The Marketing Strategist:

ITSMA Featured Research: Services Companies Invest in Marketing Automation

February 19, 2013

Marketing budgets are headed up—but not for everyone. IT services companies in particular are more likely to increase investment in marketing over the coming year, according to the ITSMA Budget and Trends Survey, 2013. They’re also planning to invest in different things. Among all IT marketers, 45% expect a jump in their budgets. But the average conceals a schism: 67% of services-only firms expect an increase, compared to just 24% of product-and-services companies. Services marketers are getting more funds to spend because their investments in thought leadership, lead nurturing, and Account Based Marketing—so crucial in the sale of large, complex solutions—are starting to accelerate growth. Services firms expect their services revenue to grow 17% worldwide this year, while product-and-services firms expect services revenue to increase by only 7%. How will those extra dollars be spent? The items that differentiate services firms from their product-and-services counterparts have a common theme: advancing the cause of customer intimacy:
  • Industry expertise is the basis for understanding the customer’s constraints and opportunities. Services firms are more likely than products-and-services companies to say that industry knowledge is essential for marketing’s future success (38% versus 14%).
  • Account Based Marketing (ABM) is about broadening and deepening customer relationships. Services companies are also more likely to cite ABM as an essential area (43% versus 10%).
  • The biggest contrast between the two groups, however, lies in their views on the importance of marketing automation (62% versus 19%). Marketing automation, which includes lead management, puts rules and a structure around the high-touch process of building intimacy with the customer right up through the moment of truth: the consummation of the sale.
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