Simon Moss, the marketing director of CommuniGator discusses the findings of a recent survey undertaken in collaboration with Smart Insights.
2019 results stated 1 in 8 businesses (12.5%) are not using marketing automation tools, compared to 18% in 2016.
The figure of 5% of these businesses not using all features available has remained consistent since 2016. Those who stated they used the majority of features have faced a dramatic drop over the years, from over 30% to under 15%.
Marketing automation techniques
Respondents were then queried as to which marketing automation technique they used. Sending an initial welcome email has remained the most favored technique in both 2016 and 2019.
All techniques have seen a drop in popularity over the last three years except from nurturing emails based on content browsed or downloaded which has seen a small rise.
Notably, organizations are focusing less time on inactive customers and favor targeting those who have retained an interest in the business.
Tracking user activity offers valuable options for marketing automation but 29% of businesses don’t tailor their emails based on activity. Therefore, all emails sent to potential and current clients remain the same and can result in missed conversion opportunities.
Lack of knowledge for the effectiveness and process of tailored emails could be the contributing factor to this shortfall.
Nurturing emails have experienced a significant jump in the last three years, from 4% to 18%, showing businesses are seeing the value of returning clients.
Lead scoring remains a highly popular technique for marketing automation, using ‘scoring’ processes based on user activity and targeting emails based on these scores. This gives companies the ability to filter through users by their sincerity for the product or service.
Scoring based on links clicked within emails and throughout websites remains the most popular form of lead scoring where these scores can be tailored to be even more concise to target specific clients with particular products.
The below graph shows how businesses reflected on the ROI of artificial intelligence. The previous study didn’t cover this as the technology was still very much in infancy.
AI uses existing data to provide actionable insights, the most effective of these being personalized landing pages. This can be achieved by adapting the home page to reflect previous site visits.
Users presented with the option to sign in via social media shows to be the least effective; this is most likely due to platforms encrypting data.
As this technology advances, we’ll be able to assess these factors in greater detail in prospective studies.
Businesses aren’t taking full advantage of marketing automation
But, why are we seeing a decline in the last three years and why are businesses not taking advantage of the full potential of marketing automation? We’re aware of how effective these methods can be and the highly specific tailoring that can be achieved.
Lack of staff knowledge has been the biggest barrier, followed by the need to integrate outdated systems to comply with more modern technology. Budget, staff, and lack of other resources have also been defined as contributing factors.
Furthermore, most of these techniques are redundant if businesses are unable to obtain an initial email address from clients. How are we persuading others to hand over their contact details?
56% of organizations are opting to use sign-up messages on key pages and 44% offer free content in exchange for contact details.
But overall, lack of staff knowledge and resources seem to be the largest factor as to why only 2% of B2B marketers are using marketing automation to its full potential. Many older systems may also struggle to accommodate the technology and businesses aren’t in a position to upgrade.
As a result, it’s important for businesses seeking marketing automation opportunities to educate staff to fully unlock the potential for their business and generate the best method for conversion.
Read the full study here.