Metrics are a big element of marketing. But while numbers and trends are insightful, it’s what we do with that information that truly matters. In this year’s State of Marketing report, Salesforce surveyed more than 5,000 marketers across the globe to glean insight on top priorities for 2015 across all digital channels. This second annual report takes a look at areas for increased spending; biggest changes since last year; trends in social, mobile, and email marketing; and pressing business challenges. Here are some of the key findings from the report, which may influence your marketing strategy this year.
Globally, marketers’ challenges include:
Canadian marketers’ challenges include:
The digital marketing challenges in Canada reflect two realities:
For many Canadian businesses, CASL was a big shakeup to former email list building tactics. While many lists lost 50 per cent of subscribers overnight, the law pushed marketers to find new avenues and make bolder marketing choices. Canada and Brazil have the highest percentage (96 per cent) of marketers who plan to increase or maintain their digital marketing budgets.
The Takeaway: Canada plans to make a bold move toward more and higher quality digital marketing in 2015. This year, consider upping your digital marketing spend. If you don’t have one already, create a dedicated digital marketing team.
There’s a lot of noise for marketers to cut through. We don’t have a problem getting data from our digital efforts: The challenge is to decide what’s important and how to respond to it.
Revenue growth was deemed the number one metric. Marketers shifted their attention from traditional metrics (including conversion rates and return on investment) to metrics that better reflect customer satisfaction. These include engagement rate and sentiment analysis. But, overall, customer satisfaction still ranks relatively low in marketers’ minds (only 30 per cent consider it one of their top metrics). With social media as one of the most valuable tools in a marketer’s arsenal, it’s crucial to involve customer service representatives in marketing (and vice versa). Clients don’t care that your social media page is handled by marketing instead of customer service. They may complain on social pages if they feel like they’re receiving poor service. Keep in mind, tools like Chatter allow marketers to instantly inform a customer service team of a problem (and even hashtag it), then reply within minutes. This gives unhappy customers the reassurance that they’re being heard.
Which brings us to the customer journey. More than four out of five senior-level marketers said it was critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey. Customer journey mapping is an important tactic to see where your touch points could improve. The available level of tracking, especially in mobile applications, gives us a view into the lives of our customers in a way that wasn’t possible in traditional advertising. This information can help us make smart decisions about many different areas of business in order to improve customer satisfaction. This demonstrates how crucial marketing is to all areas of the organization, not just to fill that funnel.
The Takeaway: Close the loop between traffic and revenue growth and focus on the numbers that matter, instead of the numbers that look impressive. Remember to respect the power of the customer’s voice and prioritize really great customer service.
Just 56 per cent of marketers use a corporate website in their marketing. While 26 per cent plan to add a website in the next 12 months, this statistic is pretty astounding considering it’s 2015.
Make time for a website. Include a blog, but avoid tacking on overt sales pitches to the end of a post. Sidestep pitches in blogging and content marketing efforts and you will likely see better results. Also, make sure to produce content your audience wants to share. Pay attention to the posts that perform well and those that falter.
The Takeaway: Corporate websites have a place in digital marketing. Make time for a website and publish relevant, compelling content your audience wants to share.
Three of the top five business challenges discussed in our report revolved around the value of digital marketing. “Understanding what data to analyze” was ranked 17 on the list of business challenges, so getting the data isn’t the problem. Instead, the challenge is to make sure marketing has a seat at the table. It’s also important to understand successes and failures at every level. Marketing should be a part of everyone’s job, including sales, customer service—even accounting.
Understanding what data to analyze and how to analyze it highlights an opportunity. Training isn’t met well in the marketplace right now. Many marketers learn on the job and from conferences and blog posts by experts in the field. A few universities offer programs, but many of the courses focus on the strategic pieces of digital marketing, not how to effectively slice and dice data to show value.
A lot of the need to prove value has to do with decision makers still not trusting digital marketing as a viable channel. This is a challenge we all need to face. Clearly demonstrate that digital marketing is just as reliable—if not more reliable—than traditional marketing by uncovering opportunities from new analytics insights.
The Takeaway: Go beyond just pulling analytics reports. Take your digital marketing analysis to the next level by continually testing content and ad copy, creating segments, and implementing multi-channel integration solutions. Make marketing a part of everyone’s job.
Email isn’t as exciting as other marketing channels and often gets overlooked as a result. Email is experiencing a resurgence as mobile’s power continues to rise. A portion of people on your mailing list will likely only view your emails on a mobile device, and that number is growing every year. In 2014, 72 per cent of U.S. online adults sent and received emails on their phone at least weekly. Remember that open rates skyrocket during black Friday and holiday shopping times.
Only 49 per cent of marketers employ responsive emails. If you can make one change to your email marketing program this year, consider making your emails responsive—before your competition does. Going responsive can lead to a 130 per cent increase in email clicks. Who can say no to that?
Finally, though CASL took a big bite out of email lists this year, it shouldn’t stop you from using list-building tactics. The most effective email tactics were transaction, birthday, anniversary, and mobile opt-in.
The Takeaway: Consider making your emails responsive. Segment email lists and try new tactics to re-engage tired subscribers.
One of the biggest changes from 2014 to 2015 was the number of marketers who said, “Mobile marketing is a critical enabler of our products and services,” a change from 57 per cent in 2014 to 70 per cent in 2015. That figure will likely crack 80 per cent and higher in 2016.
Chances are, it will also be more challenging to find mobile-savvy talent. More than half of marketers (58 per cent) have a dedicated mobile team and only 7 per cent of them had a team that was just one person. If you don’t yet have a mobile team, start recruiting aggressively to get the right people on your side.
Selling your company on mobile shouldn’t be hard. Mobile users are happily giving up their location data, which means mobile/social/local campaigns just got easier. Seventy nine per cent of mobile users allowed location sharing in-app and 70 per cent allowed push notifications, while only 18 per cent of marketers use location-based functionality. Retailers, take note: Combine that data, and you now have a huge pool of users who would love to get a push notification from your app when they’re close to one of your retail locations. This year may mark the moment mobile finally grew up, but 2016 will be the year where marketers make the mobile/location connection.
The Takeaway: If you don’t have a mobile team yet, start recruiting for one. Take advantage of mobile users’ willingness to share location data. Use this data to bridge the mobile/location gap.
With the number of marketers viewing social as a critical enabler—increasing from 25 per cent in 2014 to 64 per cent in 2015—social has arrived. Social was a primary revenue source for 29 per cent of the marketers surveyed, with another 57 per cent expecting to see eventual or indirect revenue from social.
Social is also more than just Facebook and Twitter. The two most effective social networks were video (YouTube, for example), and the best social network you’ve never heard of: Tagged. Eighty six per cent of marketers using this platform rated it as very effective or effective. With 300 million members and counting, you don’t want to miss out.
Pinterest rankings were a bit of a surprise. Only 57 per cent of respondents said it was effective or very effective. Pinterest certainly had a lot of hype in the past, so it has become oversaturated and overrated. New content is no longer being discovered as users resort to re-pinning old content. Since the platform isn’t as social as others, there’s less engagement between users. There are still marketing successes to be had there, but perhaps not as easily as in the past.
The Takeaway: Social is huge. Master one or two social platforms before diving into too many at once, but explore lesser-known networks, such as Tagged. Remember that some platforms may ebb and flow in their effectiveness, like Pinterest.
Whether at a conference, on the radio, or in a meeting, Dana DiTomaso likes to impart wisdom to help you turn a lot of marketing BS into real strategies to grow your business. After 10 plus years she's seen (almost) everything. In her spare time, Dana drinks tea and yells at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats..