Do-Nothing Data: Salesforce Survey Finds Hurdles in Access And Usage

Brands are using an average of 21 marketing and advertising platforms. But they don’t seem to be working.

Only a fifth of marketers say they are very successful at reaching their sales targets. And fewer than half feel they can drive measurable business outcomes very well, according to Marketing Intelligence Report, a global study by Salesforce.  

Of the marketers polled, 43% spend a week or more every month preparing data. But only 31% are confident in their data accuracy. 

A mere 32% have daily visibility into performance. And 74% admit that key stakeholders face hurdles in accessing data. 

All that may explain why 80% are increasingly placing a priority on use of data and measurement to “navigate the uncertainty of socioeconomic conditions.”  

Their main challenges, based on the top three choices of each, are: 

  1. Data veracity
  2. Ability to connect and unify data from multiple sources
  3. Employee resources and skill sets
  4. Data variety
  5. Data volume/accessibility



Among high performers, 472% are putting increasing prioritization on testing new marketing tactics and strategies and 39% are seeking to provide customers with empathetic, personalized messages. 

However, 38% claim that preserving marketing budgets is a priority.

Meanwhile, brands are using an average of eight different channels to carry out their marketing strategies. 

“Most marketers now rely on a diverse marketing mix of channels led by their brand website, display advertising, email campaigns, programmatic advertising, and social media,” the study notes. 

Put another way, brands are using “a long tail of different channels depending on their business, industry, and customer,” the study says.

However, only 6% are fully automated when it comes to generating cross-channel reports. Another 28% are more manual than automatic, 23% more automatic than manual, 32% an even mix between the two and 11% fully manual.

In thinking about growth, 56% evaluate the long term, while 18% evaluate the short term and 26% do a mixture of both. 

The top growth metrics, based on the respondents’ top three, are: 

  1. Sales/revenue
  2. Customer satisfaction/NPS 
  3. Lifetime value of a customer 
  4. Brand loyalty
  5. Return on marketing performance

But marketers face challenges. Here is a ranking based on their top three choices:

  1. Misalignment on measurement and reporting 
  2. Lack of resources and talent
  3. Lack of data governance/management 
  4. Lack of real-time insights
  5. Return on marketing investments

The most commonly used metrics in evaluating campaigns are:

  1. Sales revenue 
  2. Marketing or advertising spend
  3. Brand awareness 
  4. Customer acquisitions 
  5. ROI/customer lifetime value (CLV/LTV)

There is room for improvement in the data and analytics infrastructure: 48% rate themselves as advanced, while 48% rate themselves as average and 4% rate themselves as poor. 

How do brands integrate and harmonize cross-channel data sets? They are:

  • More automatic than manual — 29%
  • Fully automatic — 25%
  • More manual than automatic — 23%
  • An even mix of the two — 14%
  • Fully manual — 8%

The top challenges with marketing data analysis and optimization are:

  1. Ability to share and collaborate on data analysis across stakeholders
  2. Connecting marketing activities to business
  3. Ability to apply learnings to marketing metrics
  4. Lack of speed in reporting and insights due to manual data prep
  5. Using real-time data analysis to inform campaign optimization

Salesforce surveyed 1,065 brand marketers or advertisers across the globe. 


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