Although marketing automation has been a hot topic for some years, it appears that industry professionals do not yet feel that they have come to terms with the technology involved.

VentureBeat and RazorSocial recently found that only 48 per cent of companies that have implemented marketing automation would do so again, despite the fact that many of them have recorded a positive return on investment.

The benefits of CRM and automation are clear when they are implemented properly, but the sector remains somewhat cautious, reports Marketing Week.

Research firm SiriusDecisions’ 2014 report on automation suggested that it will only become more important in the future, noting that 80 per cent of the highest-performing firms it surveyed used the technology.

"By 2020, the marketer who doesn’t understand how marketing automation should be used to drive demand creation will be an endangered species," the study explained.

One firm that has embraced the possibilities of engagement is the Caravan Club, which feels it can drive up engagement levels among members and ensure they provide a good service across the board.

Head of member marketing Tony Lewis suggested that automation is a good way of keeping new sign-ups aware of the products and services the caravanning organisation offers.

"With new customers we must find ways to drive value without throwing the kitchen sink at them marketing-wise. We need to introduce them to services and benefits in a consultative way, when they need to hear about something and not before." he explained.

In practical terms, the Caravan Club's automated system ensures that new members receive a series of informative messages, pamphlets and emails to keep them up-to-date with the offers they can receive.

Mr Lewis pointed out that non-directed email can be as ineffective as old-fashioned junk mail, meaning that CRM is useful when it comes to targeting communications.

"Automation helps us to send time-appropriate messages and offers to the right people at the right time," he concluded.

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