How to Gain a Competitive Advantage


Research Based Marketing

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What gives you a competitive advantage in marketing? 

Is it data? Knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work? How about providing a better customer experience? Or having an efficient process so you have the time to try new tactics, test offers, and optimize programs? 

The State of MarTech report, by the research firm Ascend2, surveyed 187 marketing professionals, and the data provided insight on how you can gain a competitive advantage.

Here are 4 steps to take to gain a competitive advantage:

  • Fix your data problem. Insufficient data and utilization are holding marketers back from having a competitive advantage. Marketing teams are having trouble utilizing distinct types of data collected to deliver that 1:1 experience that a customer craves.

    59% of marketers feel that they DO NOT have the data they need to feel confident about which marketing campaigns are working and which are not. A major part of the problem is not the lack of data but having all the data together and accessible, so you can create better customer experiences. Providing a 1-1 customer experience requires your CRM, marketing automation, email, sales engagement, social media, and ads data to all work together. 
  • Fix your attribution problem. Over one-quarter (26%) of marketers are having difficulty attributing campaign results to marketing efforts. Without a clear understanding of what is working and what isn’t working, you cannot manage your budget and programs.

    Demonstrating the value of your marketing spend is critical, and it starts with understanding your end-to-end conversion cost and revenue. Attribution can transform a good marketing strategy into a game-changer for your business by letting you know which campaigns drive conversions, so you can invest in the efforts that work best. 
  • Fix your time and people problems. What is keeping you from success and that competitive advantage you desire? Nearly half (47%) of marketers are plagued by a lack of time and 39% say they need more people to perform the work.
Lack of time
Lack of people to perform work

There are only 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and you can’t generate more time, so you must be more efficient with the time and people you have available. 

If your path to a competitive advantage is blocked by lack of time and people, you’re not alone. What is the solution? Marketing automation helps combat your time and people issues and clears the way for revenue growth.

Automation helps you get more done with less. Use automation to:

  1. Create specific touchpoints based on each lead’s profile and behavior.
  2. Perform tasks like lead capture, targeted email sends, lead scoring, and more.
  3. Track leads after the click to send the right message at the right time.
  4. Send your sales team into action with real-time notifications when leads engage.
  5. Create dynamic lists that automatically update as contacts meet the list’s criteria.
  6. Target campaigns for each buyer persona.
  7. And many more time-saving tactics.
  • Get Personal. Fixing your data, attribution, and time problems is the foundational work for building a better, more personalized customer experience. 95% of marketers agree that campaign performance is significantly improved when personalization is used. What are the greatest benefits (and competitive advantages) of a successful personalization strategy?


Marketers know that personalization provides a competitive advantage in a variety of areas. To start conversations that lead to conversions, you need to create a 1-1 customer experience that includes personalized messages and uses automated campaigns that respond to user behavior. Sending the right message at the right time gives your sales a competitive advantage and as result, increases conversion rates, close rates, and revenue.

Not only does automation save you time but it also increases revenue by making sure that no lead is overlooked, real-time action is used to increase conversion rates, and personalization is used to increase engagement rates. 

Learn more about how you can gain a competitive advantage and drive more revenue at your company. 

More Information About the Research

For this report, Ascend2 surveyed 187 marketing professionals in the U.S., using multiple third-party survey panels, and the survey was fielded in July 2021. The research was commissioned by SharpSpring to provide marketing professionals with data-driven guidance on how to take back control of their marketing tools and data to pave the way to better results. Download the report, clip the charts for client presentations, and adapt it to support your marketing efforts.Learn more, download the 18-page research report, The State of MarTech. Coverage and analysis of this research are also available by MarketingProfs, MediaPost, and Convince & Convert.

About Ascend2


Research Based Marketing

Ascend2 is an independent research agency that has conducted hundreds of research studies on marketing and sales topics. Topics include email marketing, ABM, demand generation, data-driven marketing, content marketing, social media, SEO, marketing technology, customer experience, intent data, performance marketing, and more. Companies that have commissioned Ascend2 to perform independent research studies include Oracle, Adobe, Dun & Bradstreet, HubSpot, RollWorks, Vidyard, Uberflip, Informatica, Stirista, Act-On, Marketo, Acronym, and more.

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