Marketing transformations will take on new urgency as companies look to connect and build trust and improve customer experience in uncertain times, according to new research from Salesforce. 

Salesforce’s sixth annual State of Marketing report is based on data from nearly 7,000 marketing leaders across the globe including 300 respondents from Australia and New Zealand. The survey was conducted from January 8 through February 11, 2020 — before the scale of the COVID-19 crisis had fully emerged. 

Salesforce CMO Stephanie Buscemi writes the company decided to publish the report because it demonstrates the values that will remain critical as marketers and their businesses recover: relentless focus on the customer experience, unwavering commitment to helpfulness, relevancy, and trustworthiness, and continuous pursuit of innovation. 

The expectations and behaviours of consumers, businesses, and society at large are shifting with unprecedented speed and magnitude. Marketers are under tremendous pressure to overhaul their organisational models and use of technology to provide differentiated, digital-first customer engagement,” the authors write. 

According to the report, in Australia innovating is one of the key priorities for marketing leaders, while insufficient organisational structure and processes is one of their top challenges.

Other top priorities included improving ROI/attribution and balancing personalisation and customer comfort. 

Sharing a unified view of customer data across business units was identified as the second largest challenge, followed by engaging with customers in real time. 

Marketers are also tipped to double down on driving business value. 

Seventy-five per cent of ANZ marketers share common goals and metrics with sales teams, 70 per cent share common goals with service teams and 71 per cent have common goals with ecommerce teams. 

Local marketers top success metrics were sales effectiveness and customer referral rates, followed by marketing leads. 

B2B marketers have a particularly strong role in business growth through account-based marketing (ABM).

Kev Doyle, Regional VP, Salesforce said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging marketers to rethink every aspect of their business. Marketers will lead through this uncertain time by listening to their customers, focusing on being humble and taking a community-first lens.”

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