2014 Marketing Automation Effectiveness Study results


The 2014 Marketing Automation Effectiveness and Performance Survey set out to measure the effectiveness and performance of companies using marketing automation.

Heinz Marketing and OnTarget Consulting also measured performance against expectations. We handpicked some of their findings for this article.

Marketing Automation success takes some time

The biggest takeaway according to the researchers is that success takes time. The biggest jump in productivity and value occurs at the 2 year mark, levelling out after 5 years of using marketing automation. Technology itself is not the strategy which will automatically lead to success.

The lesson here is executives should not expect a windfall of revenue in the first months or quarters. Success comes from steady progress over time.

Problem areas in marketing automation

What are the biggest problem areas when looking at them in relation to importance? The number one problem area for all companies using marketing automation is pipeline reporting and improving sales effectiveness. According to the researchers, analytics must get better with marketing automation platforms to help analyse ROI and forecast potential results.

Top 3 problem areas using marketing automation less than 2 Years
1. Pipeline Reporting
2. Measuring marketing campaign effectiveness
3. Increasing sales effectiveness

Top 3 problem areas using marketing automation more than 5 years
1. Pipeline Reporting
2. Increase sales effectiveness
3. Generating new prospects

Marketing Automation Vendors Must Focus on Innovation for Customers

Forecasting and attribution are possible, but it is still not easy for companies to set up systems and measure the data. Vendors can do more to innovate their platforms to support better reporting and analytics. Additionally, marketing automation vendors can do more to innovate marketing through channels beyond email and landing pages. With the first major wave of M&A and IPO’s completed, it’s time for innovation to pick up again.

Getting great ROI out of your MA system faster

We asked Brian Hansford (@remarkmarketing) , Director of Client Services at Heinz Marketing how companies can get great ROI out of their MA system faster. – “Success depends on several key factors. When starting an initiative, take small steps to build success, test, and adjust. These steps should support the overall demand generation strategy. The technology itself isn’t a strategy and it’s not a magic tool that will drive revenue.

Secondly, it’s critical for marketing to work with sales to agree on everything from lead definitions to how leads will be tracked in the CRM system. Building this alignment is critical. Third, make sure the people have the right training to use and manage the platform. Finally, the most important element is the customer. Marketers must understand where their customers come from, what they care about, how they consume content and engage.”

Brian continues by highlighting the top functionalities of Marketing Automation systems:
“Our survey data confirms the critical functionality that marketing automation must have, and marketers must utilize. CRM integration is vital. Why run MA without CRM integration?

Pipeline reporting and improving sales performance are important because marketers are held accountable for revenue numbers. And without strong reporting and analytics, it’s impossible to manage demand generation programs and measure results.

Segmentation is vital because that enables marketers to focus programs on their customers based on buying stages and personas. Without segmentation everyone is treated the same. Each customer has their own personal challenge and it’s important to use marketing automation to personalize messages and sequences.”

Additional findings from the report:

  • 75% report their effectiveness with MA increased over the previous year.
  • Biggest increase in effectiveness occurs in between 2-5 years of usage.
  • 75% of respondents who’s companies had been using marketing automation for over five years reported that they were very important to their company’s sales and marketing efforts.
  • Over 75% of respondents reported that the importance of MAS tools to their company’s success had increased over the past year.
  • 95% of respondents using MA less than 2 years reported importance increased over the past year.
  • Have a look at the 2014 Marketing Automation Effectiveness Study Infographic:

    Source: Heinz marketing

    About Jordie van Rijn

    Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named on of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016 " by Entrepreneur magazine.

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    • http://BrianHansford.com/ Brian Hansford

      Thanks for posting our survey results and infographic. I’m eager to hear the feedback from your community.
      Brian Hansford
      Heinz Marketing


    • Darcy Grabenstein

      Brian, as with any project, I agree that testing is crucial. I’m curious… have you come across any surprise results in tests you’ve conducted?

    • http://BrianHansford.com/ Brian Hansford

      Hi Darcy – Thanks for the comment and question! The one surprise was even though MAP users claimed a very high level of improving sales over the previous year, it still wasn’t meeting the ‘expectations’ of increasing sales. In fact improving sales effectiveness was a Top 3 Problem area. I think that may point to the challenge marketers face in driving and influencing revenue. There’s a ton of pressure on marketers to fill revenue pipelines and no matter how much the results improve, the expectations are for more, more, more!