Marketing Automation's enormous rate of growth
Internationally the industry is growing at a massive rate and is currently the biggest current trend in the digital marketing space. As with most trends, in South Africa, we lag a few years behind the USA, but we should expect the use of marketing automation in South Africa to trend upwards sharply in the coming years.
The US Marketing Automation industry was at $3.3B in 2017, and is growing 30%+ annually. SharpSpring “Investor Presentation Jan 2018”
The most important objectives of marketing automation in South Africa
According to our own customers that we surveyed in late 2018 about marketing automation in South Africa, they say the most important objectives of a marketing automation strategy are:
- Acquiring more customers
- Improved targeting of messages
- Optimising productivity
- Increasing marketing ROI
- Improving campaign management
- Improving database quality
- Measuring performance
- Aligning Marketing and Sales
The benefits of Marketing Automation
Getresponse noted the following trends in a 2018 survey of marketing automation users when it comes to the benefits of marketing automation. Business owners, executives and marketers identified the biggest marketing automation benefits as saving time (30%) then lead generation (22%), followed by increased in revenue (17%), customer retention (11%), accurate and measurable tracking and monitoring of marketing campaigns (8%), and a shortening the sales cycle (2%)
Marketing Automation Adoption
European firm CleverTouch released a report on the state of the marketing automation industry globally, surveying 200 Head Marketers and CMOs in the Europe, the USA, UK, Middle East, and Africa. The survey researched adoption rates, difficulties and in-house training for marketing automation software.
The survey revealed there is a gap in the perceived benefits of marketing automation and the realities of adoption. It recognised the most used features of marketing automation as lead generation, lead nurturing campaigns, and account-based marketing.
Marketing Automation skills in South Africa
Considering the CleverTouch report, although globally focused, we can confirm similar sentiments in the marketing automation space in South Africa.
33% of individuals surveyed looked to outside talent and consulting agencies to use their marketing automation solutions, compared to a tiny 13% of those that trained their in-house people to manage them. This may be indicative of the fact that automation, although often perceived as easy to manage, is particularly difficult to leverage at scale, and where experience makes the route to success with marketing automation easier and faster.
As a marketing automation consultancy, we are tasked to skill up and educate corporate marketing teams on marketing automation and rarely find staff that are skilled in marketing automation already in place. If we do find staff in place, our first few months of engagement are often dominated by fixing databased and integration errors, as well as staff training.
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