What is holding back the B2B market from adopting MAPs?

A recent article in DemandGen report suggests that Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) vendors may suffer a dip in their revenues from a market valued at $325m in a recent analyst report in 2011 because the 50% growth this represents over 2010 has again been driven by the high-tech industry. As Raab states:”The market itself has to expand rapidly if those vendors are to grow quickly.”

What, we should ask, does this say about other B2B industries? Does this just reflect the willingness of the technology industry to quickly embrace new technology in general? Or have other B2B industries yet to be convinced of the merits of marketing technology? Maybe they are confused by the speed with which things have been moving – is automation about email and landing pages, SEO management, social networking, measurement or giving Marketing something to plug into Salesforce.com? Or all of the above? Raab’s report should help with dispelling some of the claims and identifying where some of the major platforms perform best.

I got my hands dirty with marketing automation, with a US software company as long as 5 years ago when they implemented Eloqua. That’s a long time for other industries to stand on the sidelines. One reason more risk-averse industries may not yet have implemented the type of change programme needed to implement marketing automation must be that they are unconvinced by the ROI data. If automation was an ‘open-and-shut-case’ then surely everyone would be doing it!

Have the vendors oversold the benefits of their solution and under-played the cost, training and process changes required to get results? It can be a little difficult to know, since often there is no benchmark data available with which to compare improvements. In my experience, buying a system is often the first step in Marketing beginning to study its navel, not the last. Maybe MAP implementation will follow the CRM model where stories of failures are legion.

I’d be interested in hearing your opinions and examples of successful adoption of marketing automation outside high-tech industries.