The state of marketing

Each year, salesforce research conducts an extensive survey of nearly 7,000 marketing leaders from across the globe.

The purpose is to discover the changing definitions of marketing success, shifts in engagement standards, evolving marketing skill sets and processes, and more. In fact, so broad is the coverage that the key highlights for Heads are easily buried beneath overburden of the business speak.

SMJ has dug deep into the data to pull out the gems that are of direct relevance to leading marketing in schools in Australia. Here’s what we uncovered …

Customer experience and innovation put marketers under pressure
As companies look to connect and build trust in uncertain times, customer experience (CX) has become more important than ever.

84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services — up from 80% in 2018.

The share of marketers leading the CX charge has skyrocketed over the past two years. Eighty-eight percent of high performers lead CX initiatives across their organisations, compared to 68% of underperformers.

But shifting mindsets and on-the-ground execution are two very different things, and many marketers struggle to match operations to aspirations. Fewer than half of marketing organisations track customer lifetime value (LTV).

Marketing transformation takes on new urgency
Now more than ever, it’s critical for marketers to have a cohesive understanding of a customer’s full journey. Today’s marketers are applying their expertise at every stage from branding to acquisition to retention and advocacy. Traditional marketing roles focused on specific stages of the sales funnel, or on tactics like email or social media, are falling out of favour.

It’s now the exception to the rule for marketers to ‘own’ a given stage of the customer journey. Instead, most collaborate with peers on building cohesive experiences from the moment a prospect discovers their brand to when they post a rave review and beyond. Hardly any marketers describe themselves as detached from a given stage of the customer journey.

69% of marketers say traditional marketing roles limit customer engagement — up from 37% in 2018.

Omni-channel marketing is not new, but it’s never been more relevant. Today’s customers hop from channel to channel throughout their days.

Marketers are meeting the challenge by increasing their adoption of various digital touchpoints. Search engine marketing, customer communities and mobile apps are experiencing particularly dramatic increases in use.

Marketers double down on business value
The definition of marketing success is evolving as customer experience joins business value as the profession’s north star. In addition to tried and true KPIs like revenue growth and sales effectiveness, marketers are increasingly embracing customer satisfaction metrics, as well as associated signs of success such as referral rates and customer lifetime value.

As touchpoints multiply and attention spans shorten, marketers are also delving deeper into web and mobile analytics, social analytics and digital engagement metrics.

Marketers’ top priorities

1 Innovating

2 Improving marketing ROI/attribution

3 Balancing personalisation with customer comfort levels

Marketers’ top challenges

1 Insufficient organisational structure and processes

2 Sharing a unified view of customer data across business units

3 Engaging with customers in real time

Source: salesforce research, State of Marketing, May 2020

Brad Entwistle is the Founding Partner of imageseven. Since 1990, he has led his team on a mission to amplify the impact of schools by working directly with school Heads, tailoring solutions to maximise their communication and marketing effectiveness. 

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