Investment in Marketing Automation Drives B2B Marketing Performance, Study Shows


Marketers Just Scratch The Surface With Marketing Automation Potential; Broader Business Strategies Emerge

North American Respondents 14% More Likely than European Counterparts To Use Marketing Automation


PORTLAND, OR & READING, UK – August 15, 2017 – Act-On Software, the leading provider of adaptive marketing automation for fast-growing businesses, today shared findings from the State of B2B Marketing Automation study it commissioned Econsultancy to do that surveyed more than 350 B2B marketing professionals in North America and Europe; study reveals a correlation between marketing automation investment and business performance. Leaders [1] are 24 percent more likely than their peers to say they are currently using marketing automation, and almost two-thirds of these companies employ marketing automation technology, compared to 50 percent for the Mainstream [2].

This is the first-year Act-On commissioned the study, which set out to investigate how marketing automation helps companies operationalize and grow. The goal of the research was simple: to better understand how companies use and value marketing automation, looking specifically at the technology’s adoption, use case sophistication, and perceived effectiveness. While marketing automation is a prevalent technology in North America, the research wanted to find out if this was true in Europe, and what differences, if any, existed in how marketing automation is used and valued across countries.

While just over half of B2B organizations surveyed are using marketing automation, only 27 percent firmly believe that it has increased marketing’s contribution to pipeline. This could be because marketers are just only scratching the surface when it comes to using marketing automation. The research shows that there are only three areas where more than half of those surveyed are using marketing automation: email, web forms, and landing pages. These are the more basic functions within marketing automation, which can point to a potential misalignment between system, strategy, and skill-set.

“Despite the important role marketing automation plays in helping marketers to deliver against commercial objectives, the research found that 47 percent of companies are not yet using the technology,” said Andrew Warren-Payne, Partner Content – Marketer and Industry Analyst at Econsultancy. “Companies need to ensure that they have as much clarity as possible around their sales and marketing goals, and have the processes in place – along with the technology – to help them achieve their revenue targets. Marketing Automaton appears to be a competitive advantage for most businesses, so it is important for those companies who have not yet invested to rethink their current growth strategy.”

Lead nurturing, a standard practice facilitated by marketing automation, is an area showing a noticeable gap in sophistication between Leaders and their peers. There is a 23-percentage-point divide in the level of usage of marketing automation for lead nurturing. Similarly, significantly fewer non-Leaders are using their systems’ lead scoring capabilities (37 percent, versus 48 percent for Leaders). It was seen that both these areas are very much on the radar, with 50 percent and 47 percent of companies, respectively, planning to use these tactics.

Across all areas, North American organizations are 14 percent more likely to use marketing automation than their European counterparts. In some categories, such as CRM integration, social, web forms and account-based marketing, this is by a significant margin. As elsewhere in the survey, the responses suggest that North America remains ahead of Europe when it comes to marketing automation sophistication, and results. A significantly higher proportion of respondents based in North America indicate that marketing automation has delivered their organizations with return on investment than those in Europe (91 percent versus 72 percent).

Concludes Michelle Huff, CMO of Act-On Software, “Marketers today face a changing, daunting world: a crowded vendor landscape, online channels that are fast-multiplying, a digitally disrupted customer journey, but more importantly, the customer they serve is more empowered and more in control than ever before. As marketers, we must navigate through this change to succeed. Increasingly, we are seeing companies embrace modern marketing technologies like marketing automation to help them better compete and achieve their business goals.”

For more findings and to download the full report, please visit our here.

[1] Defined as companies whose marketing functions met or exceeded their FY16 business goals.

[2] Defined as companies whose marketing functions did not meet their FY16 business goals.

Survey Methodology

The survey included responses from 355 B2B in-house marketing professionals predominantly located in United Kingdom (39 percent), North America (34 percent), and Europe non-UK (18 percent). It was conducted by Econsultancy and was sponsored by Act-On Software. Forty-seven percent of respondents hold a marketing manager title and 18 percent hold a director or senior director title. More than 55 percent of survey respondents come from companies with US$13m in revenue or more. The top 3 industry sectors representing the respondents include Technology (20 percent), Professional Services (16 percent), and Manufacturing (11 percent).