North American organisations are more likely to adopt marketing automation strategies, and considerably more likely to report a strong return on investment than their European counterparts, according to a new study from Act-On Software. 

The first-year study found that 91% of North American businesses using marketing automation report high return on investment, compared with just 72% in Europe. 

Michelle Huff, CMO at Act-On Software: “Marketers today face a changing, daunting world: a crowded vendor landscape, online channels that are fast-multiplying, a digitally disrupted customer journey, but more importantly, the customer they serve is more empowered and more in control than ever before. As marketers, we must navigate through this change to succeed. Increasingly, we are seeing companies embrace modern marketing technologies like marketing automation to help them better compete and achieve their business goals.”

While just over half of B2B organisations surveyed are using marketing automation, only 27 percent firmly believe that it has increased marketing’s contribution to the pipeline. This could be because marketers are just only scratching the surface when it comes to using marketing automation. The research shows that there are only three areas where more than half of those surveyed are using marketing automation: email, web forms, and landing pages. These are the more basic functions within marketing automation, which can point to a potential misalignment between system, strategy, and skill-set.

Andrew Warren-Payne, partner content - marketer and industry analyst at Econsultancy, said: “Despite the important role marketing automation plays in helping marketers to deliver against commercial objectives, the research found that 47% of companies are not yet using the technology.

“Companies need to ensure that they have as much clarity as possible around their sales and marketing goals, and have the processes in place – along with the technology – to help them achieve their revenue targets. Marketing Automaton appears to be a competitive advantage for most businesses, so it is important for those companies who have not yet invested to rethink their current growth strategy.”

Lead nurturing, a standard practice facilitated by marketing automation, is an area showing a noticeable gap in sophistication between leaders and their peers. There is a 23-percentage-point divide in the level of usage of marketing automation for lead nurturing. Similarly, significantly fewer non-leaders are using their systems’ lead scoring capabilities (37% vs. 48% for leaders). It was seen that both these areas are very much on the radar, with 50% and 47% of companies, respectively, planning to use these tactics.


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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