The main barrier to marketing automation implementation has shifted over the past couple of years from lack of awareness to lack of budget, reports Autopilot in a recent study [download page], suggesting that as lower-cost options become available, marketing automation adoption will continue to increase. The report indicates that high-performing marketers regularly send automated emails to their contacts, more so than other marketers.

For example, high performers are about 50% more likely than the other marketers surveyed to send automated emails to their customers at least once a week (64% and 43%, respectively). Frequent communications are perceived to have an impact on customer satisfaction, as 82% of those communicating at least weekly say their customers are “very” or “extremely” satisfied, versus 72% of those who communicate with their customers less frequently.

High-performing marketers comprised 24% of the 505 marketers surveyed, and were defined as those having attained at least 80% of their lead or performance goals. For this group, marketing automation has its biggest impact on lead generation (32%), followed by turning one time buyers into repeat buyers (23%) and acquiring and onboarding new customers (15%).

Turning to specific journeys, respondents to the survey of US marketing decision-makers indicated that they are finding the most success generating leads from acquired lists. That’s interesting given direct media benchmarks showing that it’s much more difficult to market to prospect than house lists. It may be, though, that usage plays a part in the responses, as participants were asked to choose the most valuable campaigns from those they are running.

Nonetheless, close behind, marketers are also finding it effective to automate sales outreach emails and nurture warm leads to be sales ready, per the Autopilot report. Onboarding new buyers is also among the most effective automation journeys, with this particularly influential for B2C marketers.

Beyond email, the survey demonstrates that direct mail is (fairly surprisingly) a popular channel for automated messaging, second only to social media. High performers, meanwhile, tend to use contextual channels such as in-app messages and mobile messaging more than other marketers, who lean more on SMS and ad retargeting. ...

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