Ascend2 just published its survey report “State of Marketing Automation”, which the company conducted in partnership with leading marketing solution providers. The research-based marketing expert defines marketing automation as “software applications designed to streamline repetitive marketing tasks” and highlights in its report that the technology has become ubiquitous across all industries.
Most important for Ascend2 was to find out what strategies are having the most impact on the state of marketing automation this year and here are their findings:
- Strategic objectives: While increasing marketing ROI is an important objective for the largest share of marketing influencers (46%), optimizing productivity and acquiring more customers are a close second with 45%.
- Success of strategy: One third (33%) of marketing influencers consider their marketing automation strategy very successful at achieving important objectives, describing it as best-in-class. 51% consider their strategy somewhat successful while the other 16% are still struggling to achieve success
- Critical challenges: There are many challenges competing for the top spot, however, measuring performance is a most critical challenge for 41% of marketing influencers
- Sales cycle encounter: A total of two-thirds (67%) of the respondents encounter a complex sale with a long cycle and many influencers during their marketing. The complex sale is the sweet spot for marketing automation. However, one- third (33%) of influencers automate marketing processes for direct sales.
- Objective vs. challenges: The greater the gap between the importance and the challenge of achieving an objective (optimizing productivity, for example), the higher the priority it should have in the development of a successful marketing automation strategy.
- Evaluation criteria: A majority (54%) of marketing influencers point to ease of implementation as an important evaluation criteria for selecting a marketing automation system. Ease of implementation is more important than even the cost of ownership, making it the subject of the following survey questions.
- Implementation complexity: A total of 84% of marketing influencers perceive the implementation of a marketing automation system to be a complicated task, with more than a quarter (26%) describing it as extremely complicated. Only 15% consider implementing a marketing automation system uncomplicated.
- Implementation resources used: Whether complexity is a perception or reality, it is the primary reason that a total of 88% of marketing influencers outsource the implementation of marketing automation to some extent. Outsourcing also provides skills and capabilities not always available in-house.
- Implementation time-frame: 46% of marketing influencers consider 4 to 6 months to be a reasonable time-frame for completing the implementation of a marketing automation system, while 31% think it should be done in 3 months or less. Nearly one- quarter (23%) believe implementation requires more than 6 months.
You might be interested in Ascend2 process - called ‘research-based demand generation’ – developed to generate leads using factual content of interest to your target customers and nurture those leads to marketing-qualified status.