Marketing automation gains ground, but obstacles remain

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New York—Marketing automation is making deep inroads at many b-to-b companies, with 46% of marketers currently using marketing technologies in some form, according to a new report from BtoB. According to BtoB's “Marketing Automation: Best Practices for the Management of B2B Digital Marketing Campaigns,” commitment to the technology is increasing: Among those respondents currently using marketing automation technology, 62% said they are “strong” or “full” adopters, compared with 40% in 2012. For 2014, the study found this figure will jump to 81%. “We are seeing the marketing equivalent of the transition from horseless carriage to modern automobile, and the ramifications are equally profound in the marketing space,” said John DiStefano, BtoB research director. “Marketing automation is on the threshold of a quantum leap, moving from merely a marketing productivity tool to a means of real marketing innovation.” However, 32% of marketers said they remain constrained in adopting marketing automation by budget limitations and poor integration with sales. Almost as many cited an inadequate data collection infrastructure (30%) and the complexity of marketing automation software itself (23%) as presenting challenges to adoption. Almost 80% of respondents cited lead generation as their No. 1 goal when implementing a marketing automation solution, followed by tracking website visitors (77%); managing marketing campaign and tracking lead activity (70% each); lead scoring and qualification (69%); and automated-lead nurturing (62%). These should pay off in campaign assessment results, respondents said. The top benefit will be improved conversion rates, followed by increased email click-throughs and Web traffic; better email opens; and reductions in email and website bounces, respondents said. BtoB's study was based on an online survey conducted in April, that drew 204 marketer respondents. The full report can be downloaded at BtoB's Intelligence Center. The price is $99.
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