Q&A: Why marketers are feeling more optimistic


In its annual State of Marketing report, Salesforce found that 86% of South African marketers are finding more value in their work than a year ago. Despite the current economic uncertainty, marketers are in fact more optimistic than ever about their profession, with 87% of respondents saying that their work provides greater value than it did a year ago. This represents a 10% jump from this time last year.

“Meeting customers’ digital-first expectations is increasingly the main priority for CMOs and their marketing teams, and the pressure is on to do more with less, while accommodating evolving data privacy laws to prepare for a cookieless future,” says Zuko Mdwaba, area vice president and country leader, Salesforce South Africa. This, the eighth annual State of Marketing report, examined how marketers navigate evolving customer needs, economic uncertainty, the changing privacy landscape, and the new world of work. The survey of 6,000 marketing professionals globally, with respondents ranging from managers to CMOs from across 35 countries, represents a pulse check on how the profession is fairing and transforming.

What are the challenges facing marketers globally?

With the end of third party cookies on the horizon, 68% of marketers have a fully defined strategy to shift toward first-party, away from third party data; 70% of marketers consider their investments in process and workflow automation to be long term – underscoring the importance of boosting productivity and efficiency in the face of economic uncertainty; and 71% of marketers say it’s harder to retain employees than it was a year ago.

What does the report reveal about the state of marketing in SA?

Improving use of digital tools and technologies is South African marketers’ number one priority;  while engaging with customers in real time is their number one challenge. In the report, South African marketers say their work provides increasing value despite macroeconomic and labour headwinds. The report also reveals how marketers in the countries surveyed are adapting to changes in privacy regulations — all while managing more data sources than ever before. Eight-six percent of South African marketers say their work provides greater value than it did a year ago — a 34% point increase from last year.

What is the impact, specifically, for SA marketers?

South African marketers, however, face an uphill battle in an uncertain economy: 37% of South African marketers cited budgetary constraints; and 64% of South African marketers agreed that customer expectations are more difficult to meet than they were a year ago. To help meet the moment, marketers are focusing on, improving use of tools and technologies; and modernising tools and technologies.

What are the key action points for SA CMOs?

The trends revealed in the State of Marketing report were collected from a survey of 6,000 marketing leaders across 35 countries and six continents, including 200 from South Africa. Insights include the following:

  • The march toward digitally-led engagement treads new and familiar paths. Marketers are investing in a combination of channels and technologies to reach audiences in new places and build lasting relationships. Audio, TV/OTT and digital ads have seen the largest increase in usage in the last year by South African marketers. However, email marketing remains dominant, accounting for over 80% of all outbound marketing messages, according to trillions of messages sent from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
  • Marketers navigate a complex technology and regulatory landscape. Marketers are adapting to changes in privacy regulations and calls for data transparency. Although 71% of South African marketers still invest in third-party data; 73% say they have a fully defined strategy to shift from third-party data.
  • KPIs shift as marketers pursue real-time intelligence. Across every stage of the funnel, marketers are tracking more metrics year over year than ever before. Speed to insight remains a competitive advantage. Eighty-three percent of South African marketing organisations engage customers in real time across one or more marketing channels.
  • Distributed teams unite with collaboration technology. Recognising that remote and distributed work is here to stay, leaders are making investments into new collaboration tools. Sixty-four percent of South African marketers say it’s harder to collaborate now than pre-pandemic and are turning to an average of 4.1 collaboration tools to help.



Main image credit: Pixabay.com.


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