Salesforce recently published their 2015 report on the current state of marketing, and naturally it has given me plenty of food for thought. The report is a thorough and comprehensive overview of what marketers say about their budgets, priorities, channels, strategies and metrics for 2015. Yes, it goes into great detail, but there are definitely a lot of valuable insights in there for curious marketers. With a focus on the UK, and B2B marketing primarily, I’ve summarised what I believe to be the salient points.
Top takeaways for the UK
Not too surprisingly, almost three quarters of UK marketers surveyed stated that they believed email marketing to be fundamental to their business. Email is indeed still one of the most effective, and measurable, tools marketers have at their disposal, so it’s no small wonder that they utilise it so frequently.
While I don’t disagree with this, my feeling is that if this is your primary channel it should be optimised and perfected – not simply used to send indiscriminate email blasts
Interestingly nearly half of those questioned claimed conversion rates to be the most crucial metric to look at following an email campaign. Of course conversion rates are key, but what about striving for a high open rate? More exposure will naturally lead to a greater conversion rate (unless your email content is that far removed from your subject line).
I say focus on creating a cohesive journey for the recipient, from the email arriving in their inbox, to them hopefully reaching a landing page
Customer acquisition (audience and/or list growth) ranked highly at number three of marketers’ most pressing business challenges this year. Given that email marketing is believed to be at the core of UK respondents’ businesses this makes perfect sense, as they’re likely to be constantly seeking an incrementally increasing database of email contacts to promote to.
In my view, it needn’t be so high on this list in relation to email. Growing a list is simply a case of working out where those prospects are, and appealing to them with content, value and integrity
Only 52% of UK marketers agreed that social media marketing is core to their business, which was a little unexpected.
Social media marketing can be difficult to demonstrate ROI for, which may make marketers wary of engaging, but as part of a wider content strategy it is undeniably invaluable. For example, a blog post or piece of content can be shared across social media over the course of a week or two and generate a huge number of views through social traffic alone
Conversely, and as you can see in the chart below, social media advertising and social media marketing were two of the top five areas for increased spending.
This is no bad thing, but what I hope is that companies are not simply throwing money at the problem, but seriously taking the time to consider how best to engage with their social audiences, and on which platforms
Top takeaways for B2B marketers
B2B marketers fared a little better than the UK as a whole when it came to email. Nearly half stated that they always or often use responsive design to build email campaigns, and only a quarter admitted to not knowing what device subscribers are using to read emails. These numbers suggest that B2B marketers are ahead of the curve when it comes to email marketing, which is great – though it doesn’t mean it’s time to rest on your laurels!
Where I think B2B marketers leave room for improvement is the email content itself. Relevance, segmentation and personalisation are routinely passed up in favour of generic copy, and sales-based communications – something which marketers should certainly look to change in 2015
Here is where I found some of the most startling (and impressive) statistics, with 64% of marketers agreeing that mobile is core to their business, and a substantial 43% stating that they have a dedicated mobile marketing team
We all know that mobile is becoming an increasingly valuable channel, but it’s fantastic to see B2B marketers using it to their advantage.
I suggest that if marketers have not caught up with the fact that they must optimise for mobile, it’s a golden opportunity to overhaul your website in general if it’s looking a little tired
As shown on the chart below, mobile applications were believed by B2B marketers to be the most critical technology to creating a cohesive customer journey.
Again I applaud the initiative demonstrated here, as B2B marketers are sometimes thought to be somewhat restricted in terms of marketing channels due to the formal approach they tend to take. These numbers certainly suggest otherwise, and show that B2B marketers are equally as if not more creative than their B2C counterparts – I find this progressiveness hugely encouraging
Don’t just take my word for it…
Saleforce’s report is definitely worth more than a cursory glance. Sure, you might not be shocked to read that new business development came out on top many a time in terms of pressing challenges for 2015, but the insights around content, mobile and social alone make this piece perfect lunchtime reading. It’s a great benchmark against your own opinions, and may even give you some ideas for your year ahead, and key areas to focus upon.