The State of Marketing Automation and How to Achieve Ultimate Success

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Marketing Automation

Any marketer who keeps up with the latest industry trends knows that marketing automation has been getting a lot of buzz these past few years — and with good reason. After all, it’s every marketer’s dream to have access to a solution that removes the manual labor required of everyday tasks and frees up time for them to think big and scale their efforts.

Despite the increased use and established advantages of marketing automation, there is little research to show why and how marketers are using this technology. This lack of data presents an obstacle for marketers and organizations alike. Marketers new to marketing automation don’t have enough data to make their case to their executive team. Similarly, organizations hesitant to make the investment in the first place might be dissuaded from doing so due to the lack of evidence to support the potential for ROI.

With these considerations (and more) in mind, we partnered with London Research to conduct a study on how organizations are leveraging their marketing automation platforms. We surveyed marketers working across various industries and organizations of different sizes to gain a better understanding of the landscape in an effort to support our audience in the decision-making process.

In addition to educating our fellow marketers, we were also on a mission to gather important insights that would inform the development of our business strategy and continuous enhancement of our own marketing automation platform. We wanted to know what challenges were preventing marketers from adopting marketing automation and/or fully leveraging their solution. Our company mission is to help marketers do the best work of their careers, and that requires an understanding of what they need from us to help them do that.

As expected, we found some insights that we know will be extremely beneficial to marketers as they navigate a complex MarTech space. To give you a sneak peek of what’s in store for you, we’ve summarized some of the highlights from this report below.

Business Growth Continues to Be a Priority Across Industries

Business growth is always a priority for any organization. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that customer acquisition and securing higher quality leads were the top goals among marketers surveyed, with 54% and 44% of respondents naming each a critical priority for their organization. At the other end of the spectrum, only 32% of marketers participating in the survey viewed lead nurturing as a top priority, despite the key role it plays in securing the conversions marketers and executives both desire.

Of the marketers who responded to the survey, 61% also said they expected their marketing spend to increase in 2019. Considering that organizations that use marketing automation software often cite saving time and resources as key benefits, it seems a wise investment for marketers looking to get the best return on investment. A portion of marketers agree, with 28% of respondents indicating that their organization plans to invest in marketing software in the next 12 months.  

Personalization Is Important for Both B2B and B2C Organizations

Thanks to social media and other predictive technology, personalization is becoming more and more important for marketers and businesses to stay ahead of the game. With websites being at the forefront of most business transactions, providing a unique and tailored experience is necessary.

However, accomplishing this task remains a challenge for most marketers. Currently, only 21% of businesses say that they are leveraging behavior-based website personalization while 45% said that they are planning to. Thankfully, machine learning is making it easier than ever for marketers to deliver individualized content recommendations to better assist and nurture customers as they navigate the buyer journey, so we hope to see this statistic drastically increase in the near future.

Customers Need Insights, Tools, and Resources to Improve Their Marketing Efforts

When participants were asked what marketing tactics they were currently using, email sends, CRM integration for passing on leads, and segmentation were at the top of the list. However, more advanced tactics such as predictive personalization at the individual level and complex lead nurturing were at the bottom –– even though they could greatly benefit marketers who choose to put them into practice.

So what’s keeping customers from advancing their digital marketing efforts and generating even greater results? More than half of survey respondents said they need to improve their approach to analytics, campaign optimization, strategy, systems integrations, and execution. Moreover, respondents also identified measuring ROI, disconnected technology platforms, and lack of internal knowledge as the greatest obstacles preventing them from enhancing their digital marketing efforts.

What this tells us is that a new platform is not all marketers need to develop and launch a more robust marketing strategy.  They need better insights, tools, and resources to improve and transform their marketing efforts.

Vendors Need to Help Marketers Implement and Optimize Their Marketing Automation Software

The fact that only 21% of marketers are exclusively using marketing automation and 34% are using it along with an ESP demonstrates that there is a long way to go toward full marketing automation adoption. However, it is up to vendors to help marketers get to where they need to be with their investment by providing support and innovating their product to match the needs of their customers.

At Act-On, we fully subscribe to this belief, which is why we’re working tirelessly to bring marketers the best marketing tools and offerings (most recently with our Adaptive Web solution). One of the goals of our State of Marketing Automation report is to help bring marketers one step closer to finding a solution that works best for them at whatever stage they’re currently at in their marketing journey. And with services such as Act-On Accelerate, our marketing as a service offering, we are helping marketers design, implement, and launch a marketing automation strategy that empowers them to achieve their goals.

With that said, we hope that you walk away from this blog post with a more thorough understanding of how your fellow marketers are leveraging marketing automation and what they expect from their platforms. If you would like access to even more findings and statistics, we invite you to download our State of Marketing Automation Report (linked below).