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70% ANZ businesses have successfully implemented mktg automation: Report

Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of organisations feel they have been successful (either ‘very’ or ‘quite’) in implementing their marketing automation campaigns, according to the State of Marketing Automation in Australia and New Zealand report, by Econsultancy in partnership with Oracle Marketing Cloud.

The research, based on a survey of over 350 marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals based in Australia and New Zealand, evaluates current adoption levels, tools and processes employed as well as barriers to effective use of marketing automation. The report examines how close marketers in the region are to reaching the ‘holy grail’ of marketing automation: the complete elimination of internal data silos to build a 360-degree view of the customer, and the utilisation of this intelligence to enable deeper, personalised engagement with prospects and clients.

The most pressing challenge for three in five (57 per cent) companies surveyed is a strategic one: demonstrating the ROI of their marketing activities. In order to achieve this, marketing and sales need to be in alignment and this is where marketing automation plays a key role, encouraging the two functions to work better together.

Marketers in Australia and New Zealand are keen to embrace marketing automation technology, with a lack of budget and organisational buy-in preventing only a minority of those surveyed (20 per cent and 12 per cent respectively) from implementing their automation strategy. There’s evidence that technology enables them to reap the rewards from their investment: across nine key capabilities of marketing automation platforms, survey respondents are significantly more likely to rate them as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ than ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

However, they still have a way to go when it comes to data-driven marketing. Nearly half (46 per cent) say that integrating data is the most significant barrier to effectively implementing a marketing automation strategy. More worryingly, only a quarter are working towards the creation of a unified database.

Furthermore, just 15 per cent of companies cite product integration capabilities as a top priority when selecting their marketing automation platform. This is reflected in the fact that half (48 per cent) of companies rate that their unified database capabilities are ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

Encouragingly, in three in five (59 per cent) companies surveyed, marketing automation is integrated with CRM systems. These organisations are three times more likely to rate their ability to process data for automation as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ than those that don’t integrate the two technologies (54 per cent vs. 17 per cent).

Three in five (59 per cent) organisations manage their marketing automation activities in-house, the research highlighted. Large organisations (with annual revenues of more than $50 million) are more likely to outsource their marketing automation (31 per cent compared to only 13 per cent of smaller organisations), indicating that cost may be a factor for keeping it in-house.

The report found that a sizeable 65 per cent of companies rate their marketing automation capabilities as ‘basic’. Over a quarter (28 per cent) of those using an in-house team to manage marketing automation capabilities rate their capabilities as ‘advanced’. This compares to only 8 per cent of those outsourcing to an agency.

Paul Cross, Group Vice President, Customer Success JAPAC at Oracle Marketing Cloud, commented, “Whilst it is of critical importance to centralise on quality, scalable technology that has the features required to deliver on a CMO’s marketing strategy, it is the capability to maximise the use of the technology that CMOs often overlook. Ultimately, marketers who do not invest in capability will be left behind. Capability is the next differentiator.”

Ease of use emerged as the primary consideration in selecting a marketing automation platform, for a third of company respondents.

Automated / triggered email messaging was ranked as the most popular activity, for almost three-quarters of companies, the research found. Despite lead nurturing being the biggest reason for investment in marketing automation (for 44 per cent of companies), only 32 per cent are currently engaging in this activity.

The research highlights that only 44 per cent of responding organisations rate their ability to gather data from multiple devices and platforms as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, with just over half (56 per cent) rating it as ‘average’ or ‘poor’.

Jefrey Gomez, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Econsultancy, said, “Marketers in Australia and New Zealand are making headway when it comes to stewarding marketing automation within the organisation. However, a lack of data capabilities prevents them from executing their strategies effectively. Data is no longer used to just enhance marketing automation; it is a key success factor.”