The State of Marketing Automation Research Swipe File

Research Swipe File: The State of Marketing Automation

The State of Marketing Automation Research Swipe File

The capabilities that marketing automation solutions have today extend deep into every stage of the marketing funnel. But how are marketers utilizing marketing automation today, and how do they plan to in the year ahead?

To help answer this question, Ascend2 and our Research Partners fielded The State of Marketing Automation survey. We thank the 302 marketers who responded to this survey between July 13, 2021 and July 21, 2021.

Research highlights:

  • Are marketers getting the most out of their automation tools? 54% of marketers say NO, they are not using their marketing automation tools to their fullest potential.
  • If your automation tools play nice with the rest of your tech stack, you might be ahead of the curve. Two-thirds of marketers say their automation tools that are only somewhat or not at all integrated.
  • So what will take your marketing automation to the next level? Over half of marketers say that quality data will amplify the success of a marketing automation tool.

View the research report.

What are marketers’ top reasons for implementing marketing automation?

It is the job of the marketer to increase revenue opportunities. To do this effectively, the marketing and sales teams must work together. Over one-third (35%) of marketers report that a top reason for implementing marketing automation is to better enable this. 34% of marketers also hope to improve customer engagement and customer experience through the use of marketing automation solutions.


How do marketers rate the success of their use of marketing automation?

Is the use of marketing automation helping marketers achieve their strategic goals? An 84% majority of those responding to the survey describe their automation use as successful to some extent, but there is room for improvement. The group of marketers who reported the most success from the use of their marketing automation is nearly equal to the group who reported the least amount of success.

marketing automation success chart

Which efforts most amplify the success of automation tools?

Successful marketing automation solutions are only as effective as the efforts and tactics that surround them. Quality data will amplify the success of a marketing automation tool according to over half (52%) of marketing professionals surveyed. Ensuring that automation is executed strategically, as well as proper alignment of sales and marketing goals also top this list for 46% and 45% of marketers, respectively.


In which areas do marketers currently utilize automation?

With the ever-increasing number of technology and solutions available today, marketing automation can be applied throughout the entire marketing funnel as well as to many facets of a marketing strategy. According to this research, two-thirds (65%) of marketers are using marketing automation as a part of their email marketing efforts. Nearly half (47%) of marketing professionals surveyed are using marketing automation to manage their social media. Landing pages and paid advertising are also among the most common areas where marketers are using automation.


In which areas do marketers plan to utilize automation in the year ahead?

In which areas do marketers plan to utilize automation in the year ahead? In the coming months, 40% of marketers are planning to add automation to their email marketing efforts in the year ahead. Marketers also report that social media will soon be managed through automation tools. Live chat (21%), Account-Based Marketing (ABM) (21%), and paid advertising (32%) are also notable areas where the percentage of marketers who plan to use automation is greater than the percentage of marketers who are already using automation.

marketing automation planned use chart

Are marketers utilizing marketing automation tools to their fullest potential?

Marketing automation tools can consist of many different features to help marketers integrate data into a central location, make marketing processes more efficient, and provide a more personalized customer experience. However, over half (54%) of marketing professionals feel that they are not using their marketing automation tools to their fullest potential.


What is preventing marketers from utilizing automation tools to their fullest potential?

What is preventing marketers from using their automation tools to their fullest potential? According to 39% of those surveyed, there is a insufficient amount of training and resources available to ensure proper use. Other significant barriers include lack of resources to manage the tools for 32% of marketers and a lack of budget to maintain them for 31% of marketers.


How integrated is automation into the rest of the tech stack?

It is critical for marketers to be able to integrate a marketing automation tool into solutions that already exist in their technology stack. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of marketers report that their automation solutions are only somewhat integrated or not at all integrated. A mere 7% of marketers report that their marketing automation solution is entirely integrated with the rest of their technology stack.

View the research report.

Subscribe to our research: