We are very happy to hear that nearly three quarters of marketers have embraced marketing automation tools and a further 15% of them are considering implementing them later in 2014, a recent survey by Regalix has revealed.
Titled “The State of Marketing Automation 2014,” the Regalix report shows that for companies marketing automation is now more than just a tool to automate e-mails.
Marketing automation is now a complex system for “attracting, nurturing, engaging and retaining customers” – a sentiment we at Catalyst have long shared.
Marketing automation was also viewed as an excellent tool for seamless campaign execution and tracking by the majority of respondents. A further break-down of the results shows that most marketers (82%) who use marketing automation prefer a software as a service (SaaS) platform, while 18% prefer a hosted one. When it comes to what features users find most important in marketing automation, e-mail marketing still tops the list with 89% of respondents pointing it out, followed by lead nurturing (84%), campaign management (82%) and integration with CRM, social and mobile (80%).
Looking after those important leads
According to 89% of participants, improved lead management and nurturing is the biggest benefit gained from implementing marketing automation, as it provides them with qualified leads and increases the close rate of sales deals. Two thirds (66%) also view the ability for enhanced targeting and personalisation as the top benefit of marketing automation. Regalix also utilised recent data from Aberdeen Group which reveals that personalised e-mails are much more effective – they reportedly have 14% higher click-through rates and 10% higher conversion rates.It seems that companies prefer to manage marketing automation tasks by themselves, with 84% of businesses managing such tasks in-house, while 6% outsource such activities to agencies and 10% use a combination of both approaches. Technical implementation is the activity most frequently left to third parties, with 100% of companies doing so. Reporting and creating e-mail and HTML design are also popular outsourcing options, each with 50%.
Marketing majority on automation
When it comes to return on investment (ROI), marketers don’t seem in a big hurry – 32% expect to see the benefits of using marketing automation within six months to a year, and another 32% expect to wait over a year. Only 20% expect results within three months. Most marketers (87%) rely on response metrics like open rates, click through rates, subscription rates and so on to measure ROI, while 61% look to value metrics such as revenue. Efficiency metrics like cost per lead are used by 58% of marketers and 34% rely on activity metrics like the number of e-mails sent. With 88% of marketers having already embraced (or planning to embrace) marketing automation, this leaves only 12% of businesses not using it in 2014.
The main obstacle standing in the way of wider implementation is money – marketers report that with tightening budgets, it is harder for them to justify such investments. Most marketers (66%) have allocated less than 10% of their budget to marketing automation, and another 55% cite the lack of resources as the reason not to utilise such a system.Join the growing trend and don’t let marketing automation get the better of you.