Chief Marketing Officer

Salesforce’s VP of Product Marketing Talks About Insights and Trends Gleaned from 3,500 Global Marketing Leaders

Rob Begg, Vice President of Product Marketing at Salesforce, discussed insights from the 2017 Salesforce “State of Marketing” report.

“Today I’m going to give you highlights of a report we do that you can take back with you to the office and benchmark yourself against related to the state of marketing,” announced Begg at the outset of his thought leadership presentation at the 2017 Financial Services Forum: Marketing & Technology innovation, held in Boston on September 7. “We survey 3,500 leaders worldwide using a double-blind methodology. A research firm collects the data for us. A whole range of companies and countries are represented. We segment the data by having respondents choose one of three, self-identified categories: underperformers, moderate performers, and high performers. These are marketers telling us where they fit in. This provides us with a picture of priorities—from a technology point of view, from a tactics point of view, and from a strategy point of view,” explained Begg.

“One of the first things we did in the survey was ask respondents what their customers expected of them. We benchmarked this against a consumer survey we do. What we heard—which was no surprise—were three things:
• Consumers expect companies to provide a consistent experience across their channels.
• Consumers will change their buying patterns and behaviors based on this—they’ll switch from a brand that treats them like a number.
• Consumers will switch from a brand that doesn’t anticipate their needs.

“At a macro level, we found that companies believed their primary focus was on differentiating customer experience—68% of marketing leaders said their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. When we asked what the macro strategy was to address this customer experience, 67% of marketing leaders said creating a connected customer journey is critical to their overall marketing strategy success,” stated Begg.

“Regarding journeys, we wanted to know the top issues that stopped or slowed down progress in creating one-to-one customer journeys. Among underperformers and moderate performers, budget constraints was the number-one block. However, when the outliers were removed, everything was around one big theme—bringing customer data and a single view of the customer together. This was the main obstacle to creating great customer journeys. The reason is channels. High performers were on 11 channels with their customers, not just B2C but B2B and B2C combined. Emails, chats, social channels, and so on. This was twice as many channels as the underperformers,” said Begg.

“High performers were on 11 channels with their customers, not just B2C but B2B and B2C combined. Emails, chats, social channels, and so on. This was twice as many channels as the underperformers.”

Begg continued, “We discovered that 34% of the marketing budget dedicated to channels was for channels that didn’t exist five years ago. Marketers told us that the highest growth of their spending in channel activity was in video advertising. While these channels offer new opportunities to meet your customers where they want to be met, as a marketer who’s trying to create, this generates more data. You have to find a way to pull this data out of silos.”

“We discovered that 34% of the marketing budget dedicated to channels was for channels that didn’t exist five years ago. Marketers told us that the highest growth of their spending in channel activity was in video advertising.”

The expectations of customers are changing the ways in which marketers organize their teams and who they hire. “High performers are 2.5 times as likely to embrace this change and are reorganizing their marketing teams wrapped around customer experience. We now see titles like Customer Experience Manager and Customer Engagement Manager much more than we see Social Media Manager and Email Marketing Manager,” said Begg.

While underperformers know the importance of good data management for driving one-to-one marketing across touch points, they may not appreciate just how far data management technology has come. These struggling marketers place their biggest bet on data targeting and segmentation (which, by definition, groups customers together rather than treating them as individuals).

“High-performing marketers, on the other hand, are bullish on data management platforms when it comes to one-to-one marketing. It’s worth noting that CRM is seen as a top technology for one-to-one marketing by high and moderate performers alike, while it’s not on the radar for underperformers,” noted Begg.

“High-performing marketers…are bullish on data management platforms when it comes to one-to-one marketing.”

Here’s a summary of what high performers do differently:
• Drive connected customer journeys with data.
• Revamp organizational structures and workflows.
• Keep their tech stacks fresh.
• Stay on the cutting edge with AI.

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