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We all know that B2B marketing is ever-charging, and rapidly evolving. Unfortunately, many of the available stats we’ve all been using to make strategic decisions are — let’s face it ― a bit stale.
So, here at Act-On, we set off to uncover the most recent marketing automation stats by surveying more than 350 marketing professionals in North America and Europe to get their insight into marketing automation’s (MA) impact on their organizations. We’re quite excited to share our findings on marketers’ adoption, use, and results of MA platforms.
Our State of B2B Marketing Automation report, conducted in collaboration with Econsultancy, reveals a strong correlation between marketing automation investment and positive business performance. With almost unanimous agreement that effective marketing automation adaption is critical to long-term business success, respondents provided a picture that shows growing MA implementation among high-performing marketing departments.
Overall, just over half (53%) of B2B organizations surveyed are using marketing automation technology, and a further 37% say they are planning to implement it.
Leaders, businesses with high-performing marketing departments, defined as those companies with marketing functions that exceeded their top business objective in 2016, are 24% more likely than their peers to say they’re currently using marketing automation, and almost two-thirds (62%) of these companies employ marketing automation technology, compared to 50 percent for the Mainstream organizations.
Across all areas, North American organizations are 14% more likely to use marketing automation than their European counterparts.
Top Reasons for Purchasing MA
Two-thirds (66%) of respondents rank higher-quality leads as being among their top three reasons for implementing automation.
Just under half (49%) say increased revenue is the reason they want to adopt MA.
Generating more leads (volume) is also an important objective for marketing automation and was cited as a top-three reason for its implementation by 41% of those surveyed.
Essentially all respondents (98%) agree that effective marketing automation is critical to long-term business success.
While just over half of B2B organizations surveyed are using marketing automation, only 27 percent firmly believe that it has increased marketing’s contribution to pipeline.
A significantly higher proportion of respondents based in North America indicate that marketing automation has provided their organizations with return on investment than those in Europe (91 percent versus 72 percent).
58% of respondents “strongly agree” that marketing automation makes marketing teams more efficient.
57% of respondents “strongly agree” that marketing automation increases marketing’s contribution to pipeline.
The vast majority (85%) of those surveyed rate their marketing automation systems as effective. Leaders are almost three times as likely as their peers to rate them as “very effective” (20%, versus 7% of those in the Mainstream group).
The vast majority of Leaders say that marketing automation has delivered a return on investment (93%) or increased contribution to pipeline (90%), compared to just over two-thirds of Mainstream organizations (69% and 68% respectively)
Leaders say that automation has increased marketing’s contribution to pipeline by an average of 31% (versus 26% for Mainstream organizations).
Only two in five survey respondents (41%) believe their organizations are using marketing automation to its fullest capacity.
Fewer than three in ten users are implementing more advanced tactics such as automated creation of dynamic content and account-based marketing.
58% of Leaders are using lead nurturing vs only 35% of the non-leaders. Similarly, significantly fewer non-Leaders are using their systems’ lead scoring capabilities (37 percent, versus 48 percent for Leaders). It was seen that both these areas are very much on the radar, with 50 percent and 47 percent of companies, respectively, planning to use these tactics.
Measurement of marketing qualified leads (65% versus 48% in Europe) and sales accepted leads (56% versus 39%) is much more common in North America.
Leaders are focusing much more heavily focusing on Social than non-leaders (48% versus 29%).
Leaders are significantly more likely to measure the contribution marketing makes to the sales pipeline or revenue using their marketing automation system or CRM.
Barriers to Adoption
The foremost obstacle is the perceived complexity of marketing automation, which is cited as a significant challenge by more than 4 in 10 respondents.
Half of respondents referenced limited availability of skilled experience as a barrier to success.
Data management (cited by almost half of those surveyed as a key challenge) and integration (highlighted by more than a third) were viewed as obstacles.
Resources were highlighted by six in ten respondents as a marketing automation challenge, but only 11% cited pure cost, indicating broader constraints.
Well, there you have it — an honest-to-goodness, up-to-date look at how B2Bs are viewing and using marketing automation in 2017. It’s clear that MA is an essential part of many companies’ successful marketing programs … or it soon will be.
What’s your take on how automation is impacting your programs? Do any of these stats surprise you? We’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.