The State of Marketing Automation in 2019

Dean McPherson
Jul 2 · 4 min read

A quick Google search for the word ‘automation’ quickly reveals the two contradictory sentiments that have dominated the narrative around it over the past decade.

As I write this, two separate Forbes articles are trending side by side on Google’s Top Stories; one a cautionary tale about the dangers of automation on employment, the other a research piece advocating for the quickest possible adoption of it. These contrasting rhetorics are the cornerstone of the media’s treatment of the term as something to be simultaneously revered and feared.

For those of us working in tech, running our own businesses or managing operations in any capacity, the adoption of automation has generally been more instinctive than deliberate. If you’re anything like me, your search for automation tools stemmed less from “I need to automate my entire business,” and more from “I don’t want to sit here and send personalized emails to 500 people based on their individual behaviours.”

And it hasn’t just seeped into our businesses in the form of email marketing. Chances are, everything from your accounting, tax, human resources to sales processes have likely been impacted by the adoption of an automation tool.

However, the impact has arguably been felt most significantly in marketing. Earlier this year, 64% of surveyed marketers found that marketing automation software contributed to increased sales, visitors, engagement and better overall insights for their company.

Another recent study found that only 4% of surveyed participants believed that their organisation was using marketing automation to its fullest capacity. More than half disagreed.

If anything, this research stands as a testament to the fact that automation is still an under-utilised growth channel for most companies.

Perhaps it’s time for our approach towards automation to shift from being an instinctive response based on the momentary needs of our business, to being something we proactively seek to improve, plan and measure — like a KPI. Practically speaking, when a business makes an investment with a positive ROI and improved productivity levels, the result is often more investment in the space.

If automation has been a catalyst for growth and efficiency for your organisation, imagine the impact it could have with a calculated strategy driving it. After all, at some point, we’ll all be using the same tools to drive the same functions in the same ways. What might help you stand out is how well you can navigate these tools and use them to their full potential. As it stands, more than 50% of marketers believe that the biggest challenge for the adoption of automation is a lack of people with the skilled experience necessary to make the most of it.

And perhaps this is why the suggestion that automation is here to take our jobs is outlandish at best. Because automation doesn’t mean less hands on deck; it simply means more intelligent skills on board to guide the decisions around it. Using a tool alone does not make automation smart- automation is nothing without the right people using it effectively.

Thankfully, there are some awesome humans on the internet who’ve truly figured out this automation business and created online courses and resources to help you use it to your advantage. Here are some popular options:

  • Hubspot Academy’s automation courses & certification (ideal for beginners).
  • ClickFunnels masterclass by Kevin David.
  • The entrepreneur’s guide to email marketing & Mailchimp by Sara Graham.
  • Social media marketing automation by Kenz & Fadwa Soliman.

Note that most of these are not free, though they can sometimes be found on sale at Udemy for around $10.

Bottomline is, if you’re not thinking deliberately about marketing automation, it might be time to start. It’s easier than ever to pick up the skills you need to make better use of these powerful tools — it’s just up to you to invest some time now to save more time later.


Our team at Paperform is currently working on creating the Ultimate Email Marketing Automation Playbook for those looking to get more purposeful use out of email automation tools, drive better results from marketing automation or to simply get started with a solid automation strategy.

If you’re interested in getting the eBook for free, you can sign up here to get priority access once it’s released.

Dean McPherson

Written by

Co-Founder of Paperform.co. Maker of things. Going grey and loving it.