[ADVERTORIAL] The energy crisis, inflation, supply chain problems, the climate… Business challenges are piling up. A future-oriented strategy must therefore contain more than a growth story. After all, how do you reconcile that growth with the need to reduce costs? In a series of five articles, Salesforce experts share ideas on how organizations can work more efficiently and do more with less. In part three, we discuss how marketers can get the most out of their data.
Despite economic uncertainty and limited budgetary resources, many marketers see a bright future ahead. In fact, in Salesforce’s annual State of Marketing report, 91% say they find their work more valuable than two years ago. To solve the most important challenges, they focus on two goals: exploring new strategies and solutions and offering a coherent customer journey.
New marketing strategies
In recent years, every marketer has experimented with numerous strategies and tools. For example, the majority have now found their way to video and social media. Some companies are also already working on relatively unknown concepts such as NFT or virtual tokens. Brands like Nike and Tommy Hilfiger not only make it possible to order clothes digitally, but also let you buy virtual clothes so you can outfit your avatar in the same outfit. With VR, AR and other technologies, marketers are trying to approach young audiences in a creative way.
For professionals, these new strategies are a unique opportunity to make a difference and to reach the right target group without expensive campaigns. However, we must also note that the more classic e-mail marketing is still very effective. An email allows you to quickly and easily measure interactions and conversions, for example by directing potential customers to a landing page where they can take targeted actions.
Refine the customer journey
Another focus for marketers revolves around the importance of the customer journey. Customers want to enjoy a personalized service and expect advertising and marketing campaigns to be tailored accordingly. Obviously, anyone who has just returned a product does not want to be confronted with an offer for the same item five minutes later. To enable this personalized approach, marketers are strongly committed to collecting data. Especially now that third-party data or cookies are under threat and we must increasingly consider privacy laws such as GDPR, it is important that marketers themselves gather the necessary insights to stay relevant.
In a cookie-free future, professionals will focus primarily on first-party data they collect based on incentives. By doing this, end users officially give their consent to use personal data. In addition, there is also a role for zero-party data (where customers themselves indicate their preferences) and second-party data. In the latter case, companies can collaborate with partners and, subject to approval, share data about customers. This can be useful, for example, for airlines and hotel chains that want to guarantee the ideal travel experience.
More effective campaigns thanks to automation
Although the data is available, we see that many organizations today do too little with it or do not use the information in the right way. Fortunately, marketers are not alone and can count on technology to streamline their work and automate manual tasks.
Modern companies collect data from an average of 18 data sources. To draw the right reports, these sources must be connected one by one. Manually, it’s a task that can easily take up three weeks a month, but with the help of automation, marketers can ensure they’re generating real-time insights. As a result, not only will they respond more efficiently, it will also free up time to be more creative and to develop even more relevant campaigns for clients with the same amount of manpower.
To bring data sets together, organizations are increasingly relying on a customer data platform, such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud. While the data is stored in a data lake on the IT side, such a platform ensures that marketers themselves can use insights to optimize their campaigns faster. For example, if you want to reach a specific target group for a specific product, you can combine insights from different data sources to create new segments and form a community that brings together like-minded customers around a theme. This is much more effective than a classic one-size-fits-all approach.
Its own customer data platform therefore becomes essential for companies to be ready for 2024, when Google will also usually announce the final end of cookies. To support this kind of development, Salesforce recently launched Genie. This smart technology makes it possible to gather information in real time and react immediately. In this way, you can be sure that your customers always get the most personal experience.
Break down the silos
If you want to get even more value out of marketing campaigns, you must also break through the known silos. For example, in the most successful organizations, IT and marketing go hand in hand. Sometimes IT teams are even compensated when they succeed in helping marketers achieve their goals – such as generating repeat customers or increasing the average value of a digital shopping cart in the webshop. When these two worlds meet, you have a very strong foundation for innovating and reacting quickly.
In addition, as an organization, the importance of training should not be underestimated. More than ever, marketers need to keep up with all the latest news and retrain to master techniques. It is not enough to invite a teacher to a classroom once a year. Much more effective are tools that give people the tools to learn as they work. At Salesforce, we support this process with our Trailhead platform. Younger generations also expect their employer to focus optimally on learning & development.
Finally, a noteworthy figure from the State of Marketing report: no less than 84% of marketers surveyed struggle to meet high customer expectations. Every time such a customer has had a strong experience somewhere, that customer experience immediately becomes the Olympic minimum for other companies. Combined with limited budgets and a lack of profiles in the labor market, this is a wall for marketers that they constantly run into.
Automation and smart technology will therefore be an undeniable part of any successful marketing strategy. If you do it right, you will not only save money and work more efficiently. Customers will also benefit thanks to a personalized and relevant customer experience.
Even more insight? Download here the latest State of Marketing report from Salesforce.
This is a commercial contribution submitted by Salesforce.