2016

State of

Marketing

Trends and insights from nearly 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide

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Practices of high-performing marketing teams

Key insights by marketing channel

2016

State of

Marketing

Trends and insights from nearly 4,000
marketing leaders worldwide

How can we help you?

2016

State of

Marketing

Trends and insights from nearly 4,000
marketing leaders worldwide

Show Me Highlights from
This Year's Report

Show Me Highlights from
This Year's Report

I Want a Deep Dive on One
Marketing Topic

I Want a Deep Dive on One
Marketing Topic

Shareable Statistics
and Charts

Shareable Statistics
and Charts

Additional
Resources

Additional
Resources

9 Key Takeaways

Executive Summary

Digital is king, and the customer experience is the crown jewel. For marketing leaders in 2016, these two truths are shaping the path of the profession. Here’s a quick overview of nine prominent findings from our research.

01 | CUSTOMER JOURNEY

High-performing marketing teams are 8.8x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they’ve adopted a customer journey strategy as part of their overall business.

02 | CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

High-performing marketing teams are 7.7x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree they’re leading customer experience initiatives across the business. 

03 | TECHNOLOGY

72% of high-performing marketing teams will increase spending on marketing tools and technology in the next two years.

04 | EXECUTIVE SUPPORT

High-performing marketing teams are 2.6x more likely than underperformers to say their executive team is completely committed to supporting the overall marketing strategy.

05 | INTEGRATION

95% of high-performing marketing teams who have integrated their digital marketing channels with their overall marketing rate the integrations as very effective or effective.

06 | MOBILE

With 98% growth in mobile app usage and 111% growth in SMS usage from 2015 to 2016, a majority of marketers are now using these mainstream mobile tactics to engage customers.

07 | EMAIL

Nearly half of marketers (49%) say email is directly linked to their business’ primary revenue source — a notable jump from the 20% of marketers who said the same in 2015. 

08 | SOCIAL

of marketing leaders report that social is generating ROI.   

09 | DIGITAL ADVERTISING

83% of high-performing marketers use customer data (e.g., email or phone data) to segment or target ads. 

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Practices of high-performing marketing teams

Key insights by marketing channel

Practices of High-Performing Marketing Teams

CUSTOMER JOURNEY STRATEGY

of marketers who have adopted a customer journey strategy say it has positively impacted overall customer engagement.

We define the “customer journey” as all interactions that customers have with a company’s brands, products, or services across all touchpoints and channels. High-performing marketing teams are 8.8x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they have adopted a customer journey strategy as part of their overall business strategy. 

CUSTOMER JOURNEY STRATEGY

of marketers who have adopted a customer journey strategy say it has positively impacted overall customer engagement.

We define the “customer journey” as all interactions that customers have with a company’s brands, products, or services across all touchpoints and channels. High-performing marketing teams are 8.8x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they have adopted a customer journey strategy as part of their overall business strategy. 

LEADERSHIP ALIGNMENT

High performers are 2.6x more likely to say their executive team is completely committed to the overall marketing strategy.

The world’s best marketing teams have buy-in from company leaders. High performers are 2.6x more likely than underperformers to say their executive team is completely committed to supporting the overall marketing strategy.  

 

Eighty-three percent of top teams have their executive team’s complete commitment to marketing strategy. When the commitment to marketing starts at the top, companies prioritize marketing and walk the talk with their investments.

LEADERSHIP ALIGNMENT

High performers are 2.6x more likely to say their executive team is completely committed to the overall marketing strategy.

The world’s best marketing teams have buy-in from company leaders. High performers are 2.6x more likely than underperformers to say their executive team is completely committed to supporting the overall marketing strategy.  

 

Eighty-three percent of top teams have their executive team’s complete commitment to marketing strategy. When the commitment to marketing starts at the top, companies prioritize marketing and walk the talk with their investments.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE INTEGRATION

High-performing marketing teams are 17.1x more likely than underperformers to be excellent at collaborating with other business units.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE INTEGRATION

High performers vs. underperformers 17.1X more likely to be excellent at collaborating with other business units.

Successful marketing leaders are crossing boundaries between business units in order to orchestrate all customer touchpoints into a seamless experience. Top marketers are leading this shift to attain a single view of the customer.

 

High-performing marketing leaders are 7.7x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they’re leading customer experience initiatives across the business. Top marketers are knocking down the silos to gain a single view — and, more importantly, to deliver a unified experience for customers. High performers are also 7.8x more likely to strongly agree that they are implementing digital transformations across the company.

