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Salesforce’s State of Marketing report-2020

Key Excerpts from Salesforce’s State of Marketing report-2020

Marketers or digital marketing agencies around the world keep on looking for innovative ways to target subscribers. They are the frontlines of innovat...

Marketers or digital marketing agencies around the world keep on looking for innovative ways to target subscribers. They are the frontlines of innovation and change. At the beginning of the year, the focus for all the marketers was to innovate and make sure that they are fighting the disruptive forces around the world originating from every industry. 

Fourth revolution technologies like AI [Artificial intelligence] had already started to challenge the marketers and pushed them to adopt new ways of working.

Now, in the post-pandemic world of 2020, it becomes more and more challenging for the marketers or digital marketing agencies to adapt to the new ways of working in the world of ‘New Normal’  and social distancing.

Salesforce publishes the ‘State of Marketing’ report annually that provides insights and trends from a host of Marketers across the world. In this blog, we will explore the key excerpts from the report 2020: 

Key excerpts from the report 

1. Innovation is the key 

Based on the research and analysis, it can be said with confidence that expectations of the consumer are rising on how the marketers interact with them. Marketers also have to rise to the occasion to provide customers with a personalized experience. 

As per the study done on consumers and business buyers, 84%  of customers mentioned that the experience provided to them by the company is as important as its products and services. This is an increase of 80% from 2018.

Based on the analysis of the third State of the Connected Customer report, 71% of the consumers use various channels to make a final purchase, like eCommerce websites, social media, Facebook etc. Those subscribers now expect the marketers to provide them with dynamic interactions on the current channel based on their activities on the previous channel.

The above expectation is being echoed by the report as well, where more than half of marketers said that their cross-channel content is dynamic. This number has increased immensely from 2018 when it was around ~30%.. As per the survey, 84% of customers want companies to provide better experience for example the alongside products and services.

Complying with privacy concerns is another priority for today’s customers. All the consumer data is stored by the companies and this needs to be done in a legal way and customers should be kept informed about the sharing of their data. Customers prefer to share their information and trust the brand; they are aware that their data privacy will be handled. 

Tools and platforms being used by marketers are ever-evolving and the customer expects these to cater to their demand. Marketers globally are investing in new system platforms to collect customer data and then target them intelligently.

Below are the top priorities that marketers need to address.

Marketer's Top Priorities

2. Usage of Artificial intelligence [AI] has been the key driver

There was a time when Artificial intelligence was a buzzword and almost everyone including marketers were talking about it. But this report suggests that marketers have now started using AI and are also benefiting with its use. This year’s survey shows that AI, as reported by marketers, has had a huge surge in its adoption.

As per the report, around 86% of marketers have reported the usage of Artificial intelligence this year as compared to 29% in the year 2018. 

With the help of Artificial intelligence, marketers are able to perform tasks which were not possible in the past. Artificial intelligence helps them to understand the patterns in customer behaviour and then provide actionable advice to marketers. e.g. AI can help recommend the best time for a customer to open an email and then send it at that time.

Marketers are also making the use of various data sources in order to get more up to date information about customers. The number of marketers that use this data-driven tactic towards customer engagement is up to 78%. Marketers use approximately 12 data sources to fetch the correct information about the customers. The top customer data sources in the picture are for transactional data i.e. purchase history, declared interests/preferences [update preference centre], and known digital identities [data collected from websites].

As you might understand, since the amount of data is being created at a crazy pace in the last decade, there has been an increasing effort from marketers to manage the data. Marketers need systems to manage the data and unify them to provide a recent picture of the customer. 

For this purpose, marketers use the data management systems to help them with completing the picture of the customer. Marketers use approx 6 systems to manage the data in 2020 and it has doubled as compared to 2018. Below graph shows the popularity of various Marketing data Management solutions for marketers as per this year’s report.

Ranked popularity of marketing data management solutions

Based on the above facts about the various Marketing data Management solutions, no wonder marketers cite that some of biggest challenges of their times are to unify the customer data sources and have a unified view of the customer. Below graph shows the marketers top challenges as per this report of 2020. 

Marketer's Top Challenges

3. Account-based marketing (ABM) is a topmost priority for B2B customers

The above 2 sections were applicable to both B2B as well as B2C use cases. However, this section is dedicated to the B2B use case of  Account-based marketing. 

The above-mentioned tools, AI and customer data platform are used for B2B customers. Marketers need to cater to the B2B use case. AI and customer data platforms are great assets for account-based marketing (ABM). 

ABM is really helpful to the marketers especially to target important customers.  ABM uses dynamic & personalized campaigns to increase customer interaction. This is a win-win for the customer as well as marketers. The customer receives dynamic & personalized messaging and marketers have a formidable relationship with their customers. 

This is self-evident from the fact that 92% of B2B marketers use ABM programs. Below image shows the age of the ABM program within companies.

Age of account based marketing programs

The above fact is also supported by ABM budget allocation of various B2B & B2C companies. For B2C companies, the ABM budget is 6% whereas for the B2B customer the ABM is around 16%. 

This below image shows the budget allocation for all the marketing activities for B2B as well as B2C companies.

Wrap up

The State of Marketing report is a really helpful resource for marketers to make critical decisions and understand the world of marketing with raw data points. In this blog, we have only covered some key excerpts from the report.  

For a more detailed analysis of the State of Marketing report, please refer to the Salesforce website.

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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