Marketers are doing some fancy footwork to keep up with post-pandemic changes, judging by The State Of Marketing, Seventh Edition, a study released Wednesday by Salesforce.
For instance, 90% have changed their digital engagement strategy since before the pandemic, 48% completely so.
In addition, 45% have thoroughly changed their workflows and processes, 45% their organizational priorities, 45% their data management strategy, 44% their marketing channel mix and 44% their content strategy. And large percentages have somewhat changed these activities.
Brands are making these changes to cope with the following challenges:
This year’s priorities are only slightly different:
On a positive note (depending on how you look at it), 66% anticipate revenue growth over the next 12 to 18 months, with 30% expecting it to be stable and only 4% predicting a decline.
On the B2C side, marketing budgets now cover the following:
In B2B, marketing budgets are apportioned this way:
These are the channels now in use by marketers:
Note: Email used has dropped from 82% in 2020, but tops the 74% reported in 2018.
One positive trend is that cross-channel coordination is getting more sophisticated: This year, 68% say their coordination is dynamic, 24% that it is duplicated and only 8% that it is siloed.
That’s an improvement over 2020, when 53% felt they were dynamic, 32% stable and 15% siloed. In 2018, 31% were dynamic, 39% duplicated and 29% siloed.
Meanwhile, the marketing toolkit is growing with digital engagement. Marketers use the following technologies:
Of the marketers polled, 78% say their customer engagement is data-driven.
B2C marketers use an average of nine data sources — up from six in 2020 —and they expect to utilize 12 in 2022.
In contrast, B2B marketers use 12 sources, versus 10 in 2020, and they anticipate using 15 in 2022.
The most popular data source this year is known digital identities — i.e., email addresses and social IDS — up from third place in 2020.
Transactional data is second, having dropped from first last year. Declared interests/preferences has fallen from second to third and second-party data is fourth, having jumped two slots.
Offline identities such as postal addresses and anonymized digital identities like cookies and device IDs saw the biggest year-over-year drops in popularity.
On another critical front, 61% say they go beyond regulations and standards to protect and respect customer privacy, up from 57% in 2020.
Moreover, 26% say complying with privacy regulations is challenging, down from 32% last year. And 29% report that balancing personalization with customer comfort is challenging, compared to 33% in 2020.
Of the firms surveyed this year, 14% identify themselves as high performers, 15% as underperformers and 72% as moderate performers.
Among the high performers, 86% say their organization leads the customer experience across the business. In contrast, 81% of moderate performers say the same, along with 72% of underperformers.
Meanwhile, 64% of high performers have a fully defined AI strategy, as do 62% of the moderate performers and 45% of the underperformers. And 78% of high performers have a customer data platform. So do 58% of underperformers.
Also, 71% of high performers claim they can measure campaign performance in real-time. The figure drops to 67% for moderate performers and 55% for underperformers.
Salesforce surveyed 8,227 full-time marketing leaders in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa between May 4 and June 3, 2021. The sample was not limited to Salesforce customers.