2012 to be the Year of Marketing Automation

According to a recent survey conducted by Forrester, 2012 could be a very big year for marketing automation.

The report, B2B Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2012, forecasts that as the marketing industry continues to focus on big data and advanced analytics, there will be an increase in the adoption of services that can generate and fully utilize data, like marketing automation.

Forrester reports that 20% of manufacturers, 20% of financial services and 18% of business and professional service companies plan to begin using marketing automation technologies this year.

What are the factors driving marketing automation to this tipping point? Let’s take a look:

Decline of Outbound Strategies
Much has been written lately about the end of “push” marketing strategies. The modern consumer does not want to have marketing messages forced on them. Customers need to develop a relationship with your company and be pulled into a sales-ready state. Drip marketing and other behavioral targeting strategies provided by automation solutions focus more on leading a prospect through the buying process.

Marketing Impact on Revenue Growth
A lack of transparency when it comes to ROI and revenue generation has plagued marketing departments for years. However, advanced reporting, dashboarding and analytics are changing that and allowing marketers to accurately show their contributions to the bottom line. As budgets get tighter, the ability to be more accountable for marketing investments will become crucial.

Ease of Use
Since marketing automation first arrived on the scene, the user interfaces of automation platforms have improved significantly. As the products become easier to use, they are being adopted by an audience with a wide range of technical skill. Drag and drop interfaces and intuitive design make automation solutions easy to learn and master.

Improved Lead Generation
In a down economy, lead generation is even more crucial to a company’s success. Marketing automation helps dramatically increase both the number of leads generated and the quality of those leads. This improvement in lead generation improves conversion rates, close rates, and ultimately revenue.

Are you planning to implement a marketing automation solution this year? Do you already have a marketing automation success story? We’d love to hear it!