As they attempt to build upon marketing top trends in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers around the world are wrestling with new questions. How can brands deliver the personal, empathetic service that customers want? What are some future trends in marketing – and where will they ultimately lead us? What is the best way to communicate in the New Normal? How can marketers support other departments – sales, customer service, and beyond – as they drive business back towards growth?

The 6th edition of The State of Marketing report from Salesforce has the answers. This deep-dive focuses on Belgium – what the top marketing trends are today, and how marketers are preparing for the future.

 

Transforming marketing has never been more important

Belgian marketers’ top priorities reflect how they are positioning themselves thoughtfully to face the future. At the head of their list is innovation. This doesn’t have to involve reinventing the wheel – it can also involve adapting to change in challenging circumstances.

On the flip side, their top challenge is insufficient organisational tools and processes. The COVID-19 crisis has made the overhaul of outdated business models even more urgent, as marketers need to deliver the seamless, personalised journeys that customers have come to expect.

Next on marketers’ agendas is the modernisation and digitalisation of tools and technologies, followed by the hiring and development of the best new talent, putting in place the skills that the industry needs for the future.

The priorities and challenges that Belgian marketers identify are interconnected. Once marketers have the right technologies and processes, and the staff to put them into action, they will be able to tackle their second and third challenges – engaging customers in real time and creating cohesive, customer-first journeys.

 


 

Customer data drives empathetic marketing

In a world that’s reeling from the social, economic, and emotional effects of the COVID-19 crisis, personal, empathetic engagement is atop the list of marketing top trends. But to deliver messages that will resonate deeply with a customer, marketers first need to know them – their needs, their hopes, their expectations, and their history.

In this new climate where insights are everything, it’s no surprise that technologies such as AI, which allow marketers to sift and process huge volumes of data, are in high demand. Marketers worldwide report that AI usage has surged 186% since 2018, and the trend looks set to continue.

Belgian marketers are particularly data-savvy, with 78% of marketers describing their customer engagement as data-driven. In 2020, they used 15 different customer data sources – double that of some of their European counterparts – and they expect this to increase to 22 next year.

 

 


When looking at the differences between high performers and under-performers, it’s evident that there’s a link between how satisfied organisations are with their data and how well they perform.
 

Seeing success through the customer’s eyes

As Belgian marketers become more effective at engaging their audience in meaningful ways, the way they measure their success is changing too. As well as traditional metrics like revenue growth and sales, marketers are increasingly finding customer-focused ways to measure their effectiveness. In Belgium, customer satisfaction is the top success metric, with web/mobile and social analytics coming in second place.

 

 

Looking to the future

When Belgian marketers think about the next ten years, they think about technology. The advent of 5G will make it possible to engage customers in new, immersive ways. The number of people who are online is set to increase, so marketers’ potential audiences will grow, too.

 

This new, connected world will bring new regulations that marketers will need to understand, but it will also usher in astonishing technologies and brilliant new ways of doing business. Here’s to a better tomorrow.


To get more insights on marketing trends in Belgium and beyond, download the Sixth Edition of The State of Marketing Report.