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Study: Only 27% Of Marketing Automation Users Say It Impacts Contribution To Pipeline

1autoWhen it comes to marketing automation, marketers have only scratched the surface of its potential, according to a new study from Econsultancy commissioned by Act-On Software. The research shows that only 27% firmly believe that the use of marketing automation has increased marketing’s contribution to pipeline. 

 The State of B2B Marketing Automation report reveals that just over half of B2B organizations (53%) are using marketing automation and 37% say they are planning to implement it. Additionally, only two out of five survey respondents (41%) believe their organizations are using automation to its full capacity. 

“At Act-On, we've seen customer success and the post-sale experience growing in importance during marketing automation buying cycles,” said Michelle Huff, CMO of Act-On, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “While a little more than half of the respondents are using marketing automation and say it's effective, there is a lot of untapped potential. The majority of companies only use basic functionality and a top challenge they face is due to a deficiency in skilled expertise.”

In addition, more than half of respondents said they are only using three basic functions of marketing automation:

  • Email (73%);
  • Web forms (63%); and
  • Landing pages (56%).

The goal of this inaugural study — which surveyed more than 350 B2B marketing professionals in North America and Europe — was to “better understand how companies use and value marketing automation, looking specifically at the technology’s adoption, use case sophistication and perceived effectiveness.” Respondents were categorized as “Leaders” (companies whose marketing functions met or exceeded their FY16 business goals) and “Mainstream” (companies whose marketing functions did not meet their FY16 business goals).

The study found that Leaders are 24% more likely than their peers to say they currently use marketing automation. Almost two-thirds of Leaders employ marketing automation technology, compared to 50% of the Mainstream. Other key findings include:

  • 98% of B2B marketers agree that effective marketing automation is critical to long-term business success;
  • 58% “strongly agree” that marketing automation makes marketing team more efficient; and
  • 66% of respondents rank “high quality leads” as one of the top three reasons for implementing automation, while 49% say the same for “increased revenue.”

Furthermore, the report revealed that North American B2B organizations are ahead of their European counterparts in terms of marketing automation sophistication and results. The research found that North American organization are 14% more likely to use marketing automation compared to European organizations.

“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,” said Huff. “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."