Email Marketing & Email Marketing Automation

The Return on Investment (ROI) of Marketing Automation Platforms

Next year, Marketing Automation turns 30! Yep, you read that right. And while it seems like this now ubiquitous technology is young enough to still have pimples, the reality is that the marketing automation platform (MAP) is now married, has a puppy, and is likely to start a family soon. 

In Demand Spring’s latest research report, we explored the state of marketing automation technology today. We uncovered that almost half of organizations are still really struggling to measure the ROI of Marketing Automation. Were we surprised? Not really. While the MAP market is over USD$4B today, many B2B organizations are still really struggling with marketing attribution.

Please identify the ROI you have been able to attribute to your marketing automation platform?

The good news is that for those who are able to measure the ROI of Marketing Automation, the results are strong. 51% of organizations are experiencing an ROI of greater than 10%, and 22% are seeing ROI of greater than 22%.

Understated Numbers

I strongly suspect that these numbers are vastly understated. When you consider that today’s buyers of B2B products and services conduct much of their education and buying process online, it’s hard to imagine that MAP is not as valuable as your most productive sales reps. 

A good way to consider value is by imagining a world where MAP didn’t exist. Imagine running your organization today without the ability to personalize communication by persona and stage of the buyer journey. Or to identify the hottest leads and pass them in almost real-time to your sales organization. Imagine not having a marketing engine that could nurture leads to improve deal velocity. 

The Keys to Improving the ROI of Marketing Automation

Our research uncovered some key clues that we believe are holding organizations back from fully achieving and recognizing the desired ROI of Marketing Automation. The most obvious is the inability to measure it. We continue to find that most marketing organizations remain largely a secondary priority for their Business Analytics teams, with limited resources devoted to helping marketers measure performance. Dedicating analytics technology and Data Scientists to supporting marketers is key.

The second big inhibitor is a lack of people to run the platforms effectively. We asked respondents what the key reasons are for not using certain features in their MAP, and 55% cited a lack of staff, while 29% identified a lack of knowledge on the additional features. There is no question that the supply/demand curve is squarely in favor of those who have MAP skills. It’s also a great reminder that when committing to MAP, marketing executives need to consider all three critical operational aspects—people, process, and technology.

What are the key reasons for not using certain features in your marketing automation platform?
Chart: What are the key reasons for not using certain features in your marketing automation platform?

Efficiency Gains are Clear

Another item that jumped out while reviewing the benchmark results was the increase in marketing efficiency that MAP has created. We believe that the biggest value of MAP is the ability to have personalized conversations at SCALE. It’s clear from the data that respondents are also recognizing this benefit.

How has your marketing automation platform improved overall efficiency?

To see the Demand Spring’s Marketing Automation Benchmark Report:

Download Demand Spring’s Marketing Automation Benchmark Report

Mark Emond

As Demand Spring’s Founder and President, Mark has a tremendous passion for helping marketing leaders transform their Revenue Marketing practices, enabling them to be strategic leaders in their organization. Mark loves to advise and teach clients how to develop advanced, yet pragmatic, Revenue Marketing strategies and enable them with integrated marketing technology platforms to deliver personalized, multi-channel engagement at scale.

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