Salesforce State of Marketing 2020 – Key Insights from Marketing Leaders

By Lucy Mazalon

The State of Marketing Report 2020 edition includes insights from 7,000 marketing leaders worldwide. The survey, conducted by Salesforce Research, aims to uncover shifts in engagement standards, privacy practices, marketing skill sets, and data management strategies. Salesforce has access to top marketing professionals via its customer base (and beyond), plus the recent acquisition of The CMO Club will mean these reports will only become richer in the future.
Here are some of my favourite insights of the report, enabling you to keep an eye on what others are doing, how things have changed over the past 2 years, and prioritisation into the future. I answer questions such as: How are other marketers spending their budgets? Which metrics are they tracking? Are leaders satisfied with their marketing data?

1. How Are Marketers Spending Their Budgets?

Where marketing budget is being allocated is fairly consistent between B2C and B2B organisations.

  1. Advertising
  2. Technology
  3. Content
  4. People
  5. Research


  1. Advertising
  2. Technology
  3. ABM (highlighted in the piechart)
  4. People/Research/Content

Note: data was collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and does not represent any changes in budget allocations that may result.

2. Do Marketers own the Customer Journey – and How?

Experience across the entire Customer Journey should be a cross-functional effort across the organisation. Each team should be briefed on what their contribution is and standards to uphold.

“69% of marketers say traditional marketing roles limit customer engagement — up from 37% in 2018.”

The figures below show the stages that marketing is involved in – either owning or co-owning with other teams. I want to highlight the ’Not involved’ section (light blue bar); 4-5% of teams say they have no input into upselling, Customer advocacy, and Customer retention.

3. Which Digital Channels are Popular?

Omni-channel marketing has been thrown around for years. Let’s see where the largest growth in adoption of digital channels has been:

  • Search engine marketing (SEM): 40% growth
  • Customer communities: 35% growth
  • Mobile apps: 34% growth

4. New Tools in the Marketing Tech Stack

Artificial intelligence, Social marketing tools (listening, publishing), and Marketing analytics come out on top overall.
Look closely, and you will see big disparities between high performers vs. low performers.
Take Video marketing tools, as the most extreme example. Half of high performers will invest here, vs. 13% of low performers. Voice technology also shows large rifts, where high performers are 1.7x more likely to invest than low.

5. Are Leaders Satisfied with their Marketing Data?

The report details 5 measures of data: quality/hygiene, timeliness, integration, consent management, identity reconciliation. Overall, each of these categories only had a reported confidence rate of a third.
Even the high performers are surprisingly dissatisfied with the 5 measures of data – hovering around 50% satisfaction rate.
Underperformers have an 11% confidence rate in quality/hygiene and timeliness. Case in point: data quality can stifle your marketing performance.

6. How has AI Adoption in Marketing Changed?

There’s been a surge in AI adoption in marketing over the past two years, from 29% in 2018 to 84% in 2020!
“Marketers with AI have an average of seven use cases, up from six in 2018.”
What I found interesting from the breakdown below, is that there’s a small gaps between the proportion of enterprise organisations with a fully defined AI strategy and SMB organisations.

7. Which Marketing Metrics are Marketers Tracking?

The biggest jumps in metrics that Marketers are tracking over the past two years are:

  • Web/mobile analytics (e.g., page views, time on page)
  • Customer acquisition costs

Interestingly, ‘Revenue’ dropped as a focus, but still tops the leaderboard. Here’s a key takeaway: fewer than half of marketing organisations track customer lifetime value (LTV).

Download the full State of Marketing Report 2020 here.

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.

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