In most cases, marketing is dedicated to making the first contact with the client by finding the right channel to reach them. For that reason, marketing is on the “frontline” of changes around us. Every change in the way the people behave and live affects the ways in which marketing can reach every particular person. This is why it is essential for marketers to continuously keep track of changes and adapt to new trends.
The annual Salesforce State of Marketing Report talks about key trends and opinions of about 7000 senior marketers. As the data collection began, the coronavirus crisis surged and still has not reached the end. Considering the scope of the crisis the authors questioned the relevance and worth of such a report. This year will probably turn out to be a turning point for many future trends in marketing, so the conclusion was that the relevance of the report is bigger than ever.
So, what was the conclusion – which trends and strategies were the most important in this year for companies in order to have good business results, even in the midst of a crisis? The most important was the focus on user experience, then focus on values such as helpfulness, relevancy and trustworthiness. Lastly, they have noticed the need for a constant search of innovative solutions in order to achieve wanted business results.
◉ Focusing on user experience
The expectation and behavior of clients, companies and the society in general, change at a fast pace. That is a large and constant pressure for marketing which has to tailor their organization and technology to generate quality customer engagement.
The definition of a marketing expert has changed, or better yet, expanded significantly in 2020. Other than creativity and writing skills, what is now vital is knowledge of handling large amounts of data in a way, the analysis and usage of which should lead to a connected user experience. Today, more so than ever before, it is important to have a complete view on the user’s journey. Marketers are now needed in every phase of sales – the traditional workflow in which marketing takes care only of specific parts of the funnel no longer exists.
In order to satisfy clients, who now want to be able to reach businesses through various channels, marketers are starting to use different digital tools and platforms. They are mostly interested in using AI. Tools for optimizing social media, mobile and video materials are among most used ones in managing digital channels. Apart from that, tools for measuring and analyzing different data are becoming more popular and in the last couple of years, marketing has also invested a lot into improvement of audience segmentation and content personalization.
◉ Committing to new values
Businesses, clients and buyers are just finding their ways to keep the results in new circumstances. That’s why a personalized and empathic approach has never been more important. Messages and offers which reach customers should be in line with the unique needs and expectations of each individual. This is why marketers are changing the ways of collecting and managing data by introducing AI, which enables them to maximize their value.
Data alone isn’t useful – it is valuable only if it is correct, timely and permissible to use in the desired manner. Once it’s collected, the key is to analyze the data and to properly use the conclusions reached. Alongside personalization and segmentation, data analysis is one of the marketing areas where AI is most useful. Marketers report a 186% increase in AI adoption since 2018.
Besides a personalized approach, one of the most appreciated things among clients is trust, or in terms of the digital era – privacy. This is mostly related to data protection and GDPR. Seeing the importance of it, most marketers not only do their best to follow GDPR rules but also exceed them. 58% of clients are comfortable with their data being used, but only 63% of companies are transparent about how they use the collected data.
◉ Marketers double down on business value
As businesses are trying to adapt and recover, marketers have a unique opportunity to turn good customer relationships into business value. By continuously measuring user satisfaction, digital engagement and lifetime customer value, it is possible to gain a complete picture of positive and negative influences on the customer journey. Generating leads in large numbers becomes less important as the focus shifts on giving a quality user experience and raising the level of user satisfaction. These are the main values which have sparked the idea of account-based marketing programs – B2B marketer’s answer to growing demands and expectations of clients. This brings cooperation with sales teams to a whole new level.
Tools and technologies which can help achieve innovative, trustworthy and timely engagement have become priority in the last year. It is also important to pay attention to new channels for reaching clients such as customer communities, either owned or third-party, which have become a favorite medium for acquisition, retention, and advocacy, and are widely used in the brand building stage. Even though they are often seen as newcomers in the marketing world, influencers turn out to be a valuable channel for any stage.
What will the future look like? If we have learned anything from 2020 the answer is – it’s hard to tell.
Still, we can suppose that all of the changes which simply had to happen last year will take root and develop further in the years to come. New technological, as well as social changes will definitely transform marketing in the next 10 years. When it comes to technology the most anticipated thing is the influence of the 5G network on everyday workflow, clients, businesses and life in general. It will be interesting to meet the buyer of the digital age, who yet has to fully develop.
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