|Many companies are underutilizing marketing tools, leading to fewer leads and even fewer sales than they’d like, a new study released by CSO Insights has concluded.
Automation provides one good example, Jim Dickie, managing partner of CSO Insights, told industry site Direct Marketing News April 17.
“Marketing automation systems are basically tools, but you need a process to go along with those tools,” Dickie said. “A quarter of the companies we surveyed didn’t even have a definition of a qualified lead that was shared by both the sales and marketing departments.”
The study gathered more than 100 metrics from 585 companies around the globe.
It found that conversions from qualified leads have been down for five years in a row. Unsurprisingly, improving the effectiveness of lead generation topped the list of sales management priorities for the companies surveyed, at 47.9%. Improving the ability to demonstrate strategic benefits and values came in second, at 34.7%, and improving customer loyalty rounded out the top three at 32%.
This isn’t the only recent study suggesting there’s a disconnect between progress in marketing technology and actual sales success.
The B2B Technology Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America report, jointly released by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, found that although 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, only 34% believe it is effective.
That study, too, pointed out that methodical processes are key to making the most of new marketing opportunities afforded by technological advancements, finding that a much higher percentage of marketers — 59% — thought their efforts were effective if they had a documented (as opposed to purely verbal) strategy in place with a data analysis company.
Other experts have cautioned, however, that there is a danger in getting too caught up in high-tech marketing and success metrics. As Patrick Whelan wrote for American Printer April 16, knowing how to measure something and something having a measurable impact are two different things, especially when it comes to marketing efforts that can’t be tidily summed up in ratios but have clearly been effective over the years, such as general branding.
That’s a lesson that cuts across all types of marketing, digital or not — 76% of small businesses say they would ideally incorporate both digital and print communication into their strategies, Whelan says.