Automation software continues to gain traction among marketers in 2014.

Fast-growing Austin, Texas-based marketing automation software experts Software Advice recently analyzed close to 900 interactions with their software buyers to further examine a series of noticeable trends and topics.

Among those topics and trends are the primary reasons for evaluating new solutions, the most requested features and the most active buyer segments.

This data was collected in Software Advice’s CRM system, analyzed, then compiled in the 2014 Marketing Automation Software BuyerView report.

That report represents 896 interactions between Software Advice’s team of software analysts and marketing automation software buyers between January 1 and December 31, 2013. In these conversations, buyers were asked about their reasons for evaluating marketing automation software, their budget and deployment preferences, and what they viewed as the most critical features required in a system. Just 9 percent of the report’s sample currently use a marketing automation solution to manage marketing activities and campaigns.

Implications for Marketing Automation Vendors

The somewhat surprising prominence of small to midsize businesses (SMBs) in the sample suggests that marketing automation software vendors have an opportunity to grow their customer base with solutions tailored specifically toward SMBs. While marketing automation solutions have been more aggressively adopted by midsize companies and large enterprises, the report’s data shows that smaller organizations are also actively seeking out the many benefits that marketing automation offers.

The report also found that very few buyers – just 6 percent – were interested in social media marketing features, despite the fact that many vendors are now building social functionality into their solutions. Software Advice expects that buyers will continue to request lead management and reporting functionality first and foremost, as they wait for further evidence that nice-to-have-but-not-needed features such as social media marketing can benefit their marketing departments.

“Our data shows that companies that evaluate marketing automation are most interested in the core functionality of lead nurturing and scoring,” said Software Advice analyst Derek Singleton. “Because of this, vendors should continue to focus on expanding lead nurturing features that will allow marketers to dynamically personalize their marketing messages to address the needs of buyers and prospects, as well as lead scoring capabilities to help smooth the transition between marketing and sales.”

Some Software Advice…

First-time marketing automation buyers are faced with challenges such as understanding and learning how to use a marketing automation system to its fullest. Software Advice and Singleton have some sound advice for these new buyers.

“I’d recommend thoroughly researching exactly what you need from a marketing automation system before you buy,” advised Singleton. “Once you understand your needs, then start preparing for how you’ll use the system well in advance of making a purchase.”

Taking the time to do proper research and due diligence is also smart advice here.

“Many companies are just starting to evaluate a marketing automation system so they’re not alone in venturing into unknown territory,” said Singleton. “Take your time when considering a system, and make sure that it serves your core company needs. Then focus on getting that system to deliver the results you want.”

About Software Advice

Software Advice is a trusted resource for software buyers. The company’s website,, provides detailed reviews, comparisons and research to help organizations choose the right software. The company’s team of software analysts provides free telephone consultations to help each software buyer identify systems that best fit their needs. In the process, Software Advice connects software buyers and sellers, generating high-quality opportunities for software vendors. Since its founding in 2005, the company has assisted more than 150,000 software buyers. Software Advice is headquartered in Austin, Texas, where it employs a team of more than 100 (and growing). Software Advice has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.

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