How to make the most of marketing technology: new survey results

A new report shares the latest insights into how marketers are adopting automation technology. The report outlines the findings of a survey by DotMailer, a company that provides email marketing automation tools.

The 2016 Marketing Technology Adoption Survey questioned 450 global marketers on their views about marketing technology procurement and adoption. The results make interesting reading for anyone in marketing. They can also be used to identify steps for success when selecting and adopting marketing technology.

What does the survey tell us?

Among the key findings, the survey report picks out ‘the increasing desire to use marketing automation, plus a shortage of time and resources’.

It’s not taking a huge leap to assume that these two factors might be connected. A shortage of marketing time and resource leads to an increased need for automated workflow solutions that make the marketing process more efficient.

Most-used marketing technologies

According to the survey, email marketing is the technology most likely to be adopted. 88% of those surveyed currently use email marketing.

The authors believe this is due not just to email’s ubiquity as a marketing channel, but also to the fact that many email technologies can be used by the marketing team themselves. They are user-friendly and easily adopted. This is less the case for some of the other technologies listed – e-commerce development, for instance, which is far more likely to need technical support or leadership.

‘Automation’ is listed by just 26% as a technology they have employed. The report notes that in some cases, ‘automation’ and ‘email marketing’ may be one and the same, as many email marketing platforms have some level of automation. This may mean that the true figure who have adopted email marketing is higher. It may also imply that more than a quarter of marketers are actually using some form of automation, as it may come as part of their email package.

What does ‘automation’ really mean for marketers?

What isn’t clear is how marketers are using this automation. We have seen a significant increase over recent years in interest in – and adoption of – automated marketing workflow tools. These can have a significant positive impact on the efficiency of marketing processes.

For regulated marketers, these automated workflows can combine marketing project management with streamlined compliance review and sign off processes – adding another level of benefit beyond just greater marketing efficiency.

While the report focuses on automation in relation to email marketing, there are many additional ways that automation can benefit the marketing team.

Marketing automation software – a growing area of focus

The survey shows that just 26% have adopted automation tools to date. However, 36% expect to dedicate marketing budget to automation in the next 12 months. This shows that marketers are expecting their adoption of automation to increase over the coming year.

Marketing budgets are expected to increase for the majority – 59% say this – although there is a clear emphasis on return for any spend. Value for money and ROI from marketing spend are key themes. This could be one reason why email marketing and other automation tools are so popular, as their in-built management information and reporting clearly demonstrates the value of time and money spent.

Marketing challenges solved by technology solutions

Time and resource are identified as the biggest challenges facing today’s marketers. 23% say that time is their biggest day-to-day challenge, with another 23% citing resource.

Again, the link to technology is clear; automating marketing processes helps teams deal with increasing workloads.  Minimising manual intervention reduces the chance of human error, duplication and rework.

Automated workflow solutions for Marketing teams enable online briefing, collaborative reviewing and mandated approvals. The time it takes to produce marketing materials is cut, meaning that brochures, proposals, factsheets and sales aids all get to market faster.

For regulated businesses, the added benefit of compliant processes can’t be underestimated.  Automating approvals reduces mistakes and improves regulatory compliance. Making sign-off mandatory and creating automatic audit trails that meet Financial Conduct Authority requirements help to ensure your financial promotions comply with regulatory guidelines.

Ease of use is a key factor for technology

The survey asked whether respondents’ teams had sufficient skills in relation to their marketing technology. 37% felt that they did.

Ease of use was shown by the responses to be essential in ensuring take-up and understanding of new technologies. This mirrors our own experience; intuitive technologies are far more likely to be used regularly than any that need complex training or specialist skills.

User-friendly marketing automation tools have far higher adoption rates, and are more likely to be used long-term. Ensuring whatever solution you choose is intuitive and easily understood is essential.

The DotMailer survey provides interesting insights for any marketer. Marketing technologies and automation can play a central role in reducing workload, increasing efficiency and enabling marketing teams to focus on adding value. You can find out more about the benefits of automation in Perivan Solutions Whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow systems. It’s free to download, and you can get your copy here.

Author: Steve Coleman – Perivan Solutions

Related: Approval Systems