New marketing automation research: 2023

Data & Reporting | Uncategorized

Business-to-business (B2B) marketers are tasked with creating effective customer journeys that identify, engage, and inform prospects to build pipeline for sales and ultimately generate revenue for their business. Marketing automation can make this process significantly more efficient when utilized effectively.

But how are B2B marketers taking advantage of automation tools today to improve their bottom line?

To help you answer this question, Ascend2 and Insightly fielded The 2023 State of Marketing Automation Survey in February, 2023. A full report, titled The 2023 State of Marketing Automation from the B2B Perspective, represents the opinions of the 198 marketing professionals responding to the survey who operate exclusively in the business-to-business (B2B) space.

Gauging Success with Marketing Automation

Is the automation that B2B marketers are using helping them to achieve strategic goals? An overwhelming majority (94%) say yes, to some extent. But only 29% report that their marketing automation is very successful, or best-in-class, compared to the competition, suggesting that there is room for improvement in the automation tools marketers are using and also in the ways that it is used.

Graph of success in meeting marketing automation objectives.


Primary Goals for Marketing Automation

How are B2B marketers trying to improve their use of automation in the coming year? According to half (50%) of those surveyed, optimization of their overall automation strategy will be a primary goal in the year ahead. Improving data quality and identifying ideal customers and prospects will also be top objectives for improving automation in the year ahead, according to 42% and 37% of those surveyed, respectively.

Graph of goals for marketing automation.

Extent of Automation

While very few (13%) B2B marketers report having no automation throughout their overall customer journey, nearly half (48%) of those surveyed say they have some, or partial automation throughout their customer journeys. 39% of B2B marketers have customer journeys that are mostly or fully automated according to our research.

Graph of extend of automation using marketing automation.

Current Use of Marketing Automation (2023 vs 2022)

There have been significant changes in how B2B marketers are using automation in the last year. The use of automation has increased significantly since last year in areas that include email marketing (53% to 62%), content management (30% to 40%), paid ads (23% to 39%) and lead scoring (13% to 20%). The only area that saw a decrease in the use of automation in the last year is SEO efforts which 19% of B2B marketers are still currently executing automation in. (View The State of Marketing Automation 2022 Survey Summary Report.)

Graph of areas of use of Marketing Automation

Planned Use of Marketing Automation

Where among their efforts are B2B marketers planning to implement the use of marketing automation in the coming year? 31% of B2B marketing professionals surveyed are planning to add automation to their social media management and email marketing initiatives in the year ahead. Other areas that top this list are paid ads (28%), landing pages (26%), and SMS marketing (26%).

Graph of use of Marketing Automation in 2023

Building Effective Customer Journeys with Marketing Automation

Marketing automation platforms should facilitate the development of engaging customer journeys, but only about one-quarter (27%) of B2B marketers surveyed strongly agree that their automation tool does this. Just over half (53%) of those surveyed somewhat agree leaving one-in-five (20%) B2B marketers who have marketing automation platforms that do not make it easy to build effective customer journeys.

Graph of use of customer journeys inmarketing automation.

2023 Budget Trends for Marketing Automation

Overall, budgets for marketing automation are trending upward according to 70% of B2B marketing professionals surveyed. Another 21% say that their marketing automation budget for the coming year will be staying the same leaving just one out of every ten (9%) B2B marketers reporting a decline in their budgets dedicated to automation in the year ahead.

Graph of budget trends for marketing automation.

Get started with Marketing Automation

Ready to put marketing automation to work in your business? The data above tells us that you don’t have to be perfect or fully automated to drive leads with marketing automation – you just need to get started.

If you’d like to see a marketing automation platform in action, watch this recorded demo of Insightly Marketing. You’ll see several of the top 10 marketing automation tools in action. If you’d like a more personalized walkthrough of the platform, sign up for a one-on-one demo with a member of the Insightly team. You can also see Insightly CRM, Insightly Service (a customer service ticketing platform) and AppConnect (an integration tool) on your demo. When you put all of the Insightly products to work for your business, you’ll align your teams and create lasting customer relationships. 

About the Survey

Survey Respondent Demographics

Company Size

  • More than 500 33%
  • 50 to 500 41%
  • Fewer than 50 26%

Primary Role in Company

  • Owner / Partner/C-Level 33%
  • Vice President / Director Manager 51%
  • Non-Management Professional 16%


Ascend2 benchmarks the performance of marketing strategies, tactics and the technology that drives them with a standardized online questionnaire and a proprietary 3-Minute Survey format. This survey was fielded to a panel of marketing professionals and marketing research subscribers.

Research partner: Ascend2

Companies partner with Ascend2 to create original research, from survey conceptualization through report and content creation to media outreach. Ascend2 helps companies fuel marketing content, generate leads, and engage prospects to drive demand through the middle of the funnel. Learn more about Ascend2.