In August Gleanster published the 2014 Marketing Automation benchmark report, covering 53 vendors, complete with vendor rankings (based on end-users) and analyst commentary on each vendor. The marketing automation vendor rankings showcase user perceptions across four criteria: ease of use, ease of deployment, features, and overall value. A minimum of 8 users for each solution featured on the FLASH rank these providers on a scale of 1 to 5.
What are the notable adoption trends in marketing automation in 2014?
- Three out of four companies that invest in marketing automation use it as a glorified campaign engine for the first 6 months; by 12 months that number changes to 2 out of 4. It’s hard for marketers to break legacy marketing practices. Also, it takes time before lead scoring and business rules start to generate measurable results that can champion continued support for the platform. The technology is an enabler for the process. Take the time to discuss the process, prioritize your lead personas, discuss the definitions of a qualified lead, and document a formal process that a technology like marketing automation can support.
- Sales is still a barrier to marketing automation adoption. So get them involved in the purchase decision early and be sure integration between marketing automation and CRM is a collaborative effort. It’s also very important to expose lead scoring criteria to sales reps and provide context about how and why leads were deemed high priority. (Check out the Deep Dive: What Sales Should Really Expect From Marketing Automation)
- Data and analytics are the foundation for successful implementations. If you can afford it, consider augmenting your B2B lists with third-party data. Some marketing automation platforms have turnkey partnerships to do this in real time. Most list providers (Demandbase, NetProspects, and Bizo) have slowly shifted their offerings into data management platforms that help scrub and augment data in marketing automation. That could mean you don’t have to ask for as many fields on your forms, which will have a positive impact on response rates. The quality of data also reduces the need to double-check results. Marketing automation solutions are still lacking in when it comes to reporting. Many users report they find reporting difficult to customize or error prone.
- A move to micro-segmentation, not 1:1 marketing. Top Performers focus finite resources and budget by choosing 3-5 core personas. and focus content marketing efforts, campaigns, and budget around these core segments. Forget the technology features for a moment, it’s downright unrealistic to assume any marketing team can support a 1:1 marketing communication strategy (from a content and creative standpoint). But you have to start resonating more intimately with your prospects because there’s a TON of noise and content out there and most of it is garbage. The only way to rise above the noise is to speak directly to buyers in a more intimate way – that can be accomplished just as effectively with list segmentation and prioritization of your target audiences.