SYDNEY: Marketers in Australia are stepping up their investment in marketing automation software despite half of them struggling to fully understand what it actually entails, according to a new survey.

Technology consultancy Squiz polled 654 marketing and IT professionals around the world, including 453 from Australia and New Zealand, and found that they were investing 70% more on marketing automation software this year than last, B&T Magazine reported.

But 52% of marketers confessed they didn't feel that they properly understand marketing automation.

That hasn't stopped them from jumping on the digital bandwagon, however, and John-Paul Syriatowicz, Group CEO of Squiz, suggested this echoed a wider business trend, where digital transformation is regarded as a necessity in today's economy.

"Every business has the opportunity to be truly disruptive or transformative by fundamentally changing a process, resource, or way of communicating to be digital," he said.

"Customer experience will be at the core of business digital transformation," Syriatowicz added, but there is frequently a gap between the current reality and the CX marketers would like to deliver.

"Through the process of getting into the mind of your consumer, you'll uncover the real opportunities to compete for customer loyalty and advocacy," he stated.

The CX gap is reflected in the state of integration of marketing technology platforms: just 3% of marketers regarded their system as "totally integrated", while 80% thought they were less than 50% integrated.

Achieving that integration and improving the customer experience were two of the most important goals for marketers. At 28% and 26% respectively, these were far ahead of more traditional marketing priorities like demonstrating ROI (8%).

Syriatowicz also noted a convergence of interests between the two sets of survey respondents as the end goal for both becomes focused on customer experience. "Siloed approaches will no longer get you to this end point," he said.

Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff