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group 2015).
Marketing automation suits many needs
Marketing automation is used diversely in both B2C and B2B marketing. Companies mostly use tactics that are measurable, sales-oriented, targeted and multi-channel.
The most essential features of marketing automation are:
- Making the routine tasks in marketing automatic (Redeye & TFM&A Insights 2014), as well as making marketing more efficient (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group 2015).
- Improving the customer experience (Liana Technologies 2017, Redeye and TFM&A Insights 2014).
- Developing email marketing (Redeye and TFM&A Insights 2014, Regalix 2014).
- Lead management (Redeye and TFM&A Insights 2014) and nurturing (Regalix 2014).
- Multi-channel marketing (Redeye & TFM&A Insights 2014), as well as combining the data from different sources (Regalix 2014).
- Birthday messages, abandoned shopping cart reminders and other similar consumer communication (eMarketer 2013).
- Customer aqcuisition and managing the customership (ACT-ON & Gleanster Research 2015).
What goes wrong with automation?
Marketing automation has been proven to be efficient and useful. Then why don't everybody take advantage of it in their marketing?
- Lack of know-how: The lack of expertise and know-how is the biggest challenge (40,3 % of marketers) in marketing automation (Liana Technologies 2017).
- Lack of appropriate content: One of the hardest parts are said to be producing content (Liana Technologies 2017, Gleanster 2015).
- Lack of human resources: 38,2 % of marketers think that the lack of human resources is one of the main challenges in marketing automation (Liana Technologies 2017.)
- Lack of resources: Small companies see the price of marketing automation as an obstacle (Gleanser 2015, Marketo & Ascend2 2015) and the assumption of how much resources it requires (82 %) (Gleanster 2015). Among all companies the lack of financial resources was not that big of an issue - only 14,5 % regarded it as a main challenge (Liana Technologies 2017).
- Processes and strategies don't bend: The most important reasons for avoiding marketing automation, according to a study by Aberdeen Group (2014), are immature practices and processes in the company. The lack of marketing automation strategy is also essential (Liana Technologies 2017, Marketo & Ascend2 2015). 57 % of the respondents feel that the company's marketing infrastructure is divided into channels, badly integrated or there is none (Forrester Research and Oracle 2014).
- Other mentioned reasons in the order of importance were in the order of importance 1) difficulties to use the systems or other technical difficulties 2) company’s poor commitment 3) insufficient customer data 4) falling behind schedules 5) lack of financial resources 6) introduction of system takes too much time and 7) lack of suitable partners. (Liana Technologies 2017.) Studies have also referred to the minimal amount of feedback from sales concerning the quality of leads, as well as combining the goals of sales and marketing poorly (Pepper Global 2014).
Also the service providers are to blame at times:
- 61 % feel the introduction process to marketing automation was hard (B2Bmarketing.net & Circle Research 2015).
- 44 % of marketers state that they were partly unsatisfied with their marketing automation system (Autopilot 2015) and 85 % of marketers feel that they can't take full advantage of the system (SiriusDecisions 2014).
- The main reasons for not feeling satisfied are that the introduction of the system takes too much time and is hard to learn (Autopilot 2015).
How to succeed in marketing automation?
Gleanster Reseach (2015) listed a bunch of prerequisites for succeeding. Here are our picks of them:
- Simplicity is key. Those who succeed trust in ready-made content templates, ranking the leads, integration with existing systems, slowly molding these previously mentioned over time to fit their own purposes.
- Transferring the leads to the sales team automatically is worthwhile – 95 % of those that successfully use marketing automation do this.
- Sales and marketing have to work together. Before the introduction of automation common goals and concepts must be defined to avoid misunderstandings.
- Don't try to make sense of all the data in the beginning. Decide which are the 2-3 most important segments/types of customers and start from them – expand with time.
- You need content to get started – but not in abundance at first. Create some high-quality pieces of content that truly bring additional value to the customer (don't sell), like a guide or whitepaper. Expand from there.
- Transfer the essential customer data from existing systems and make use of it.
Towards agile marketing automation
Marketing automation doesn't have to be a heavy IT project. We gathered the best practices on how to start an agile automation project into one whitepaper:
If you want to see how automation works in practice, contact us to get a demo of LianaCEM tool.
Aberdeen Group (2014): State of Marketing Automation 2014: Processes that Produce
Ascend2 & SharpSpring (2017): State of Marketing Automation.
B2Bmarketing.net and Circle Research (2014): Benchmarking Report Marketing automation.
Circle Research (2015): Benchmarking Report Marketing
DemandGen (2014): 2014 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Study
Digital Capital Advisors (2015): Marketing Technology Sector Update: Marketing Automation. Q1 2015.
Econsultancy & Act-On (2017): The State of B2B Marketing Automation.
eMarketer (2013): Email Marketing Benchmarks
Gleanster (2013): Q3 2013 Marketing Automation Benchmark
Gleanster (2015): 10 Research Stats to Support a Case for Marketing Automation in Small and Midsize Companies
Gleanster Research (2015): Rethinking the Role of Marketing
Forrester Research & Oracle (2014): Why You Need To Be A Modern Marketer.
Liana Technologies (2017): International Survey Results. The Benefits and Challenges of Marketing Automation.
LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group (2014)
Marketo & Ascend2 (2015): Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success
Pepper Global (2014): B2B Marketing Automation Report 2014
PR20/20 (2014): Marketingscore report
Regalix (2014): The State of Marketing Automation
Redeye and TFM&A Insights (2014): The Marketing Automation Report 2014.
Sirius Decisions (2014): Increasing Adoption of Marketing Automation Platforms.
The Lenskold Group (2013): 2013 Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study
VB Insight (2015): Marketing Automation, how to make the right buying decisions.