Tech Takeaways: AI Usage Light, Email Heavy In Salesforce Study

On a morning when they announce that Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, how can your keep your mind on mere technology?

Actually, it’s not hard. What is Amazon, if not technology? With that in mind, let’s slide into the results of a Salesforce study on tech usage by marketers, as reported yesterday by ZDNet.

Of course, we start with the email findings. Of the 3,500 Salesforce clients surveyed, 75% use email marketing and 14% plan to over the next year. In usage, email ranks only behind Web sites (83% have one, 13% plan to) and social media (77% use it, and 15% expect to). Email is tied in current usage with advertising on social platforms. 

“Email still matters as marketing channels proliferate,” ZDNet states. It then quotes Katie Bisbee, chief marketing officer of, as saying that data marketplaces and email management will merge. Another marketer observes that “while email has proven its return on investment, 34% are investing in channels they didn’t know about five years ago, ZDNet continues.



ZDNet’s conclusion? That email must be combined with other marketing channels, including social media, mobile, organic and paid search, digital advertising, content marketing and Web sites. As it says, “‘Email Plus’ equals awareness, engagement and acquisition.

With that in mind, let’s turn to artificial intelligence. Of the marketers polled, 51% use AI and 27% plan to over the next 12 months. What’s more, 54% of those who deploy it say it is increasing their overall marketing efficiency.

But it is not being fully applied in all quarters. Bisbee notes that her group’s usage of AI is “light to medium.”

However, “AI will be needed to manage media fragmentation and channel sprawl,” ZDNet comments.

And it adds that “the key marketing vendors -- Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, and others -- would like the customer to standardize on one data marketplace and a stack.”

What are the other tools in play? Here they are, ranked by us by current usage. Please note which one is on the bottom:

  • Data management platform (DMP) — 70%/19% 
  • Customer identity and access management (CIAM) — 68%/20%
  •  Mobile campaign management — 68%/20%
  •  Guided selling — 68%/20%
  •  Marketing automation platform — 67%/21%
  •  Social listening tools — 67%/20
  •  Internet of things (ioT) — 66% use it/ 23% plan to
  •  Loyalty program platform — 66%/20%
  •  Lead nurturing and scoring tools — 66%/20%
  •  Artificial intelligence (AI) — 51%/27%

Say this for the respondents: They’re not afraid to invest in technology. And it will pay off for them.   

Meanwhile, we’re hoping that Amazon brings the full force of its vision and technology to the sometimes aggravating but useful Whole Foods.



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