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Marketing automation will only get bigger in the coming years as marketers grow more comfortable with the technology. Currently, though, usage has a decent way to go. In a December 2014 study by Ascend2, just 24% of marketing professionals worldwide reported using marketing automation extensively. Other responses did indicate a more advanced future though, as 35% had a limited use of marketing automation and 34% who weren’t using it said they planned to in the future.
December 2014 polling by CallidusCloud also found bleak results, this time among sales and marketing professionals worldwide from business-to-business (B2B) firms—often considered more advanced at marketing automation than their business-to-consumer counterparts. Just under 13% of respondents said they had successfully automated 75% or more of their sales and marketing processes. Meanwhile, more than half said fewer than 50% of their processes had been automated, with the majority of that group automating less than 25%.
Marketers looking to accomplish a list of goals would be wise to jump on the automation train quickly. Among Ascend2 respondents, 86% said marketing automation was successful to some level at achieving important objectives. However, just 25% ranked this as “very” successful, suggesting room for improvement among users.
Increasing sales revenues and lead generation were the most important objectives of a marketing automation strategy, each cited by 47%, followed by improving lead nurturing (44%), customer engagement (37%) and marketing productivity (33%). Though personalization is hot, just 25% ranked improving campaign targeting as an important objective.
Despite the powerful effect of sharing data companywide and the ability for marketing automation technology to help with that, only one-fifth of respondents said improving marketing-sales alignment was a top priority for marketing automation. This is in line with CallidusCloud’s finding that technology solutions were fragmented across B2B sales and marketing departments. About three in 10 (31.4%) respondents said both departments had automation technology solutions, and among marketers only, just 28.6% said so.
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