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In preliminary results from a survey that marketing automation expert David Raab and VentureBeat are running, a third of companies adopting marketing automation are not seeing the value they expected from their fancy new software.

Perhaps in spite of all the ease-of-use improvements in recent years, there’s still a gap between what companies want and what marketing automation systems do.

Help complete the survey:
If you use marketing automation, answer a few questions about your experience

Raab asked companies that have adopted marketing automation whether the benefits they’ve received from their new systems were worth the cost and investment in employee time that it took to purchase and implement them. And while 43 percent of respondents said they achieved their ROI goals, and 23 percent said they’d actually achieved better-than-expected results, a significant fraction of customers are not pleased with what they’ve gotten.


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A third of companies who have adopted MA are not satisfied with the results.

Above: A third of companies who have adopted MA are not satisfied with the results.

Image Credit: VentureBeat

A full 30 percent said they “could have achieved similar results more cheaply,” and 2.9 percent said they had “wasted time and money, with little to show” for their efforts.

A possible explanation: tiny staff-training budgets.

“There was pitifully little spent on staff training,” Raab said after reviewing the preliminary results. “I wonder if it correlates with satisfaction and features used.”

Also see: The VB Marketing Automation Index

Most companies spent only a fraction on staff training, and many companies did not add any internal or external staff resources to deploy and operate their new systems.

The good news for marketing automation vendors is that almost half of customers report satisfaction with their marketing automation ROI numbers, and a strong cohort of almost a quarter of customers report very strong ROI results.

But clearly, there’s still a way to go for many customers.

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