Companies of all industries and sizes are in the midst of a groundbreaking revolution, driven by connected customers who expect personalized and consistent experiences across every channel. Released today, the 2017 Salesforce State of Marketing report found that creating customer journeys augmented by artificial intelligence (AI) to meet these expectations is a major element of high performing companies.
Based on a survey of 3,500 marketers worldwide, the report revealed marketers are making investments to deliver a new gold standard for customer journeys, in which AI is applied to learn from a customer’s past interactions and deliver a true 1-to-1 communications experience. In fact, 57 percent of marketing leaders surveyed say AI is absolutely or very essential in helping them achieve this goal, and 64 percent say their company has become more focused on providing a consistent experience across every channel as a result of changing customer expectations. Why is this important? More than half of consumers said they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn't make an effort to personalize its communications to them. That number jumps to 65 percent for B2B buyers.
The 2017 Salesforce State of Marketing report focuses on four emerging trends:
Let’s take a deeper look into these trends.
AI is helping marketers better understand customer behavior so they can determine the optimal message and the best channel to deliver it. Organizations that are investing in AI to drive recommendations and predict outcomes are already seeing real results.
The gold standard for delivering a personalized customer journey requires that each interaction builds on and is contextually aware of every antecedent customer interaction. However, with more data and channels available than ever before to engage a customer, marketers are having a difficult time unifying data and gaining a single customer view needed to deliver on this vision.
Providing a personalized customer experience throughout the customer journey has expanded outside of just marketing to include commerce, customer service and more. In addition to taking steps to improve collaboration with other departments, successful marketers are evolving their own departmental structures. Eighty-nine percent of top marketers are aligning their marketing roles to a customer journey strategy, focusing on holistic acquisition, onboarding and retention strategies, versus traditional roles defined by channels such as email or social.
Marketers are investing in new technologies in order to stay ahead of competitors. The biggest growth in marketer's technology usage is in emerging areas, such as AI and the Internet of Things (IoT). Top performers also identify data management platforms (DMPs) as the most essential technology to deliver personalized marketing.
This study was conducted by Salesforce Research through a third-party survey firm in April 2017. Three thousand-five hundred full-time marketing leaders in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, U.K., Ireland and U.S. were surveyed. Respondents were segmented into high-performing, moderate-performing or under-performing groups. High-performing organizations are defined as those who are "extremely satisfied" with the current outcomes realized as a direct result of their company's marketing investment.