Marketing strategy has evolved more quickly in the past five years than it did in the past five hundred.

For centuries, print advertising and mass media dominated until the internet changed everything, creating opportunities to craft unique customer journeys on an ever-larger palette of platforms.

This is an exciting time to be a marketer, and marketing leaders must be more agile, data-focused, and customer-obsessed than ever before. To understand these new marketing leaders better, we partnered with LinkedIn to survey more than 900 senior-level marketers on the LinkedIn platform to see what's top-of-mind in their roles and companies today.

This research is compiled in The State of Marketing Leadership: How Senior-Level Marketers are Redefining Success and Integrating the Customer Journey.

New Research from Salesforce and LinkedIn: The State of Marketing Leadership
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This report looks at the changing responsibilities and challenges that marketing leaders face today, including:

  • Collaboration between senior-level marketers and their peers
  • Most common metrics used to report success
  • The marketing technologies most implemented and their effectiveness
  • Customer service as a marketing tool

We've also segmented data by B2B, B2C, small business, mid-sized business, and enterprise.

Among our major findings:

  • 86% of senior-level marketers agree that it's very important to create a cohesive customer journey.
  • 40% of marketing leaders surveyed said their company uses the term "customer journey."
  • Enterprise companies are significantly more likely to have adopted a customer journey focus as part of their overall strategy. But only 29% of enterprise companies rate themselves as very effective or effective at creating a cohesive customer journey, vs. to 40% of small businesses.
  • Most marketers haven't fully integrated customer data across the organization-but of those who have, 97% said they were now successfully creating a cohesive customer journey.
  • 86% of marketers who use SMS and 88% of those who use push notifications rate them as at least somewhat effective.
  • Mobile apps scored the highest effectiveness rating of various marketing technologies in the survey.
  • 56% percent of senior-level marketers view their relationship with the CIO (or other tech team leaders) as absolutely critical or very important.
  • 46% of marketing leaders reported an increased need for data and analytics expertise over the past 12+ months, while 43% expect to see an increased need over the next 12+ months.

At Salesforce Marketing Cloud's Connections event in September 2014, Beth Comstock, SVP and CMO of GE, said, "You have to put your customer in the middle, no matter what industry you're in-and that is changing with digital tools."

As marketers create 1:1 connections that put customers in the middle of everything, marketing is becoming the hub for customer insight and understanding. We hope this research confirms what you're seeing in your own role and company: that creating an authentic customer journey-one that delivers both real-time and long-term engagement-is the future of marketing.

For our full findings, download our latest research report, The State of Marketing Leadership: How Senior-Level Marketers are Redefining Success and Integrating the Customer Journey.