Facilitators and impediments in the adoption and implementation of the HubSpot marketing automation system
Marketing automation is growing popularity among companies but it has not yet received great academic interest. Therefore, neither marketing automation systems have been studied thoroughly. Other preceding systems in marketing and sales, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA) have however been explored comprehensively. The goal of this research is to increase the understanding of successful adoption and implementation of a marketing automation system. This attempt is attained by identifying what kinds of impediments and facilitators can occur in the adoption and implementation process of a marketing automation system. Furthermore, the perceived benefits of the implementation are recognised and differences between marketing automation system and other ICT systems are deliberated. This study is conducted as a case study, and action research was chosen as a relevant research strategy. The researcher was working in the case organisation which is a Finnish start-up in B2B software business. The company acquired a marketing automation software, HubSpot in March 2016. The main theoretical background consists of ICT adoption and implementation, and the concepts of marketing automation and content marketing. Research findings are constructed based on the framework of Honeycutt et al. (2005) who have identified impediments to the implementation of SFA. Thus, the same framework is adapted to marketing automation, and the impediments and facilitators found in this research are categorised in three phases: planning, communication and evaluation. All in all, this study extends the existing research on ICT implementation and marketing automation. Several similarities in the implementation of a marketing automation system and other ICT systems, such as a prerequisite for training, management support and adaptable organisation culture, are identified. There are also differences with the factors affecting the implementation, of which the lack of content is the most significant one. Therefore, this study reinforces previous research findings of the strong relationship between marketing automation and content marketing. The successfulness of the implementation process is also found to be more dependent on the organisational capabilities and overall performance of the sales and marketing activities than individual product features. ...
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