Salesforce ‘State of Marketing’ Report 2017 – Key Takeaways

There’s good news, and there’s bad news in the 4th annual State of Marketing report by Salesforce Research. This blog summarises the key highlights from the 50 page report for busy Marketers.

The report, which interviewed 3,500 global Marketing leaders, looked at how an increased focus on customer experience continues to reshape Marketing, how shifting priorities are sparking org change and how tech is helping Marketers to raise the bar. The report finds that the Marketing profession is on the road to delivering more meaningful customer journeys but data issues are blocking their way. The report says, “Marketers move to evolve customer journeys but data woes linger.”

The report clearly shows the Marketing profession is finding the Single Customer View is a tough nut to crack. But it’s also just an excuse. It is possible to crack that data nut.

The good news is the need for Marketers to focus on customer journeys is being embraced by the profession:

The following findings in the report are music to our ears here at Thunderhead:

  • 67% of Marketing leaders say creating a connected customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is critical to the success of their overall Marketing strategy.
  • A key characteristic of best performing Marketers is their focus on customer journeys. High-performing torch-bearing, trail-blazing Marketing teams are better at coordinating Marketing across all channels. High performing Marketers are 12.8 x more likely to heavily coordinate their Marketing efforts across multiple channels. 89% of top Marketing teams are aligning Marketing roles to a customer journey strategy.
  • “The positive benefits associated with customer journey efforts speak for themselves.”
  • A staggering 91% of high performers agree that a connected customer journey across all touchpoints and channels positively impacts customer loyalty.
  • Another 89% say the same for the impact on revenue growth.

Source: State of Marketing Salesforce Research Report 2017

The bad news is Marketers are struggling with customer journeys:

The State of Marketing report highlights some roadblocks:

  • The majority of Marketers fail to evolve their message from one channel to the next. The report claims the ‘Gold Standard’ for a customer journey is that “each subsequent message builds on the customer’s actions to evolve communications in a true 1-to-1 experience.”
  • Although Marketers see adapting content to an ever-evolving customer profile is the holy grail, the reality is Marketers say only about 1/4 of their messages evolve from channel to channel in this highly personalised way.
  • “Most Marketers haven’t cracked the code on creating ideal customer journeys — but not for lack of trying.”
  • Only 23% of Marketers are extremely satisfied with their ability to leverage customer data to create more relevant experiences.

At Thunderhead we think Marketing needs to push the bar higher than this. The gold standard for a customer journey is more than how messages should build and evolve based on customers actions to have 1-1 communications and experience. The real gold standard is where, based on insights from an adaptive engagement profile of each individual customer, they receive value at each interaction with a brand, and in turn so does the brand. The real holy grail is where instead of ‘creating customer journeys’ Marketers give up the power struggle and enable customers to manage their own journeys.

Marketers can do this when they understand their role has evolved to providing customers with what they need at every interaction on their journey. Traditional Marketing campaigns have evolved to become invitations to an ongoing conversation. Marketers in this new role drive valuable and more helpful relationships with customers which drives more engagement and better outcomes for the business. The evidence for this can be seen in the State of Marketing report: the high-performing Marketing teams have clearly embraced their new role as champions of the customer journey and engagement.

Marketers say the main barrier to having more meaningful customer journeys is down to problems with data.

  • Gaining a single view of the customer and leveraging data from different sources continues to be a challenge for Marketers trying to evolve customer journeys and how they understand those.
  • The difficulty of gaining a single customer view is compounded by elevated customer expectations and the tremendous growth of newer Marketing channels.

However, dealing with these in an isolated fashion won’t help. Marketers need to think of ways to unify departmental and technical silos. Technology has evolved and there’s a new breed of technology built for exactly this purpose. A customer engagement hub built to do this? Who’d have thought.

No More Excuses

The report clearly highlights that Marketers are putting customer journeys, and customer engagement, on their ‘Too Difficult Pile’, (where you throw the things that are too big, too difficult and too scary to do right now.) The main excuse they’re giving is “A single customer view is a tough nut to crack.” OK. Customers today have a plethora of ways in which to interact with your brand. And because of this, you are likely to have multiple data records in lots of places for each and every customer. So it’s virtually impossible to get that connected, single customer view, or at least that’s what this report is saying Marketers think.

But building meaningful relationships with your customers should never be on your ‘Too Difficult Pile’. The fact is, it is now possible to effortlessly bring customer data and records together in a single view of your customers in a way which enables a connected, relevant, personalised journey that your customers will go nuts over. Enough of the excuses. To find out how you can crack the Data Nut, download our free guide.


Salesforce: State of Marketing 

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