Marketers’ initiatives planned for the start of this year have been flipped on their head since the COVID-19 pandemic. New research indicates that personalised, empathetic engagement is now front of mind for marketers in this rapidly digitally accelerated climate.
Customer relationship management firm Salesforce has released the sixth edition of its State of Marketing Report which revealed that, as technology drives customer expectations to new heights, marketers in the UK have emerged as not just messengers, but engagers who foster meaningful customer relationships well beyond the first purchase. The research also found that standards of customer engagement are shifting again, and marketers in the UK are on the forefront of innovation in a radically altered landscape.
Today, marketers are facing a crisis. But as time goes on, business will recover, confidence will increase and a newfound appreciation for innovation will take root. In addition to 5G, marketers in the UK also expect that expanded online populations and new regulations will also bring transformational impacts by 2030. However, nothing is anticipated more than the new customers and prospects brought online as digital life increasingly permeates the global population.
For this sixth edition of the State of Marketing Report, Salesforce collected data from nearly 7,000 marketing leaders across the globe, spanning six continents, just as the COVID-19 crisis emerged. After carefully dissecting the survey results, Salesforce Research deemed that the insights in this report provided significant relevance and value to marketers as they navigate through these uncertain times.
“The coronavirus pandemic has posed challenges for businesses across every industry. As we move from a crisis response to recovery and reopening, many are wondering “where do we go from here?”. From a marketing perspective, relevancy and perspective are now more important than ever, helping customers of all shapes and sizes through unexpected challenges with understanding,” said Ashling Kearns, VP EMEA Marketing at Salesforce. “The insights in this year’s State of Marketing Report are a helpful guide for marketers as they seek to recover and transform their business.”
The trends revealed in the State of Marketing Report were collected from marketing leaders from B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies across 30 countries, including 300 respondents from the UK, which showed the following:
• Marketing transformation takes on new urgency: The expectations and behaviours of consumers, businesses and society at large are shifting with unprecedented speed and magnitude. Marketers are at the forefront, having been increasingly tasked to take a leadership role, with 73% in the UK leading customer experience initiatives across their companies. This involves a combination of both technological and organisational innovation. In the UK, innovating is a top priority for marketing leaders, while unifying customer data sources is their top challenge.
• Customer data sets the stage for empathetic marketing: As customers navigate a series of “new normals”, personalised, empathetic engagement has never been more important. Delivering messages and offers that resonate with an individual’s unique needs and expectations requires deep insights. Marketers are shifting how they source and manage customer data and ramping up their use of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) that help them make the most of it. In the UK, marketers are expected to go from seven data sources in 2019 to nine projected data sources in 2021, and report a 144% increase in AI adoption since 2018.
• Marketers double down on business value: As businesses shift from crisis triage to recovery and adaptation, marketers have a unique opportunity to turn trusted customer relationships into business value. Marketers increasingly track metrics like customer satisfaction, digital engagement and lifetime customer value to gain a holistic picture of what’s working and what isn’t across the customer journey. B2B marketers have a particularly strong role in business growth through account-based marketing (ABM). In the UK, 46% of marketers track customer lifetime value (LTV) to measure success.