Marketing automation is complex. So complex, apparently, that the biggest challenge is simply understanding what the various marketing automation systems actually do.

The second challenge? What they’ll do for you in your unique setting.

To learn more, we’re surveying our readers. We want to know how you’re using marketing automation. What’s working for you … and what’s not. And we want to know the results you’re getting with your marketing automation platform (MAP) — the return on investment, and the improved capability and processes.

But we already have some interesting preliminary results to share.

That primary challenges in evaluating and deploying these tools? The number one challenge in choosing a marketing automation platform (MAP) is simply understanding the differences in functionality, according to those who have already taken the survey:

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The second-biggest challenge, however, was understanding how marketing automation would work in your business setting, followed closely by projecting ROI, which is always a challenge for new marketing tools.

(And the subject of an entire State of Marketing Tech report we recently completed.)


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Starting to use a new tool isn’t a picnic either. When it came to implementation, well over half of respondents had issues that led to delays in getting measurable results.

We’re also interested in which functions people use most.

Clearly, the top use case is email marketing, something that bodes well for tools that have been traditionally strong in email. 82 of our respondents say they do email marketing exclusively as a function of their marketing automation platform (and do not also use another tool like an Email Service Provider). Another 10 percent said they used a combination of marketing automation and another tool, and only 5 percent said they used only a separate email marketing tool.

Interestingly, three percent said they do not use email marketing at all.

The second highest user case is landing pages. So far, 61 percent use only their MAP for creating and optimizing landing pages. Another 20 percent used their MAP as well as another tool.

Personalization is also huge: another 61 percent say they do personalization/targeting exclusively within their marketing automation platform. 90 of those say they are personalizing via some form of segmentation, whether based on personas, segments, or a combination of the two.

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Interestingly, impact on leads is very distributed, with well over 50 percent of respondents indicating they saw their number of leads increase at least 20 percent.

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Companies we’re studying range from Hubspot to SharpSpring to Eloqua to Act-On and many, many more.

We still need more data to achieve statistical significance.

Marketers: If you’re interested in seeing the full, detailed results, take our survey and we’ll share the data with you.