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Digital and email marketing firm GetResponse and research firm Demand Metric have published the results of their "2019 Funnel Friction Benchmark Study", which examined the current state of the 'marketing funnel'. This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

The survey results reveal how much friction is in today's marketing funnel, where it most commonly appears, and the degree to which marketing automation reduces or eliminates this friction.

The study was based on an analysis of 284 survey respondents, the majority of whom are professional marketers at B2B and B2C companies and agencies. The survey identified and measured the marketing tactics that are most and least effective for moving prospects through the funnel. These tactics include content marketing, email marketing, events, paid, earned and owned media, search, social media, and video marketing.

"Today's marketers are smart, digitally savvy and have an unlimited number of ideas and tools to execute campaigns. Yet they often struggle with moving opportunities through the funnel. By taking a closer look at the issues causing the most friction in the funnel, and enabling marketers to significantly reduce them, companies can realize stronger ROI and customer retention," said Courtenay Worcester, director of marketing, GetResponse.

Key findings from the study included that:

  • Fewer than 30% of marketers have a precise understanding of the ROI on their marketing funnel.
  • The top of the marketing funnel was rated as the best performing and the middle section was found to be the least performing.
  • When marketing tactics are automated, performance almost doubles with the biggest performance gains coming in the middle of the funnel.
  • However, less than 20% of marketers reported full automation for any part of their marketing funnel.
  • Integrating marketing tactics within the funnel has a powerful impact on campaign performance. The top and middle sections of the funnel saw a 3-times improvement and the bottom of the funnel saw a 2-times improvement.
  • With the exception of two channels, email and referral marketing, the use of marketing tactics decreases as the customer moves from the top to the bottom of the funnel. Email marketing saw the most consistent and heaviest use throughout the funnel followed by referral marketing, which includes customer testimonials and case studies, peer review sites and word-of-mouth.

"Marketers have long known that the middle section of the funnel presents the most challenges. What they didn't always know was how to reduce that friction and convert more leads. The study shows the power of automation in digital marketing and its ability to drive at least a 3X improvement in the murky middle of the funnel," said John Follett, co-founder, Demand Metric.