Earlier this year, we set off on a joint venture with our friends at London Research to conduct a major marketing survey. Our goal was to gain a better understanding of how marketers are using digital marketing software (marketing automation, email service providers, customer relationship management systems, etc.) and to learn about their existing pain points. Specifically, we were curious how marketers in certain verticals were (or weren’t, as it were) using marketing automation software, which is why we focused heavily on marketers in the financial services, tech, and manufacturing industries.
As it turns out, manufacturing marketers are still taking their first steps toward digital marketing maturity, as the overwhelming majority of marketing professionals in that sphere are not currently using marketing automation software — or even an email service provider (ESP). Subsequently, there’s a major opportunity for manufacturing and distribution companies to gain a significant advantage over their competition by adopting marketing automation platforms and working with their vendor to get the most out of this powerful and dynamic software.
Keep reading to learn more about how manufacturing marketers are using marketing automation, as well as the largest challenge they’re facing in regards to their software. And, of course, be sure to download the full State of Marketing Automation report for even more useful insights.
How Is the Manufacturing Industry Utilizing Marketing Automation Software?
According to our research, the manufacturing industry appears to be far behind the technology industry vertical and on par with their counterparts in financial services as far as digital marketing software adoption. For instance, manufacturing companies are slightly more likely to use marketing automation software than financial services companies but far less likely than the tech industry to do so. The survey results also suggest that this reluctance among manufacturers to adopt marketing automation is likely to continue — with only 19% of manufacturers saying they plan to invest in marketing software this year (compared to 48% of financial services businesses).
Further, while many marketers in the tech industry are using marketing automation software exclusively (that is, without supplementing their platforms with an ESP), only 21% of manufacturing marketers can say the same. In fact, 26% of manufacturing companies continue to use both marketing automation and an ESP, which, while that figure is less than those in other industries surveyed, still speaks to the fact that many marketers continue to invest in redundant technologies or are simply not getting everything they need from their current systems. It also implies a fundamental misunderstanding of the power and capabilities of marketing automation, despite their significant investment in the software.
Why Manufacturers Need Marketing Automation Software to Improve Their Marketing Efforts
So, while the numbers for marketers in the manufacturing sector aren’t quite where we would expect them to be at this point, the immensely bright silver lining is that now is the perfect time to capitalize on a rare opportunity to differentiate your company from your competitors. Implementing marketing automation software and learning how to use it to its full potential can make your marketing and sales just as streamlined as your production processes
There are a variety of factors leading to the inevitable evolution beyond the traditional batch-and-blast email approach offered by ESPs — including GDPR and other compliance regulations, the need to scale marketing efforts more purposefully, and meeting consumer expectations for more personalized content. Further, marketers are now expected to hand sales-ready leads to their sales teams, which means an increased focus on aligning marketing software with marketing strategy, especially as it pertains to segmentation, lead scoring and nurturing, and website personalization.
Thankfully, now is the time to strike, as many manufacturing and distribution companies have seen amazing success since implementing the Act-On platform for their business. For instance, Allegis — a leading international supplier of latches, handles, hinges, and related products — credits Act-On with helping them conserve resources, eliminate spam complaints, and increase their email open rate by 15-20%. Additionally, Absolute Exhibits — a full-service, turnkey exhibit house that designs and creates custom tradeshow exhibits — has experienced an 85% increase in revenue since utilizing the Act-On platform. In fact, they’ve been so successful, they’re actually hiring more personnel to keep up with demand.
The Major Marketing Challenge Facing Manufacturing Marketers
Although not many manufacturing and distribution marketers are using marketing automation software as of yet, those who do find themselves in the unenviable position of not being able to measure their return on investment, which is one of the great unrealized promises of these platforms for this vertical. Marketers who can’t quantify their success are unable to optimize successful campaigns, pause poor-performing efforts, or justify the investment to their key stakeholders.
This might be due to the fact that many departments using marketing automation have been unsuccessful at integrating their new software with their existing CRM — or haven’t even tried to connect the two. When this happens, accurately tracking performance and ROI becomes extremely difficult at best, not to mention extremely labor-intensive. Further, siloing these two powerful pieces of software deepens the wedge between marketing and sales, eliminating efficiencies and causing further division between these historically-opposed departments.
Act-On seamlessly integrates with several of the most popular CRMs — such as Salesforce, SugarCRM, NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics, among several others. Without ever having to leave their CRM, manufacturing marketers can now view each aspect of a prospect’s engagement history. This helps manufacturing marketers and sales professionals better track their website visitors, engage those visitors with more targeted, segmented content, prioritize hot leads, and identify and pursue real opportunities.
Download the Full State of Marketing Automation Report to See How You Stack Up!
The infographic above is awesome, but it only tells a fraction of the story. If you’re interested in learning more about how, why, and to what ends marketers across oceans and industries are using digital marketing software, please download the State of Marketing Automation report in its entirety. And if you’d like to learn more about Act-On’s commitment to marketing made personal, you can take a virtual tour by clicking here.
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