Yo-ho, Yo-ho! An Automated Life for Me [Infographic]

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Increased productivity is the real Hook for marketing automation.

Marketing and sales executives tend to view each other more as scallywags than shipmates, but both crews put their differences aside to find the same coveted treasure: ROI. Uncovering the booty is essential, and failing to do so can send employees straight to Davy Jones' Locker. As a result, many organizations turn to marketing automation to ensure that the journey to the loot is all smooth sailing.

Revenue is certainly a priority for many marketing mateys, but it's not the only objective. Nearly half of marketing and sales decision makers (44%) cite increased sales revenue as a top marketing automation objective, according to the “Marketing Automation Benchmark Summary Report” by demand generation company Ascend2. However, improved marketing productivity (45%), increased lead generation (42%), and better lead nurturing (41%) are also main priorities. Actually, employees are so confident in using marketing automation to achieve their objectives that 69% consider it somewhat successful and 24% deem it very successful. Only 7% of respondents consider marketing automation unsuccessful at reaching their goals.

Arming the crew with the right technology is vital for marketing automation success. Analytics and reporting (41%) is one of the most important factors in choosing a marketing automation system, according to the report, followed by ease of use (40%), all-in-one solutions (34%), and email and campaign management (33%).

But implementing the technology can be a rocky experience for marketing and sales practitioners. According to the report, 45% of employees cite lack of effective strategies as the most challenging obstacle to marketing automation success, and 44% say budget limitations blow them down. Of course, there are those who just don't have their sea legs yet: 40% of marketing and sales decision makers list lack of skilled staff members as the black spot for their marketing automation success.

Once implemented, many marketers rely on their own internal crews to captain their automated marketing campaigns. According to the report, 52% of respondents use in-house resources only, and 41% use a combination of outsource and in-house resources. In fact, just 7% of employees surveyed jump ship and completely outsource their automated campaigns to agencies or consultancies.

Whomever they trust, marketing and sales leaders have to rely on metrics to determine the success of these campaigns. Lead conversion rate is one of the most useful metric when it comes to measuring marketing automation performance (57%), according to the report, followed by revenue generated (42%), and lead generation ROI (40%).

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