Marketing automation: the technology that finally lets you ascend to the pinnacle of marketing. Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. But it’s still a new concept to plenty of marketers. So if you’re one of the newbies, here’s some marketing automation statistics we hope you’ll find useful.
First, let’s define what marketing automation is and does. Marketing automation refers to software platforms that help marketers automate repetitive tasks. It also lets people market on multiple online channels more effectively. It’s designed to take the guesswork out of online marketing. It identifies what kind of content website visitors want to see based on behavior and other content consumed.
Once regarded as something only for large corporations with big budgets, marketing automation has become widespread enough that there are now options for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses can find a version of marketing automation that works for their budgets. Now companies of any size can reap the benefits of marketing automation.
The Benefits and Goals of Marketing Automation
And those benefits – and goals – are tantalizing indeed:
- Lead generation (and lead nurturing) has been named as the most important benefit of adopting marketing automation. (Pepper Global “B2B Marketing Automation Report 2014”)
- Automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity, and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. (Nucleus Research)
- 80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in the number of leads, and 77% had an increase of conversions. (VentureBeat)
- Nurtured leads spend approximately 47% more in their purchases when compared to non-nurtured leads. (Kapost)
- Better targeting of leads and customers (Pepper Global)
The majority (59%) of companies that use marketing automation are able to target their prospects with triggered content. (Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups 2013 Lead-Generation Marketing Effectivness Study). In an eBook produced for GetResponse, publishing in July 2016, Jeff Bullas says, “Discover what content resonates and what doesn’t with your possible target audience. The result is better content, focused targeting and more engaged prospects.”
- Saving time/increased marketing productivity/efficiency.
73% of marketers believe that a key benefit of marketing automation is becoming more efficient and saving time. (Statista) Bullas states, “The computer age is providing the software to scale your marketing. The marketing funnels can be loaded once and used multiple times. The mundane tasks of publishing and measuring are taken care of. Also, things like multiple approvals by the management team for the marketing process can also be managed by software in the cloud. These are all time savers.”
- Better engagement with customers. (Pepper Global)
36% of marketers said that improving customer engagement was an important goal for marketing automation. (Ascend2)
- More upsell and conversion opportunities (Pepper Global)
Companies using marketing automation have a 53% higher conversion rate to marketing qualified leads than those that don’t. (Aberdeen) Marketing automation, by delivering content the prospect wants to read, can build trust. They often start with purchasing something small. Bullas says, “Small commitments starting with a low-value sale can lead to higher-value upsells as the technology moves the customer through the automated marketing funnel.”
Marketing Automation System Features
In order to realize these benefits and goals, marketers need the right system for their needs. The Ascend2 Marketing Automation Trends (2016) study found that marketers find different features useful.
- 51% view analytics and reporting a useful feature for marketing automation systems
- 46% see campaign management a useful feature
- 46% think lead nurturing is a useful feature
- 42% view integration capabilities as important to have in marketing automation systems
- 32% think lead scoring is important to have
- 26% see list segmentation as important to have
The Timeline to Realizing Benefits
Even with the right software for an organization, it takes time to ramp up, learn your platform, and start hitting goals. That clock starts when you have the system up and running. (Getting the system up and running is the topic of another post). Marketers have differing opinions about how long it can reasonably take to realize the benefits mentioned above. The Ascend2 Marketing Automation Trends study found that companies who have implemented marketing automation:
- 23% expect results in 3 months or less
- 34% expect to see results in 4-6 months
- 20% expect results in 6-9 months
- 14% expect results in 10 months to a year
- 3% expect results in more than a year
Marketing Automation Metrics
To understand if your company has seen any results or benefits from marketing automation, you have to measure your efforts. That means you need to be tracking metrics. According to Ascend2, marketers found the following metrics useful in determining their success:
- conversion rate: 62%
- revenue generated: 48%
- leads generated: 43%
- engagement: 42%
- pipeline value: 31%
- cost per lead: 29%
The Barriers to Marketing Automation Success
Even when you take all the right steps to get set up, marketing automation still has barriers to success. The Pepper Global survey found several obstacles, as did the Ascend2 survey. (Ascend2 survey results listed in parenthesis.)
- Budget constraints. (27%)
- Lack of skilled employees who can manage marketing automation. (32%)
Award-winning author Erik Qualman suggests a way around this barrier in an eBook written for GetResponse, publishing in July 2016. “Ask your marketing automation vendor to help you craft training language specific to the language your company and employees are familiar with. Make ‘being a pro’ easy. Knowing the in’s and out’s of the marketing automation system will make your marketing easier. Marketing automation that is simple and easy to use will allow you or your employees to become proficient and save time.”
- A poor quality contact database. (38%)
- Lack of content for marketing automation activities. (31%)
This is something a marketing team can control and fix. If you understand who your customers are, what your customers want to read or view, and how they consume content, it’s just a matter of creating that kind of content. Don’t forget to include time to review this content! Qualman says, “Some savvy companies are scheduling formal weekly content review meetings with important stakeholders. Other organizations function more like a high-energy media organization having daily morning briefings to bounce around content ideas and determine cover stories, lead, and supporting stories.” Remember, that launching content is only the beginning. You’ll need to analyze, change, and optimize content that both benefits your audience and produces the results you want.
- Complexity of the marketing automation platform. (42%)
Qualman says, “if the marketing automation is complex, marketers will be spending more time and energy on determining how to use the marketing automation system rather than actually marketing. It’s important to select the right system and deploy it properly to ensure you are spending time with your prospects and customers, rather than taking time to figure out the system.”
- lack of feedback from sales on lead evaluation
- poor integration with sales & marketing activities (30%)
- lack of adequate infrastructure to collect & analyze data
- issues with compatibility and interoperability issues
- lack of performance standards – KPIs – for marketing automation
Interestingly, the Ascend2 study found that more than half (52%) of marketers cited the lack of a strategy for marketing automation as the biggest barrier to success. The Pepper Global survey did not cite that problem at all. But, you can avoid most (if not all) of these with careful planning.
Penny for your thoughts?
Marketing automation, being a relatively new technology, can seem overwhelming to new adopters. There is a lot to learn from those who have already taken action to use marketing automation – where these statistics originated. What do these statistics tell you about marketing automation? Tell us about your thoughts in the comments! We want to know what you think.