Salesforce Research surveyed nearly 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide to discover insights on today's hottest marketing trends, as well as which strategies top teams are adopting to outperform the competition. The third annual State of Marketing report reveals how the industry has changed, what high-performing teams are doing to stay ahead, and key insights on primary marketing channels like email, mobile, social, and digital ads.
This year marks the age of the customer, an era in which businesses are driven by customer expectations and needs. The customer journey as a marketing strategy is the result of marketers working to understand and connect with customers on their own turfs. The ability to effectively react and service buyers at different points in their journey is essential to success. High-performing marketing teams are 8.8x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they have adopted a customer journey strategy as part of their overall business strategy.
According to our annual marketing report, the typical buyer's journey is anything but linear. Customers are interacting with brands on a variety of channels including email, social, mobile, and web. Therefore, high performers are prioritising a connected marketing strategy across all of these areas to create an exceptional customer experience. Among top teams who have integrated their digital marketing channels with their overall marketing, at least 95% rate the integrations as very effective or effective.
In order to better anticipate needs and delight customers throughout their journeys, leading marketers are adopting smarter marketing tools like predictive intelligence and marketing automation. Predictive intelligence, for example, allows marketers to have more personalised interactions with consumers based on key behavior insights. Top marketing teams are 4.2x more likely than underperformers to leverage predictive intelligence or data science to create personalised emails.
Mobile is no longer a marketing trend on the rise, it is an unstoppable force. The use of mobile applications saw staggering 98% growth this year and mobile push notifications saw 145% growth. As customers increasingly expect companies to engage on mobile devices, marketers race to exceed these demands and capture attention on this widely used platform.
Email has always been a top digital marketing priority for teams to spread awareness and engage customers. Today, email has an immediate impact on business performance. Among those who agree email is core to their business, nearly half (49%) say email is directly linked to their business' primary revenue source — a notable jump from the 20% of marketers who said the same in 2015.
Marketers have been factoring social media into their plans for the past few years but only recently have they begun to see tangible results. In fact, 39% of marketers report significant ROI generated from social media marketing, compared to only nine percent in 2015. Social continues to be a great way to communicate directly with customers as marketers improve their skills, such as social listening, to better capture their audience's attention.
Advertising on social is growing as a successful channel for marketers to invest in. Among high-performing marketing teams, 80% will increase spending on advertising on social platforms. Ninety-one percent of marketing leaders now use data to segment their advertising.
Want to learn more about today's top marketing trends and how high performers are using new customer-centric strategies? Download the full 'State of Marketing' report for insights from marketing leaders across the globe.