Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing Report, Reveals Top Priorities for Marketers


With the enhancing of the customer experience (CX) now firmly entrenched globally as a C-level top priority, and marketing/outbound communications of all types a fixation on providing differentiated value, understanding marketing trends has never been more important.  This is particularly relevant as organizations increase spending in omnichannel customer interactions and marketing departments become more heavily involved in technology investments to improve CX.

So what’s on marketers’ minds? And, what are their plans for the year ahead?  A great place for insights on this is the newly released Salesforce Marketing Cloud 2015 State of Marketing report.

This second annual Salesforce report, based on a survey of more than 5,000 marketers globally, has already become a go-to source for information and insights. At a high level there was good news to digest for CX vendors. The report found that marketers plan to increase investments in:

  • Social media advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Location-based mobile tracking
  • Mobile apps
  • Email marketing

The reasons are the growing sense of urgency to create better and more contextual customer profiles to assure a cohesive view of customer journeys that can lead to more cost-efficient and effective customer engagements.  In fact, the good news also includes the finding that 84 percent of respondents reported they plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets in 2015 with social and mobile marketing topping the priorities list.

2015 State of Marketing Report Key Findings

  • The customer journey is now critical to business success. There is a massive shift from campaign-focused marketing to personalized 1:1 customer journeys. According to recent research from Salesforce and LinkedIn, 86 percent of senior-level marketers say it is critical to create a cohesive customer journey across all touchpoints and channels. In the 2015 State of Marketing report, respondents cited mobile apps, marketing analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) tools as the technologies that are most effective at creating a cohesive customer journey.
  • Budgets for social are growing more than any other digital marketing channel. There is a major shift in how marketers view social: 64 percent of marketers now view social as a critical enabler of products and services, up from 25 percent in the 2014 State of Marketing report. Seventy percent of marketers said they would increase spending on social media advertising.
  • Marketers are integrating mobile into their overall marketing strategy. Marketers are increasingly focused on ensuring they are reaching their customers with 1:1 interactions in real-time via mobile devices. Sixty-eight percent report they have integrated mobile into their overall marketing strategy, up from 48 percent in last year’s report. Sixty-five percent plan to spend more on mobile push notifications, a 32 percent year-over-year increase. Fifty-eight percent now have a dedicated mobile marketing team, up from 35 percent in 2014.
  • Email reigns as the digital marketing engine. Seventy-three percent of marketers agree that email is core to their business, and 92 percent report that email produces a return on investment (ROI). Forty-seven percent of survey participants cited click-through rates as the key metric for measuring email marketing success, while 43 percent identified conversion rate as the key metric.

Source:  Salesforce Marketing Cloud 2015 State of Marketing report (click to enlarge)

As Jeff Rohrs, ‎VP, Marketing Insights at Salesforce told TechZone360, “It is encouraging to seeing the growing investment in marketing in general and the recognition of social, mobile and analytics for providing better visibility and engagement into what customers really want based on who they are using multiple channels to make their desires and feelings known.”  He added that, “While email remains the best way to generate and close transactions, the fact that social piece has gone from being a checklist item for interactions to being critical is extremely significant.”

In fact, some of the granularity about multiple channels can be seen in the below.

 “The future of marketing is building cohesive customer journeys across sales, service and marketing interactions. It is more important than ever to connect with each person interacting with your brand, and personalize journeys based on their actions and preferences,” said Scott McCorkle, CEO, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce. “Our 2015 State of Marketing report shows that this will be the year that businesses connect the dots accordingly and implement a truly multi-channel approach to personalize each customer’s engagement.”

McCorkle and Rohrs emphasis on “personalization” really gets to the heart of the matter. Several decades ago futurist Alvin Toffler predicted (pre-Internet) that marketing ultimately was on a path to devolve into “the market of one.”  Toffler correctly felt that the more in tune sellers were with our personal behavior the better they would be able to not just react but anticipate what we might be interested.  And, thanks to advancements in technology—the Internet, mobility, social, CRM tools, Big Data and sophisticated analytics—the foundation has been laid to for organizations to actually do individual tailoring of their marketing. 

This does not mean broadcast marketing will disappear. However, it does mean that as part of the marketing mix it will increasingly give way to more targeted capabilities. Indeed, this is why having a cohesive customer journey strategy is emerging as critical.

Connecting the dots to enrich the visibility of those journeys clearly is a major trend to watch not just in 2015 but going forward.  As Rohrs explained, “You can’t just launch capabilities and assume they will come. You have to engage on a level that is really meaningful to the customer or they will exercise their options.” 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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