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Automation, Integration of Inbound Marketing Still Limited

Inbound marketing primarily used to drive leads

Inbound marketing tactics, including content marketing, search engine optimization and use of social media marketing, are all critical for businesses looking to generate leads. But these tasks are also difficult to pull off, particularly the creation and marketing of content.

That was seen as both the most effective and most difficult inbound marketing tactic in a survey of B2B and B2C marketing professionals worldwide, conducted in September 2013 by Ascend2 and Research Underwriters.

Marketing automation is one technique to make inbound marketing tactics more strategic and complementary, as well as reduce much of the guesswork of inbound marketing, but the survey found that at this point, few were actually employing marketing automation. Just 16% of B2Cs and 14% of B2Bs reported using marketing automation extensively to manage their inbound marketing. That said, over 40% from both types of companies were employing marketing automation to a limited extent, indicating that use could grow in the near future.

Taking a look at those who ranked their inbound marketing tactics as very successful vs. those who saw them as unsuccessful, 45% of successful inbound marketers used marketing automation, vs. only 9% of unsuccessful inbound marketers.

The study found that integration was a key factor distinguishing the successful from the unsuccessful as well. Sixty-seven percent of the companies that saw themselves achieving strong inbound marketing results had integrated the inbound marketing program, whereas only 9% of the least successful inbound marketers did so. Only a slim 9% of successful inbound marketers didn’t bother integrating.

Measuring performance was additionally a key factor separating the good inbound marketers from the bad, and giving further fuel to the idea that putting the different tactics under one umbrella, which can manage and assess their impact, may be worthwhile. In this case, nearly half of successful inbound marketers measured performance, vs. 9% of unsuccessful inbound marketers.

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