Marketing Automation Grows at Autobahn Speeds

Marketing automation is soon to be come a marketing must, according to a new study released by Gartner. "Predicts 2007: A Return to Growth Fuels Marketing Technology Spending" found marketing automation to be currently seeing a 16 percent annual growth rate, which is expected to remain in place through 2011. By 2010, the report predicts that over half of marketing staff in companies worldwide would be using enterprise software, as opposed to less than one fifth of staff today. New pressures, such as accountability and the prominence of the online consumer, will force companies to increase adoption of marketing automation tools, which will ultimately serve to give marketing a higher level power in an organization, the study says. Adam Sarner, principal research analyst at Gartner and coauthor of the report, says that disparate roles and functions is one of the greatest challenges for marketing today. "There is a very loose, disconnected manual connection [in marketing] with all of these different things going on," he says. "Things like relationship marketing are in a different world from online marketing, which is in a different world from advertising. Most companies have no idea how to make this connection." According to Sarner says that one of the most important advantages of an automated, integrated system is that the solution can bring these pieces together to make the marketing department much more effective. The report argues that companies that choose to invest in marketing automation will enjoy better revenue growth while cutting costs, as well as have a clear competitive advantage. The study also states, more specifically, that through 2010 companies that use lead management-automation tools to connect sales and marketing will see an increase in conversion rates by 50 percent. Additionally, the report projects that through 2009, MRM implementation will cut creative production cycle times by 30 percent, thereby cutting costly time investments and allowing greater speed to market. Although investment in marketing automation is increasing, the study finds that companies often overlook Web-based marketing automation support, a channel that is becoming increasingly lucrative. Gartner states that through 2008, more than 80 percent of marketers will fail to capitalize on the growth of Web-based consumer connection for customers age 25 and under. This is a crucial piece to implement, according to the study. If a company does not integrate its Web-based marketing in to its mix, it risks losing a large chunk of its customer base. Sarner says that if companies continue to implement marketing automation at this rate, the marketing department will soon gain a greater stake in the company workings as a whole. By integrating departments and becoming more customer-focused, marketing will soon become the centerpiece of company direction. "I think they will have top power. Every point of an organization will look to the marketing department for key insights and long-term planning." Related articles: The 2006 Market Leaders, Part 1
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