Last month, David Raab, an expert in the marketing automation field, estimated that the industry will grow roughly 50% in the upcoming year alone. That’s exciting news for providers like us, but it also creates a significant challenge for potential buyers, many who are first-time buyers of large marketing systems.
Where can you turn for accurate information on what to buy and what questions to ask? How do you know if a solution is right for you? Who do you need to involve in the decision and why? The questions goes on and on, but fundamentally, the proliferation of players, products, and pricing options available makes choosing a marketing automation vendor a significant challenge.
There's no shortage of advice online from people who consider themselves marketing automation gurus, but the most valuable input will come from customers because they've gone the process themselves. More so than anyone else, they know what the buying process is like from experience, what they wish they had asked, and how long it actually takes from point of purchase to sending your first email, scheduling your first tweet, or launching your first landing page.
Gratitude for our customers wasn’t the only takeaway from the survey. Below we’ve outlined a few of the other findings from the VentureBeat study:
1) The daily life of marketers has fundamentally changed.
In his first post announcing the survey, VentureBeat’s John Koetsier noted:
"Once upon a time, you could launch a product or a service with a newspaper, radio, or TV ad; deliver orders to middlemen; or provide services yourself and watch the dollars roll in. That fantasy world is long gone, and in its place is a complex and quickly moving reality in which you need to source demand, manage leads, nurture prospects and make them customers, sell, deliver — and keep doing it over and over while maintaining and enhancing relationships."
The VentureBeat study confirms what we have long advocated with inbound marketing: the traditional marketing playbook is broken because consumers have more and more tools to block out interruptive and annoying ads. Marketers need to update their approach (and their toolbox) to reflect the way modern consumers live, work, shop, and buy. Marketing automation, when done correctly, is part of an integrated system to optimize the customer experience, and can help marketers save time, money, and energy while improving how your prospects and leads move through your funnel.
2) In spite of massive growth, we are still in the early innings.
Both the VentureBeat study and a recent study by Mintigo reference roughly 3% market penetration with B2B companies in the marketing automation space. In spite of massive industry growth, the vast majority of B2B companies have not adopted marketing automation yet, which is pretty staggering to imagine. However, among those 3% of companies using marketing automation solutions, roughly 50% use more than one tool, a finding that could be indicative of early adoption by multiple divisions inside larger companies, a lack of coordination between various business units of an enterprise organization, or a mismatch between the business need a solution was supposed to solve for and the problems a company actually needed to address, forcing them to purchase from multiple vendors.
Regardless of how you interpret the root cause behind the data, one thing is clear: there will be a lot of marketing technology decisions to make in the coming years if you’re a marketer, and the feedback and experiences of the companies in the 3% will help inform the decisions of the 97% to come.
Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot’s co-founder and CTO, is fond of saying that “at the end of the day, people don’t remember the pitch; they remember the experience.” Many of our 10,000 customers globally shared their memories of HubSpot in the survey, and we are proud and humbled to say that they recommended us above all of our competitors in the space as the solution of choice for marketing automation. We consider this the highest possible badge of honor: a seal of approval from the customers and partners who use HubSpot every day to transform their marketing efforts.
The VentureBeat series demonstrates how many players there are in the marketing technology space. We know that our community and our customers have many choices when it comes to both where they turn for content and who they choose as a partner for their marketing efforts. Given that, there’s only one thing left to say: Thank you.
Originally published Feb 26, 2014 12:07:00 PM, updated July 28 2017