Salesforce Report Makes Case for Greater Marketing Investment
Need case-building ammunition when convincing the C-Suite to boost its marketing investment? Check out Salesforce’s 2016 State of Marketing report.
According to the report, high-performing marketing teams focus on improving customer experience (CX), i.e. “keeping pace with customers” while those with moderate or underperforming marketing teams share “budget constraints” as their top concern (see page 11). Customer experience (CX) supports omni-channel communication, allowing customers to choose how they want to digitally hear from a company.
Common sense and previously published studies insist that it’s more cost-effective to keep customers than to acquire new ones. Other studies show that customers want to hear from companies that provide useful information at the right time. Since customer expectations are growing along with digital communication, companies should ensure their marketing and communications practices are truly customer centric.
Companies that focus on CX throughout the customer journey are seeing greater returns. “High-performing marketing teams,” according to the report, “are 8.8x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they’ve adopted a customer journey strategy as part of their overall business strategy”(see page 14).
The customer journey approach to knowing customers provides more specific insight necessary for reaching them across communication channels.
Companies that focus on CX throughout the customer journey
are seeing greater returns.
I help clients develop customer journeys in the insurance industry. The customer journey is more than how a potential customer purchases a product or service. Developing a customer journey does include sales-enhancing insight, but customer retention is the focus. Customer journey research also identifies customer pain points and those “keep in touch” moments when customers should receive a useful (read: hypeless) brand-enhancing content.
Companies with generous budgets are using predictive modeling to learn more about customers. For tight marketing budgets, however, tried-and-true approaches are still effective. They include:
- “listening” to customers on social media;
- conducting focus groups;
- interviewing customers;
- offering customer satisfaction surveys; and,
- tracking customer feedback.
Other Useful Insights
The report offers strategies worthy of greater marketing investment. Here are three:
Email is an effective strategy for reaching customers. Clients often find this hard to believe. Here’s the proof: Seventy-nine percent of respondents said email generated a return on investment (ROI), up from 54 percent in the 2015 report (see page 35). “Intelligent” email based on predictive modeling works even better (see page 34).
Social media works (see page 38). Top performers respond in a timely manner. They also “listen” carefully. Companies are investing more in social media advertising as well
Content marketing is now a primary business tool (see page 42). However, producing unique, original content is the #2 concern of high-performing marketing teams (see page 11). This is not a great surprise. Internet content saturation is a real problem. To produce quality and meaningful content, enlist a writer/editor who understands your customers and your business.
On a basic level, effective marketing and communicating has always been about knowing customers well enough to reach them. Now, the key is to understand customer needs well enough to connect with them with the right brand-enhancing message at the right time with the right tool.
As a result, convincing the C-Suite to make a greater marketing investment is more important than ever.
Do you believe companies are as customer-centric as they assume?