GET SMART WITH TECH ADOPTION

of marketers will increase spending on marketing tools and technology over the next two years.

New technology and tools play a significant role in the day-to-day operations of high-performing marketing organizations. Top teams are investing more heavily than others in these areas. Seventy-two percent of high performers will increase spending on marketing tools and technology in the next two years. Among this group, 48% will increase spending substantially.  

 

While high performers are ahead of the pack, this trend isn’t limited to top teams. Among marketers at all performance levels, 63% will increase spending on marketing tools and technology over the next two years.
 

GET SMART WITH TECH ADOPTION

of marketers will increase spending on marketing tools and technology over the next two years.

New technology and tools play a significant role in the day-to-day operations of high-performing marketing organizations. Top teams are investing more heavily than others in these areas. Seventy-two percent of high performers will increase spending on marketing tools and technology in the next two years. Among this group, 48% will increase spending substantially.  

 

While high performers are ahead of the pack, this trend isn’t limited to top teams. Among marketers at all performance levels, 63% will increase spending on marketing tools and technology over the next two years.
 

Key Insights by Marketing Channel

MOBILE MOMENTUM

more marketers plan to use mobile apps and 111% more plan to use SMS for marketing purposes in 2016.

From 2015 to 2016, every aspect of mobile covered in this research has risen significantly in usage. This growth encompasses both mobile as a marketing platform (such as mobile apps) and mobile as a marketing channel (such as SMS). With 98% growth in mobile app usage and 111% growth in SMS usage, a majority of marketers are now using these mainstream mobile tactics to engage customers.

 

Mobile push notifications and location-based mobile tracking have experienced even higher growth rates over the last year. If the marketers who are planning to pilot push messages and mobile tracking in 2016 actually do so, by 2017 these tactics could also reach a critical mass.

 

(Note: All data in this section represents respondents who use mobile as part of their marketing strategy.)

MOBILE MOMENTUM

more marketers plan to use mobile apps and 111% more plan to use SMS for marketing purposes in 2016.

From 2015 to 2016, every aspect of mobile covered in this research has risen significantly in usage. This growth encompasses both mobile as a marketing platform (such as mobile apps) and mobile as a marketing channel (such as SMS). With 98% growth in mobile app usage and 111% growth in SMS usage, a majority of marketers are now using these mainstream mobile tactics to engage customers.

 

Mobile push notifications and location-based mobile tracking have experienced even higher growth rates over the last year. If the marketers who are planning to pilot push messages and mobile tracking in 2016 actually do so, by 2017 these tactics could also reach a critical mass.

 

(Note: All data in this section represents respondents who use mobile as part of their marketing strategy.)

DIGITAL ADVERTISING

of high-performing marketing teams will increase spending on advertising on social channels.

Nearly two-thirds of marketers are boosting budgets for advertising on social platforms in 2016, making it the third largest area for increased investment. Among high-performing marketing teams, 80% will increase spending on advertising on social platforms. It’s also the most popular digital advertising strategy, with 65% of marketers currently using and another 17% planning to use this year.  

 

Along with advertising on social platforms, marketers rate video advertising as a very effective digital advertising strategy. High performers are 7.6x more likely than underperformers to extensively use video advertising. (Note: All data in this section represents respondents who use digital advertising as part of their marketing strategy.)

DIGITAL ADVERTISING

of high-performing marketing teams will increase spending on advertising on social channels.

Nearly two-thirds of marketers are boosting budgets for advertising on social platforms in 2016, making it the third largest area for increased investment. Among high-performing marketing teams, 80% will increase spending on advertising on social platforms. It’s also the most popular digital advertising strategy, with 65% of marketers currently using and another 17% planning to use this year.  

 

Along with advertising on social platforms, marketers rate video advertising as a very effective digital advertising strategy. High performers are 7.6x more likely than underperformers to extensively use video advertising.

 

(Note: All data in this section represents respondents who use digital advertising as part of their marketing strategy.)

INTELLIGENT EMAIL

of marketers say email is directly generating ROI in 2016 vs. 54% in 2015.

As email personalization capabilities grow more sophisticated, the channel becomes even more integral for marketers to deliver a holistic customer journey. Eighty percent of marketers agree that email is core to their business. Among those that feel email is core to their business, nearly half (49%) say email is directly linked to their business’ primary revenue source — a notable jump from the 20% of marketers who said the same in 2015.     

