Marketing Automation is Only Used to its Full Potential by 2% of B2B Marketers


Simon MossMarketing Director for CommuniGator

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Marketing automation is an incredibly invaluable tool for B2B and B2C companies. CommuniGator has conducted a survey to see how attitudes and applications have differed since a similar study in 2016.

Article 3 Minutes
Marketing Automation is Only Used to its Full Potential by 2% of B2B Marketers

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%.

The effectiveness of marketing automation survey

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.

Automated email marketing techniques adopted by different businesses

Tracking activity

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

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.

Survey respondents rank the level of email targeting they use

Lead scoring

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.

Respondents are asked which lead-scoring techniques do they adopt

Artificial intelligence

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.

How marketers reflected on the ROI of AI

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.

The barriers to adoption of marketing automation functionality

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.

Persuasive techniques marketers use to encourage email sign-up

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.

Simon Moss

Simon is a Chartered Marketer with over ten years’ marketing experience gained primarily in the B2B marketplace. He is currently the Marketing Director for CommuniGator – a leading marketing automation and lead generation software provider allowing you to manage every step of your digital journey.


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