Manufacturing Lags in Marketing Automation Adoption

factory 9One would think that lead management in the B2B business world was ubiquitous.  As a Modern Marketer, I think that everyone certainly must be using a marketing automation system, a CRM system, automatic lead hand-off, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and monitoring the conversion points of a traditional funnel; suspect – MQL – SAL – SQL – Closed or Won – nurture – cultivate.  I’m thinking, how could anyone miss this with all the buzz over the past 5 years.

But, it is not so.  According to a May 2014 article in Ad Age, approximately 16% of B-to-B companies are using marketing automation. Citing the same article, Ad Age shows data accumulated by Sirius decisions breaking down adoption rate further by industry:

  • IT – 65%
  • Business Services – 35%
  • Manufacturing – 8%
  • Financial Services – 3%
  • Healthcare – 2%

According to Marketing Sherpa,  of those 16%, only about 30% are using the high ROI lead management tactics of lead scoring, lead nurturing or basic lead funnel management.  Even more astounding is that the Marketing Sherpa survey shows that companies using lead scoring see a 77% improvement in lead generation ROI and a 79% improvement for those using lead nurturing.  So the obvious question is, “why aren’t more B2B firms capitalizing on this powerful technology?”

I am a proficient user of Marketo, Eloqua and Act-on and have been using high engagement high ROI lead management tactics for 5 years now with demonstrated strong revenue growth results due in large part to these and other automation strategy and tactics.  I’ve spent hundreds of hours learning the platforms and it has not been easy to learn how to fully leverage this marketing automation platform.  Most marketing departments are under resourced, over-worked and under-appreciated with little time to spend learning how to use a new technology.  Unfortunately, having the time to learn how to use a marketing automation technology is a luxury in most manufacturing marketing organizations.  I suspect this is the reason for the low adoption rate of such a powerful tool.

On the flip side, for those organizations with a marketing leader and willing, capable team members able to learn this technology, you can take a huge advantage over your competitors who are not able or willing to use the technology.  I’ll say it again.  Manufacturing companies can have a huge advantage in their space by adopting a modern marketing team, strategy and tactics leveraging marketing automation and knowledge marketing.

For you CEOs and CFOs out there who view your marketing department as an expense, it’s time to break out of this mid 20th century, industrial revolution paradigm.  A properly established marketing department is your revenue engine!  At the risk of sounding pompous, using the lead management tools of a marketing automation system, I could take any manufacturing firm in the 92% who are not using automation or any of the 70% not fully leveraging automation and add an additional 10% to their top line within 12 months (assuming support from the C-suite).  I’ve done it and I know it works.  If you’re one of the laggards not using or not fully leveraging marketing automation tools, time to get busy!  Take the reins and make it happen.  There’s plenty of research available to help you to make the business case to your executive management team.

My recommendation is to invest in your marketing team, build a revenue engine, give them the time and money to gain the education and purchase the tools of marketing automation.  Don’t be one of the laggards not using this powerful tool.  I’m quite passionate about fully leveraging marketing automation and making marketing the revenue engine.

Need help choosing a marketing automation platform, establishing a strategy and training a team?  Contact KMI, we specialize in manufacturing businesses and we can help you get your growth on!


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