Predictive technology is breathing new life into established marketing channels such as email. Top teams are 4.2x more likely than underperformers to leverage predictive intelligence or data science to create personalized emails. Return on investment (ROI) for email is another area that’s seen an uptick over the last year. While 54% of marketers said email directly generated ROI in 2015, in 2016 that’s risen to 79% of marketers.

 

(Note: All data in this section represents respondents who use email as part of their marketing strategy.)

INTELLIGENT EMAIL

of marketers say email is directly generating ROI in 2016 vs. 54% in 2015.

As email personalization capabilities grow more sophisticated, the channel becomes even more integral for marketers to deliver a holistic customer journey. Eighty percent of marketers agree that email is core to their business. Among those that feel email is core to their business, nearly half (49%) say email is directly linked to their business’ primary revenue source — a notable jump from the 20% of marketers who said the same in 2015.     

Predictive technology is breathing new life into established marketing channels such as email. Top teams are 4.2x more likely than underperformers to leverage predictive intelligence or data science to create personalized emails. Return on investment (ROI) for email is another area that’s seen an uptick over the last year. While 54% of marketers said email directly generated ROI in 2015, in 2016 that’s risen to 79% of marketers.

 

(Note: All data in this section represents respondents who use email as part of their marketing strategy.)

CROSS-CHANNEL INTEGRATION

Among top teams who have integrated their digital marketing channels with their overall marketing, at least 95% rate the integrations as very effective or effective. 

CROSS-CHANNEL INTEGRATION

Among top teams who have integrated their digital marketing channels with their overall marketing, at least 95% rate the integrations as very effective or effective. 

“Your customers are cross-channel so your marketing must be cross-channel.” It’s been said countless times because it’s true, and the lines between channels grow blurrier by the minute. A perfect example of this convergence: 82% of high performers consider advertising on social platforms to be part of their mobile marketing efforts. You don’t have separate mobile and social marketing anymore — it’s all the same thing.

 

Leading marketers understand the value of a cross-channel approach. Top teams are 3.2x more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they’ve integrated their social media activity into their overall marketing strategy. The gap grows as high-performers are 5x more likely to strongly agree that they’ve integrated their mobile marketing with their overall marketing.

 

(Note: Data reported in this section is out of a base of respondents that use each of the corresponding digital marketing channels.)

SOCIAL GROWTH

39% of marketers report significant ROI generated from social media marketing, compared to only 9% in 2015. 

SOCIAL GROWTH

39% of marketers report significant ROI generated from social media marketing, compared to only 9% in 2015. 

In 2015, three of the top five areas where marketers planned to increase their spending involved social outlets. This year, those investments appear to be turning a profit. The link between social marketing and revenue increased 3x over the last year, with nearly half (48%) of marketers reporting that social media marketing is directly linked to their business’ primary revenue source.

 

Last year, 27% of marketers said social would eventually generate ROI and 28% said it already generated ROI, accounting for 55% of all respondents. This year, 75% of respondents report that social is currently generating ROI, and 82% of marketers agree that social media marketing is core to their business.

 

(Note: All data in this section represents respondents who use social as part of their marketing strategy.)

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Additional Resources

Tell Me How This Report Was Made

For the third annual “State of Marketing” report, Salesforce Research surveyed nearly 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide to discover:

  • Overall trends changing the role of marketing
  • How high-performing marketing teams approach marketing intelligence and customer experience 
  • Key insights on primary digital marketing channels

Throughout this report, data is examined relative to business performance to identify patterns for overall success. High-performing marketing teams are those who are extremely satisfied with the current outcomes realized as a direct result of their company’s marketing investment.

Salesforce Research took a modified approach to this 2016 report. While we revisited many topics covered in our 2015 research to provide year-over-year analysis, this year’s survey included only marketers holding leadership roles within their organization. This shift allowed deeper discovery around team performance — and a closer look at what separates the world’s most successful marketers from the rest.

 

Conducted in 2016, the State of Marketing survey generated responses from 3,975 full-time marketing leaders (not limited to Salesforce customers) in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, the Nordics, Japan, and Australia. Respondents included third-party panelists. Due to rounding, not all percentage totals in this report equal 100%. All comparison calculations are made from total numbers (not rounded numbers).

Breakdown of our nearly 4,000 respondents, by region