Just 14% of organisations achieve a 360° view of their customer – Gartner Cross-Functional Customer Data Survey, 2021

The eighth annual State of Marketing report, produced by our partners at Salesforce, brings together insights from marketing leaders worldwide to reveal how they’re driving value and delivering exceptional customer experience in a rapidly evolving landscape. Based on a survey of 6,000 marketing managers, directors, VPs, and CMOs across 35 countries, the report explores how marketers are prioritising their efforts in the face of uncertainty and innovating to meet changing customer needs.

Here at redk, we’ve summarised the highlights of this in-depth report in a series of three blog posts. This week, part two:

‘Marketers explore new frontiers: data dilemmas, metrics and real-time intelligence’

Personalisation vs privacy: have marketers reached a tipping point?

Marketers know that customer engagement relies on big data – and brands anticipate an increase in the number of data sources they use, with an average estimate of 18 data sources in 2023, compared to 15 in 2022 and 10 in 2021. While marketers are diversifying their data sources, maintaining regulatory compliance while providing a personalised customer experience is an ongoing challenge.

According to Salesforce, 75% of marketers are still investing in third-party data, with 68% having fully defined their strategy to shift away from these sources

In recent years, new data privacy regulations, notably the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), have changed the face of digital analytics, leaving many companies struggling with their current reliance on third-party data. While marketers understand the importance of privacy and security to building customer trust, there’s a growing reluctance to go further than the law stipulates.

Only 51% of marketers say they go beyond regulations and industry standards to protect customer privacy, down from 61% last year

Despite the extended deadline for the deprecation of third-party cookies, marketers are already pivoting to first-party and zero-party data: 54% are creating a first-party data strategy, while 52% are investigating second-party data-sharing agreements, and 56% are providing information-sharing incentives for customers. 

Web3 and AI: a new chapter in marketing?

As marketers explore new channels and tactics, many are developing strategies for Web3, a decentralised ecosystem based on a blockchain, with the most common applications cited by marketers being virtual products, virtual reality (VR), and/or augmented reality (AR), and cryptocurrency. Digital assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may present new opportunities for brands to collect first-party data as an alternative to the use of third-party cookies.

51% of marketers report having a Web3 strategy, with a further 46% planning to develop one

Adoption of Web3 technologies may be in its infancy, but the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing is more widespread, with the majority of use cases relating to automation: 90% of organisations use AI to automate customer interactions, 89% to automate data integration and 88% for process automation, such as reporting. 

68% of marketers have a fully defined AI strategy, up from 60% in 2021 and 57% in 2020

Scaling up speed and effectiveness with existing resources is a major priority for marketers. And marketing organisations continue to invest heavily in those AI applications which augment the customer journey, such as resolving customer identities, driving best offers in real-time, and predicting customer behaviour. 

Crucially, with 43% of customers still preferring non-digital channels, bridging online and offline experiences is an area of increasing investment. 87% of marketers cite this as a use case for AI, rising from 71% in 2021. 

Unlocking insights in real-time: identifying the right metrics 

To get an accurate view of their impact, marketers are investing more heavily in analytics capabilities. 68% now say they can analyse marketing performance in real-time – with this figure rising to 72% for high-performing marketers – and only 33% report that they still use a manual process.

Marketing without metrics is like driving with your eyes closed – Salesforce

Marketers, increasingly under pressure to prove value for money, are now tracking more KPIs. While revenue and customer satisfaction are at the top of the list, there’s an increasing focus on tracking web/mobile analytics, content engagement, and customer lifetime value. However, there’s still some way to go in simplifying the reporting process: measuring marketing ROI is cited as the second-biggest challenge for marketers.

Here at redk, we have over 15 years of experience in digital transformation, working with our expert partners to advise on and implement the best technical solutions to help you stay ahead of the crowd. Get in touch now to find out how we can help you grow your business and deliver a great customer experience.