Today, Salesforce.com released its Exacttarget Marketing Cloud 2014 State of Marketing study that polled over 2,600 mid- to senior-level marketing managers cross all industries. 67 percent of marketers say their number one priority for 2014 is to increase sales directly attributable to digital marketing campaigns, 64 percent are focused on increasing email click throughs and open rates, and 61 percent want to increase their ROI. A distant fourth priority is lifetime customer value, only 35 percent of marketers listed this as a priority.
The good news is that budgets are increasing in five areas: data and analytics, marketing automation, email marketing, social media marketing and content management. Salesforce Exacttarget Marketing Cloud has some advice for marketers to make 2014 their best year ever:
- Hone in on clear objectives
- Focus on customer engagement
- Take a deep look at how customers are currently experiencing your brand
- Start communicating one-to-one with customers
- Think about personalization beyond email
- Develop a clear data strategy
- Get smarter about channel options and choices
- Evaluate email lifecycle campaigns
- Integrate mobile efforts into your omni-channel strategy
- Define clear social marketing objectives
Marketing has figured out that to align with sales they need to produce real revenue and that only comes when there is persistent engagement with buyers. The strategies marketers plan to use to drive engagement is an interesting finding from this study. Email is the vehicle of choice to acquire and onboard new customers. Mobile, however, is the preferred channel for engaging with existing customer.
Mobile is the channel of choice for keep relationships with existing customers alive because it cuts through the clutter of email and social. That’s because phones and tablets are consumers preferred platform to browse for products, contact customer service, participate in social communities, watch videos, sign up for alerts, and download branded apps. In fact, 46% of marketers have or are planning a branded mobile app in order to keep that customer bond alive.
The strategy, however, is different for attracting and engaging prospects. 67 percent of marketers say that email is core to their business and the best path to increase marketing ROI. 57 percent of marketers plan to increase the number of emails they send out in 2014 with 49 percent of respondents planning to send over a half a million emails in 2014. Expect more email in your inbox not just enticing you to join their networks but to engage you with promotions, new products, loyalty programs and prompt you to finish that shopping cart you abandoned.
While the role of email and mobile is clear, social remains an intriguing but unproven area. 66 percent of marketers claim that social indirectly impacts their business performance but only 9 percent claim that it can be directly linked to revenue. 2014 will see the broader adoption of Google+ (18%), SlideShare (17%), Blogs (17%), Podcasts (17%), and Pinterest (16%) in addition to the current mainstays of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. To solidify social’s role marketers need to develop a credible strategy with measurable target metrics that align with the customers desired customer experience. Otherwise social will remain on the sidelines.
This is all good news as marketers make strides forward. The bad news, however, is that marketers still have not accepted that they need to understand their target buyers’ journey and lifecycle experience expectations in order to truly realize significant improvement in ROI and conversion.
Lifecycle marketing is an area of focus driven by the need and technology that finally makes it possible for “marketers to communicate with specific audience members at precise times.” In line with marketers’ top priority of increasing conversion, their planned tactics for 2014 are newsletters (66%), web opt-in (54%), and transaction campaigns (42%). According to the study, there is a “significant gap between the importance marketers place on lifecycle marketing campaigns and the number of campaigns they actually implement.”
All the investment in lifecycle, behavioral and sophisticated campaigns will not yield the real potential marketing has to impact a brand’s success if strategies and tactics are not aligned to the buyers’ journey. Without that basic understanding marketing continues to be a guessing-game. While the spaghetti tossed at the wall is getting more precise, it still isn’t hitting the mark predictably and consistently.
You can find the complete study here.