Marketing has evolved to encompass the complete customer experience, and customer satisfaction is now the top success metric for marketers, Salesforce said in a report released on Wednesday. The company’s 2016 State of Marketing report shows some points of stark contrast in digital approach between successful marketers, and the rest of the pack.
Salesforce surveyed close to 4,000 marketing professionals from roughly a dozen countries around the world, and identified 18 percent who said they were “extremely satisfied” with their marketing outcomes as part of “high-performing” teams. The company found a number of common approaches among those top teams, including a focus on comprehensive customer experience, rather than isolated contact points with potential customers.
Over half of “high performers” are heavy tech adopters, compared to only 7 percent of “underperformers,” and nearly three-quarters of top marketing teams will increase their spending on technology and tools over the next two years, according to the report.
The focus on technology allows marketers to collect the data and establish the continuous multi-platform connections that enable customer experiences that are both comprehensive and customized. Eighty-three percent of top marketers use customer data to segment or target their ads.
“As this research shows, high-performing marketing teams have shifted their mindset and tactics from marketing at customers, to focusing on connecting every touchpoint into a cohesive customer journey,” Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle said in the report.
Eighty percent of all marketers surveyed say email is core to their business, but instant messaging has also increased, with marketers’ use of SMS growing by 111 percent from 2015 to 2016. Social media is generating a positive return on investment according to 75 percent of respondents. This suggests a widespread multi-platform approach, but top marketers are 7.7 times more likely to lead cross-business customer experience initiatives than “moderate performers” and “underperformers.”
A “customer journey strategy” has positively impacted customer engagement at almost three quarters of top performers, who are almost 9 times more likely to strongly agree that they have adopted such a strategy as part of their overall business strategy.
Customer satisfaction took the top position among success metrics from revenue growth, which was the first choice of slightly more respondents in 2015.
Overall, the report is good news for providers of SaaS marketing tools.