Marketing Automation has been leveraged by large corporations ever since its existence. Early solutions were (and most still are) robust, feature rich, and consequently complex and expensive.
This has made it hard for smaller companies to get started with marketing automation. Even if a small business can afford marketing automation software, they have a hard time implementing it and getting true value out of it.
This phenomenon bothered me because small businesses with limited resources can really move the needle by using marketing automation.
Leveraging automation can massively increase productivity and consequently revenue. Unfortunately, most current solutions are not really tailored for small business.
So, as a marketer at an email marketing automation SaaS company, I felt like it was my duty to find out the things small business marketers have a hard time doing.
I did just that by surveying more than 130 professionals working in marketing. My insights are being shared with the world in a roundup article and epic 55-page report backed by data.
This article highlights the key findings and data of the report. Plus, I’ve hand-picked the best marketing automation advice provided by experts during my research. Let’s get to it.
Marketing Automation Research Overview
In my research, 90% of the respondents are from companies with 50 employees or less. This means that small and micro businesses are significantly over-represented.
Let’s break this down a bit:
- More than half of the respondents (57%) work at companies with 2-10 employees.
- A fifth (20%) of the answers came from companies with 11-50 employees.
- 17 submissions (13%) came from solopreneurs.
- The most submissions (38%) came from professionals working in Growth positions like Marketing and Sales.
- 31% of the respondents in our survey are business owners.
- A quarter of the participants (25%) are CEOs.
These three groups make up 94% of the submissions.
Marketing was the industry of 47% of the respondents. This was intentional as we collected the data so that about half of the respondents would be from the marketing industry.
The Software Development industry came in second in the survey, with 25% of the submissions coming from this industry.
All this juicy data is great, but you came here to read about marketing automation challenges, didn’t you? So let’s get to it!
Main Marketing Automation Challenges
In our survey, 85% of respondents use some kind of marketing automation.
The most common challenge people face with marketing automation is creating quality automations, with 16% of respondent mentioning it.
Based on our data, integrations (14%) are another critical challenge users face with marketing automation technology.
Marketing automation requires lots of content. No wonder then, that creating content came in third place, with 10%.
Engagement (8%) is another major challenge and is closely related to content. Automation requires top-notch quality content to drive engagement.
Segmentation, data management, and optimization are mentioned by 6% of the participants as a marketing automation challenge.
Finding tools (5%), personalization (5%), lead scoring (5%), analytics (4%), reporting (3%), and deliverability (1%) were all mentioned as a challenge by some of the surveyed professionals.
Coming up, we’re going to take a look at how these challenges differ between two industries: Marketing & Advertising and Software Development companies.
The Marketing Automation Challenges of Marketing & Advertising Companies
The main challenge of the marketing & advertising industry is integrations (25%), with a quarter of the participants mentioning it.
Even with all the integrations provided by marketing automation vendors and solutions like Zapier, it’s still challenging to set up integrations between different platforms and tools.
Creating automations (21%) came in second place which, depending on the platform, can be a real challenge for lots of marketers.
Engagement and creating content (15%) are tied as the third most significant challenge companies in the marketing & advertising industry face with marketing automation.
Personalization and optimization (9%) are also neck and neck for the fourth place in the marketing & advertising industry challenges.
Finding tools (8%) is mentioned significantly less by companies in the marketing & advertising.
Segmentation and data management (8%) are similar in this regard. Both of them are mentioned by 8% of marketing & advertising industry professionals.
Analytics and lead scoring (6%) seems to be a challenge for some companies in this industry.
Reporting (4%) and deliverability (2%) were mentioned by only a handful of companies in the industry as a challenge.
The Marketing Automation Challenges of Software Development Companies
For Software Development companies, the most significant challenge, by far, is creating automations, with 27% of respondents mentioning it.
Generally, these companies require more sophisticated automation for client acquisition, user onboarding, and retention.
Creating content (18%) came in second place, which is considerably higher than in the other industry mentioned before.
The reason behind this may be is that smaller companies in this field first focus on hiring developers rather than marketers or copywriters. This causes some resource issues for the marketing department.
Integrations and complexity are both major challenges that companies in the software development industry face, with 15% of respondents mentioning them.
Engagement, data management, segmentation, and optimization were all mentioned by 9% of respondents working at software development companies.
Lead scoring (6%) and analytics (3%) were only mentioned by just a few companies of the industry.
So these are the marketing automation challenges of marketing & software development companies.
Some of the respondents in the survey were kind enough to provide some advice for people starting out in the world of marketing automation. Let’s hear them!
Marketing Automation Advice from Experts and Professionals
Chris Von Wilpert is the most wanted copywriter in Texas (20+ client waiting list including HubSpot, Shopify). Plus, he is the Copy Chief of Sumo and Chief Kontent King at Rocketship Agency also known as “Rabbi Eats Tacos”. Here is where he had to say:
Wrapping it up
Let’s recap the main challenges of both industries. When it comes to marketing automation professionals in the marketing and advertising industry have a hard time with:
- Set up automation
- Creating content
On the other hand, people working with marketing automation in software development companies find it hard to:
- Set up automation
- Create content
- Set up integrations
- Handle the complexity of the software they use
If some of these challenges ring true to you, feel free to reach out to me and I’m sure we’ll find a way to ease your pain. Until then, stay awesome!