Most marketers say they’re struggling to meet customer expectations, and a new report on the current marketing landscape reveals why.
The eighth edition of Salesforce’s State of Marketing report looks back on 2022’s challenges and triumphs as the year comes to a close.
Additionally, the report looks ahead to how marketers plan to adapt to future challenges, such as the deprecation of third-party cookies.
Data in the report is compiled from a survey of 6,000 marketers across 35 countries and an analysis of trillions of outbound marketing messages sent using the Salesforce platform.
Here are the key highlights from Salesforce’s State of Marketing 2022 report.
What Were The Key Challenges For Marketers In 2022?
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents say meeting customer expectations is more complex than a year ago.
It’s not due to lack of effort, as 83% of marketers say their organizations engage customers in real-time across one or more marketing channels.
Additionally, marketers have more data sources to reconcile than ever: 10 sources in 2021, 15 in 2022, and expect 18 sources in 2023.
What’s holding marketers back from meeting customer expectations, then?
According to survey responses, these are marketers’ top challenges:
- Ineffective use of tools and technologies
- Measuring marketing ROI/attribution
- Balancing personalization with customer comfort levels
A third (33%) of marketers say budgetary constraints are a challenge, with those in life sciences, manufacturing, and technology sectors particularly feeling the pinch.
The report finds gaps in employee resources are partially to blame for an increasingly challenging marketing landscape Trends like the “Great Resignation,” “Quiet Quitting,” and layoffs are making waves across company talent pools, and marketing teams are feeling the impact.
Despite the budget and talent shortages, 87% of marketers say their work provides greater value now than it did a year ago.
What Are Marketers’ Priorities In 2023?
According to survey responses, these are marketers’ top priorities:
- Improving our use of tools and technologies
- Experimenting with new marketing strategies/tactics
- Modernizing tools and technologies
Marketers predict they’ll use nearly twice as many data sources in 2023 than in 2021.
Three-quarters of marketers still use third-party data like device identifiers and cookies from aggregators or data brokers.
Most (68%) marketers have a fully-defined strategy to shift toward first-party and zero-party data.
To build their database, 58% of marketers provide customer information-sharing incentives.
The number of marketers adding artificial intelligence (AI) tools to their strategy is steadily increasing.
In 2022, 68% of marketers say they have a fully-defined AI strategy, up from 60% in 2021 and 57% in 2020.
Three of the top AI use cases center around task automation:
- Automating customer interactions
- Automating data integration
- Personalizing the customer journey across channels
A growing number of marketers are pivoting to new channels to stay in front of their audience. Channels like TV/OTT, digital content, and video experienced the most significant growth in marketing adoption, with audio channels like podcasts seeing the second-largest jump in adoption.
What Are Customers’ Expectations In 2022 And Beyond?
Customers have a high expectation for personalization when it comes to marketing — 56% of customers now expect offers always to be personalized.
In response, brands are investing in a combination of channels and technologies to tailor outreach and build lasting relationships where their audiences spend time.
Customers also expect transparency from the companies they buy from. According to the survey, 88% of customers expect companies to state their values clearly.
Adjusting to this shift in customer expectations is effective, as 93% of high-performing marketers say their external messaging reflects their corporate values, compared to 70% of their underperforming competition.
For more insights into the state of marketing in 2022, see Salesforce’s full report.