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Common Concerns With Marketing Automation: Where Do You Rank?

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes courtesy of Jennifer Stoll, Head of Strategic Planning at Pepper North America, an Oracle Eloqua Gold-Certified Partner. Jennifer merges theoretical planning with hands-on experience as a marketing automation expert focusing on lead scoring, closed loop reporting, and advanced segmentation. Follow Pepper North America on Twitter @PepperNA.

You might have seen the most recent survey by the B2B Technology Marketing Community, which highlighted usage of marketing automation.  The survey’s findings—Marketing Automation Trends Report 2014— confirmed that marketing automation has become a must-have. In fact, we found that more than 53% of respondents are already using automation, and another 17% will invest in 2014.

But after that trends report was published, Pepper’s strategy teams in North American and Europe were, like many of you, hungry for the deeper breakdown: What does the data tell us on an industry and regional level and, more importantly, what are some of the biggest challenges with this valuable technology? (That’s still somewhat of a mystery to even some of the world’s large enterprises).

So, we took a deeper look at the survey data and found that when it comes to marketing automation, our opinions and challenges aren’t quite as varied as you’d think.

Our top 4 findings indicate that the marketplace is becoming more of an even playing field in terms of knowledge, usage and needs:

  1. The key benefits marketers receive from marketing automation: more and better leads, improved marketing productivity, and improved conversion rates.

  2. The most important marketing automation features are lead nurturing, integration with CRM, social media and mobile platforms, and analytics and reporting capabilities.

  3. Budget constraints, lack of skilled employees, and poor contact database quality are the three biggest obstacles to more effective use of marketing automation.

  4. The most frequently used ROI performance metrics are response metrics, including open rate, click through rate, and unsubscribes.


In other words, you’re not alone with the challenges you’re probably facing. At a high level, here’s what we found.


  1. Many marketers are doing it. Not surprisingly, by the end of 2014, 70% of respondents will have invested in marketing automation.

  2. Spending is trending… up. Spending is not slowing down. Of the organizations currently using marketing automation, 96% plan to spend just as much or even more on it in the next year.

  3. Size matters. Challenges like poor database quality and lack of skilled employees are prevalent no matter the size of your organization; however, smaller companies struggle more with complexity of marketing automation while larger ones struggle with integration and communication between sales and marketing.

  4. And finally, it gets better. 20% of respondents said lack of content to utilize is a pain point for respondents who have had marketing automation for less than a year, but that drops to 11% by year 3, suggesting that it simply takes time for organizations to build up the appropriate content library that aligns with their nurture tracks and personas.


So whether you’re new to the game or an old friend, you can see that some of the biggest concerns are shared across the board—now, what to do about it? For starters, explore our report findings. For more tips on how to overcome these ubiquitous challenges, check out the archived webinar Marketing Automation: Conquering the Questions in 2014.



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