In an industry that is dominated by technology and innovation, more than a quarter (26%) of marketers have never heard of marketing automation, and a further 49% are only partly familiar with it according to new research by Adestra.

These figures are even more surprising in the context of those marketers that have implemented automated marketing technologies in the past, with 60% revealing that the implementation of an automated technology had a positive impact on their marketing communications.

Steve Denner, COO of Adestra, said: “It’s astonishing that such a large proportion of senior-level marketers have little or no knowledge of automated marketing technologies. The marketing industry is synonymous with having its ‘finger on the pulse’, and its adoption of technology as a driver for change is well known. I am surprised that there is such a knowledge gap here, with so few marketers having yet to experience the fantastic results that automation can help to achieve.”

Benefits and Barriers

The research, which sampled 200 UK-based, senior-level marketers from a variety of sectors, also investigated marketers’ perceptions of the benefits of automation technologies, as well as the potential barriers to implementing them. Of the marketers that have an understanding of marketing technologies, there are a number of benefits they perceive that automation can provide, including:

· Saving them time (74%)
· Increased customer engagement (68%)
· More timely communications (58%)
· Increased opportunities, including up-selling (58%)

However, despite the attraction of these perceived benefits, the research respondents recognise that there are potential barriers to implementing automated technologies. Data integration (34%), technology shortfall (26%) and a lack of skills or experience (18%) are highlighted as some of the biggest road blocks, alongside the usual challenges presented by budget and time restrictions.

Skills Gap

Of the marketers that are familiar with automation technologies, many feel they are not in a position to implement these with almost half (49%) of the research respondents stating that they do not feel they have the level of knowledge required. Additionally, more than half (57%) of the sample feel that their company does not have sufficient understanding of automation to implement it effectively.

Steve Denner added: “When they do adopt automation, marketers are often of the belief that such solutions will save them time when, in reality, implementing an automated technology effectively can require significant resource up front in order to produce tangible results. Despite there being a relatively high number of marketers who are not familiar with automation, there is clearly an appetite amongst those who are, to incorporate an increased level of technology into their marketing mix.

“The key to success for marketers opting to use an automated technology is to ensure they have a thorough understanding of how to use data correctly to inform how their strategy should evolve. Doing this well unlocks a world of benefits and will enable marketers to enjoy highly-targeted campaigns that produce impressive results.”

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