Marketing Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Salesforce has published the eighth edition of its annual State of Marketing report. The report is based on 6,000 responses from marketing managers, directors, VPs, and CMOs across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

With a survey sample of that size, its findings should not be ignored. At 33 pages in length, it is divided into six main sections with the addition of two spotlights, the first of which looks at the marketer’s approach to Web3 and the second looks at the impact of ABM campaigns.

Sarah Franklin, President & CMO of Salesforce (credit image/LinkedIn/Sarah Franklin)
Sarah Franklin, President & CMO of Salesforce

Sarah Franklin, President & CMO of Salesforce, comments in an executive letter within the whitepaper, “It’s a new day for marketers, a time of tremendous transformation that requires us to reimagine how we connect with customers and personalize every interaction; achieve our budget and business goals in an uncertain economic environment; and lead with our values to help shape a better, more equitable and sustainable future. “

What is in the State of Marketing 2022

A customer case study also looks at #TeamEarth, an initiative for the Olympic Winter Games 2022 that involved Salesforce, Matthew McConaughey, and Team USA. The report concludes with detailed information about the survey demographics. The sections are:

  • Marketers Remain Optimistic Amid Change. Although macroeconomic instabilities have teams examining their budgets and fine-tuning their tech stack, marketers remain optimistic in the face of change. 87% of marketers say their work provides greater value now than it did a year ago.
  • Innovative Channels and Tactics Redefine Customer Engagement. Brands are investing in a combination of channels and technologies to reach their audiences and build lasting customer relationships. 83% of marketers say their marketing organizations engage customers in real-time across one or more marketing channels.
  • Marketers Walk the “Personalization vs Privacy” Tightrope. Marketers are adapting to changes in privacy regulations and calls for data transparency. With the end of third-party cookies on the horizon, 68% of marketers have a fully defined strategy to shift toward first-party data.
  • Distributed Teams Unite with Collaboration Technology. Recognizing that remote and distributed work is here to stay, leaders are investing in how marketing teams collaborate. Marketers have adopted an average of four collaboration technologies, and 70% expect these investments to be permanent.
  • KPIs Shift as Marketers Adopt Real-Time Intelligence. Across every stage of the funnel, marketers are tracking more metrics year over year than ever before. Speed to insight remains a competitive advantage, with 72% of high-performing marketers able to analyze marketing performance in real time.
  • Marketers Lead with Values. Today’s customers want their values reflected in the brands they buy from, and marketers are responding. 85% of marketers say their external messaging reflects corporate values.

There are some key findings from the report that Salesforce call out:

  • Budgets are tightening. Though the report provides no evidence they have reduced, there are more things for marketers to spend on. 33% of marketers say budgetary constraints are a challenge.
  • 87% of Marketers believe they provide greater value to organisations than they did a year ago ( 2021: 77%).
  • As with other sectors and industries, talent retention is a big concern for 71% of marketers.
  • Data needs are growing rapidly; marketers are using 50% more data sources than a year ago (15 vs 10) and expect that to increase in 2023 (to 18). Despite this, marketers are shifting away from third-party data sources.

A few highlights

As with previous Salesforce reports, the State of Marketing also contains findings from more than 2 trillion messages sent using the Salesforce platform from Q1 2020 to Q2 2022. It throws up some interesting trends about how marketing teams are operating. Email is still dominant, with 84% of messages using that medium. However, there is a downward trend with other channels increasing in usage.

Personalisation in real-time is already happening, with 86% of high performers engaging customers in real-time across one or more channels, and 78% of underperformers are also doing so.

Marketers are seeing increasing use and benefits from AI. However, not all use cases are growing. There was a 22% growth in those using AI to resolve customer identity; however a drop of 14% in those using it to bridge online and offline experiences and 8% for driving the best offers in real-time.

There was no further analysis of these declines. Perhaps the drop in bridging offline and online is because there is less offline activity after digitisation. On the real-time offers, this could be because, with greater personalisation, the generic real-time offers are less relevant than personalised ones.

Another key challenge for marketers is collaboration, despite the move to remote working. 69% of marketers say it’s harder to collaborate now than before the pandemic. The report does not answer why but looks at the collaboration tools used.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The report is, as usual, comprehensive, with a huge number of findings that are very interesting at a surface level. The report is well worth a read. However, it reveals more questions than answers. It would have benefitted from qualitative research that could have shed greater light on some of the findings. The accompanying news announcement has interactive elements that enable marketers to explore the priorities and challenges faced within their country, industry and business type.

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