Heinz Marketing and OnTarget Consulting and Research published results from 2014 Marketing Automation Performance and Effectiveness Survey.  The targeted survey measured how organizations measure the results of marketing automation against the expectations.

The overall objective is to share key details on what works well and where the challenges remain, in order to raise awareness with marketers on what to anticipate when using marketing automation.

The survey did not measure vendor popularity, sentiment or market share like other recent surveys.  (There are plenty of popularity surveys) It focused on understanding how organizations are strategically using a wide variety of platforms and how well the performance is meeting expectations.  We polled companies that ranged in size from $25 million to over $1 billion in annual revenues.  We also surveyed companies that had used marketing automation for less than 2 years to those using it for over 5 years.

High Expectations

The bottom line is that CxO’s and marketers have very high expectations from marketing automation tools but performance is not meeting those expectations. This isn’t a surprise as marketing automation vendors do a great job selling the promise.  Successfully implementing marketing automation tools and leading an organization through the change management process takes time and discipline. Implementation steps must be carefully planned and effectively introduced.  All parts of the organization that will be impacted by the tools must be included in this process. Unfortunately not all executives inside and outside of marketing understand that.

However, as experience with marketing technology grows with companies, the effectiveness and performance of marketing automation increases. Poor performance remains where marketing automation vendors don’t provide adequate capability or education to help customers measure performance or pipeline contribution. While these reporting and capabilities do exist in general, it’s clear marketers desire additional information, tools and insights to provide the critical critical information needed to help the CxO’s measure marketing effectiveness.

Here is a preliminary breakdown of our survey and results:

Length of Time Using Marketing Automation

  • 34.7% – of respondents 0-2 Years
  • 38.8% – of respondents 2-5 Years
  • 24.5% – of respondents 5+ Years
  • 2% – Didn’t share

Company Size – Annual Revenues

  • 24.5% – up to $25M
  • 12.2% – $25-50M
  • 12.2% – $50-100M
  • 26.5% – Greater than $100M
  • 24.5% – didn’t share

Best Performing Capabilities in Relation to Importance – Using MA Less Than 2 Years

  • Lead Segmentation
  • Lead Nurturing Campaigns
  • Generating New Prospects

Observation: Organizations typically begin their utilization journey and measure success with tactical wins.  Companies using marketing automation less than two years rightfully place heavy importance on segmenting their customer audience and initiating lead nurture campaigns.  The initial focus is heavy on email and landing page utilization, but the efforts help generate new sales prospects.

Best Performing Capabilities in Relation to Importance – Using MA More Than 2 Years

  • CRM Integration
  • Outbound marketing campaign integration
  • Extending length of customer lifecycle

Note: As top-performing companies grow in their experience and utilization with marketing automation, the focus becomes more strategic, with less focus on tactical batch and send activity.

Problem Areas in Relation to Importance – Using MA Less Than 2 Years

  • Pipeline Reporting
  • Measuring marketing campaign effectiveness
  • Increasing sales effectiveness

Problem Areas in Relation to Importance – Using MA More Than 5 Years

  • Pipeline Reporting
  • Increase sales effectiveness
  • Generating new prospects

Observation: Measuring marketing performance and looking ahead in the sales pipeline are the biggest areas of pain for modern marketers.  Marketing automation platforms aren’t meeting client expectations with metrics and reporting.  Also, the longer a company uses marketing automation it becomes a bigger challenge to find net-new prospects.  This emphasizes the critical importance of nurture campaigns.  Organizations are looking more to marketing automation to accelerate pipeline revenue and increase sales effectiveness.   Interestingly, 83.7% or respondents do report effectiveness on improving sales efforts increased when using marketing automation.  This suggest that the expectations are high enough that the rate of improvement, while positive, wasn’t enough.

Survey Snapshots

  • 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.

Quotes – Unexpected Negative Impact When Using Marketing Automation?

“When first implemented, senior leadership felt everyone in field marketing should learn and execute in our marketing automation platform. The idea was poorly received, poorly executed and unfortunately, lasted about a year and a half. At that point, a power user model was implemented and the negative was turned into a positive.”

Cost to support and maintain ( total cost of ownership) not well understood by executives therefore significant effort required to educate executive audience.”
Marketing Automation required more resources than we were ready to allocate.”

Difficult to control customers re-entering database as leads. With a database of 200k+ names, it can be difficult to build campaigns to look for and find and manage duplicates.”

Quotes – Unexpected Positive Impact When Using Marketing Automation?

“As our nurture architecture developed we became increasingly capable of persona-based nurturing, and have seen great success with more pertinent messaging, having an average email open rate of over 45%.”

“44% increase in marketing generated revenue.”

“Increased credibility with the sales team by providing full process transparency. For example, our sales team have full visibility into all email activity and web behavior.”

“Empowering salespeople with MA-driven email content they can use for their own 1-1 business development, with templates available in the CRM.”

“Sales reps complained that they were getting too many leads. Seriously.”

“Internal education of our sales team to the point where they can be more active with how they leverage our marketing efforts vs. just having them be surprised by something we can do.”

“Helped to improve reporting across marketing and sales; helped identify problems we had in sales department.”

Quotes – Why Has Company’s Effectiveness Using Marketing Automation Increased versus One Year Ago?

“Making dedicated efforts to increase the use of the tool as well as understand how we can use it to make more marketing automated within our sales cycle.”

“We’re constantly testing and iterating on what we do in our marketing automation, and always improving and finding better ways to do things. Simultaneously, our sales teams have grown more dependent on marketing as a resource.”

“We are always optimizing – based on our internal feedback loops and analytics, we’ve become more agile in our marketing automation efforts – all of this allows us to become measurably more effective on a rolling basis.”

“We started to implement more sophisticated marketing programs using less resources.”

“We see that sales people are getting more productive and marketing gets to find and measure the outcome of their efforts.”

Survey Infographic Available

An infographic if the survey data is available here from Heinz Marketing.