Less than half of all marketers are living up to consumer expectations in terms of the experiences they provide.
Yet they are trying, and are using a variety of channels to serve those customers — especially email, according to the fifth edition of State Of Marketing, a study by Salesforce.
Among the marketers polled, 74% use email marketing, second only to the 82% that deploy websites. And 21% plan to use email.
In general, however, brands are hampered by the fact that only 47% have a totally unified view of their customer data sources. Many remain siloed in their channel and data usage.
Salesforce surveyed ,4,101 marketers, dividing the responding companies into three groups:
The gap between brands is wider than might be expected. Of the higher performers, 59% use customer data to create more relevant experiences vs. 28% of the moderate perfumers and 8% of the underperformers.
In addition, 55% of the most astute companies say they deliver the right message in the right channel at the right time, compared with 29% of the moderately skilled.
To establish customer identity, marketers turn to several technologies, the top three being marketing databases, CRM systems and Email service providers.
Email also plays a role across the customer journey. It leads in upselling, followed by affiliate marketing and social. And it is second in customer retention, after customer communities. Social is third.
Email comes in third in terms of customer advocacy, preceded by customer communities and social. Also, email is third in customer acquisition, again behind customer communities and social.
The study also shows that 58% of the top achievers sync their commerce systems with marketing emails, versus 52% of the moderate companies and 43% of the underachievers.
But the moderates lead in syncing their systems with transactional email at 50%, compared with 49% of the leaders and 37% of the underachievers.
Websites are the most fluid medium in terms of cross-channel coordination, with 35% describing their place in the mix as dynamic, 36% as duplicate and 28% as siloed.
In contrast, email is described as dynamic by 31% and as duplicate by 39% and siloed by 31%. Email is also slightly edged by mobile apps, social advertising, video advertising and is tied with social publishing.
Here are two other findings that suggest a role for email-- 52% engage customers in real-time across one or more marketing channels, and 52% adopt marketing strategies based on customer interactions.
To measure success, 59% use web analytics, 55% the marketing ad/channel platform, and 54% their data management platform. And 65% say all team members in their firms share common goals and metrics.
In general, their No. 1 priority — engaging with customers in real-time — is also their leading challenge.
The top priorities:
The main challenges almost mirror those: