Top-performing marketing teams commit to the customer journey and the customer experience, collaborate with other business units and enjoy buy-in from their executive leadership, according to Salesforce’s latest annual “State of Marketing” report that surveyed almost 4,000 marketing leaders across various countries.
Some 18% of the survey respondents are “extremely satisfied” with the current outcomes realized as a direct result of their company’s marketing investment. These constitute the “high performers,” whose actions and initiatives are contrasted with “moderate performers” (the 68% who are very or moderately satisfied with their outcomes) and the “underperformers” (the 14% who are slightly or not at all satisfied with their outcomes).
The research touches on several dimensions of high performers’ characteristics, some of which are highlighted below.
The Customer Journey
Almost two-thirds of high performers strongly agree that they have adopted a customer journey strategy as part of their overall business strategy, versus just 7% of underperformers. Likewise, more than 6 in 10 strongly agree that they are actively mapping the customer journey, compared to just 6% of underperformers.
The importance of customer journey adoption is underscored by the extent to which this strategy is credited with various benefits. Among those who have adopted such a strategy, roughly two-thirds or more agree that it has positively impacted: overall customer engagement (73%), customers’ willingness to recommend products and services (70%); revenue growth (70%); customer satisfaction scores (67%); and customer churn rates (65%).
The Customer Experience
More than 6 in 10 high performers strongly agree that they are implementing digital transformation across the company, versus just 23% of moderate performers and 8% of underperformers. Furthermore, 58% of high performers are leading customer experience initiatives across the business, again at a far higher rate than moderate (21%) and under-(8%) performers.
Salesforce links collaboration to customer experience leadership, noting that the majority of high performers are excelling at collaborating with other business units, while almost none of the underperformers are doing well in that regard.
Perhaps as a result of their greater inclination towards collaboration, high performers are about twice as likely as moderate performers to get executive buy-in, with 84% saying their executive team is completely committed to the overall marketing strategy.
Integration and Omni-Channel
High performing marketing teams are having much more success integrating business systems (with 60% excelling at this) than moderate performers (21%) and underperformers (4%).
That success spans across various channels, as at least 6 in 10 high performers have integrated their mobile (60%), email (64%) and social media (63%) marketing strategies into their overall marketing strategies. By comparison, fewer than one-third of moderate performers and one-fifth or fewer of underperformers have been able to integrate those channels.
In isolating some of the above-mentioned channels, the report notes that high performers are:
- The most likely to track mobile analytics for mobile apps; align more mobile campaigns to email campaigns; track mobile versus desktop website navigation; and use deep links that take users directly to the app store to download an app;
- Leveraging predictive intelligence or data science to personalize emails at a greater rate than underperformers;
- Using more sophisticated email marketing techniques, ranging from the inclusion of marketing content in transactional emails to triggering personalized email in real-time based on events;
- Excelling at responding to social interactions in a timely manner, and making greater use of social publishing and listening tools.
Marketing Technology and Tools
High performing marketing teams are heavy spenders and adopters of various marketing tools and technologies, per the report, with almost half saying they are substantially increasing their spending on these areas.
Indeed, roughly half of high performers are extensively using technologies such as marketing analytics (56%), data targeting and segmentation (51%), marketing automation (50%), lean/agile methods (49%) and predictive intelligence (49%). By comparison, fewer than one-third of moderate performers – and in most cases fewer than 1 in 10 underperformers – are making extensive use of those same technologies.
Emerging technologies are also seeing rapid uptake from high performing teams, as more than one-third are extensively using proximity marketing using beacon technology (43%), the internet of things (45%), podcasting (37%) and wearables (37%).
Other results from the report indicate that:
- Customer satisfaction is now marketers’ top success metric, ahead of last year’s leader, revenue growth;
- Brand awareness is a top priority for marketers, as is a higher level of customer engagement;
- While moderate performers and underperformers say that budget constraints are their top concern, for high performers the top concern is keeping pace with customers;
- Social media continues to benefit from budget enthusiasm, with social media marketing (67%), social media engagement (67%) and advertising on social platforms (65%) being the areas for which the largest share of marketers plan budget increases;
- ROI perceptions have jumped from last year, with a sizable increase in the percentage of respondents using the following channels seeing significant or some ROI: mobile (77%, up from 43%); email (80%, up from 53%); and social media (75%, up from 29%).
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 3,975 full-time marketing leaders (not limited to Salesforce customers) in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, the Nordics, Japan, and Australia. Survey respondents encompassed marketers in B2C (26%), B2B (29%), and B2B2C roles (45%) across a variety of industries and company sizes.