You are here:

Salesforce’s 9th State of Marketing Report Highlights AI and Data Trends

Salesforce recently unveiled the ninth edition of its State of Marketing report, offering insights from marketing leaders worldwide on current trends, priorities, and challenges. The research reveals the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing operations and the importance of data management strategies to maintain customer trust amidst growing vulnerabilities.

Key Findings:

  • 92% of retailers are enhancing their AI investments to improve shopping experiences.
  • 68% of customers believe advancements in AI necessitate higher trust in companies, highlighting the need for secure AI implementations.

Survey Details: Salesforce surveyed 4,850 marketers from 29 countries to assess personalized customer engagement, operational efficiencies, and the integration of data, technology, and AI.

Performance Tiers:

  • 22% Underperformers: Moderately or less satisfied with marketing investment outcomes.
  • 46% Moderate Performers: Highly satisfied with marketing investment outcomes.
  • 32% High Performers: Completely satisfied with marketing outcomes.

Top Priorities and Challenges:

  1. Data Foundations: With third-party cookies phasing out and AI advancing, unifying customer data is crucial yet challenging. Only 31% of marketers are fully satisfied with their data unification efforts.
  2. Trust in AI: Marketers are overhauling engagement strategies, emphasizing secure AI application. While 32% have fully implemented AI, 43% are experimenting.
  3. Personalization: High-performing teams personalize across six channels on average, compared to three for underperformers.
  4. Unified Analytics: Despite abundant data sources, only 48% of marketers track customer lifetime value (CLV).
  5. ABM and Loyalty Programs: Companies are increasingly using account-based marketing (ABM) and loyalty programs for customer acquisition and retention, though many still face disjointed information sources.

AI Adoption:

  • 75% of marketers are experimenting with or have fully implemented AI.
  • High-performing teams are 2.5 times more likely to have fully implemented AI compared to underperformers.
  • Popular AI use cases include predictive (automated customer interactions) and generative (content generation) applications.

Challenges in Data Utilization: Marketers are working to better utilize data to fuel AI, analytics, and growth. The struggle to connect disparate data points for consistent, personalized experiences continues, with only 31% satisfied with their ability to unify customer data sources. Additionally, while 57% have access to real-time data, 59% require IT assistance for campaign execution.

Impact of Loyalty Programs: ABM and loyalty programs are key for deeper customer relationships, with 39% of marketers saying loyalty functionalities are accessible across all touchpoints. However, only 48% use ABM for upselling, and 43% for cross-selling.

Enterprise Times Insights: As customer expectations for personalization grow, marketing teams are leveraging new tools to deliver personalized digital experiences effectively. AI remains both a top priority and a significant challenge, underscoring the need for a robust understanding of data for real-time engagement. Notably, the report’s minimal focus on social media’s role in digital marketing is a missed opportunity, given its importance in engaging Gen Z customers.

Overall, the Salesforce State of Marketing report serves as a valuable guide for organizations navigating the evolving marketing landscape.