6 Takeaways from the Salesforce 2015 Marketing Trends Research

Data-Driven Marketing

Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing Report

Image source: Salesforce

Salesforce recently released its 2nd annual State of Marketing report, an indepth look at 2015 marketing trends and priorities. Its research is based on survey results from over 5000 marketers worldwide (double the number of respondents from their inaugural report).

Two Major 2015 Marketing Trends Emerged:

1. A Shift to Digital:

Respondents indicated they planned to reallocate 38% of their marketing budgets toward digital advertising and away from traditional mass marketing methods. The breakdown for this shift was 34% for B2B marketers and 42% for B2C marketers.

2. A Consolidation of Focus:

While marketers in the 2014 inaugural survey appeared to be taking a scatter-shot approach to marketing, the data from 2015 reveals a sharp consolidation of focus to two main channels – Social and Mobile.

2015 Marketing Trends & Priorities

Here are my top six takeaways from the 2015 State of Marketing report that I hope can help you as you move through 2015.

Learning #1:  Social Media IS Strategic and Measurable

In the Salesforce research, 64% of respondents reported social media as a ‘critical enabler of their products and services.’ This is up a whopping 39 points from 2014 when only 25% of marketers made the same claim. The number claiming social as an important revenue driver nearly doubled as well. This is great news for marketers, and if you are not already using this data to show why your organization needs to invest in social strategy, then do it now! 

As you are doing that, be sure to provide regular reports, showing the top strategic metrics. As you can see from the Salesforce research, social media-driven Web traffic, and social media audience engagement are two of the most vital metrics to share.  One of the ways to show strategic value is to show the data behind it!

Social Media Success Metrics

Learning #2:  Focus on Social Channels with Greatest Impact

We have recommended previously in this blog to focus on the number of social networks you can handle and really rock, as opposed to trying to be everywhere. The Salesforce research validated this by showing the strong focus marketers are taking on a few key social channels. 

The top 3 social networks (with percentage of marketers currently using them) were:

Top 3 Social Media Networks

  1. Facebook (80%)
  2. Twitter (70%)
  3. Linkedin (62%)

So while there are many other and new networks to target, these three standbys are still scoring the top rates.

What may come as a surprise is the social networks that ranked highest for effectiveness were relative newcomers to the social ecosphere. The top two most effective social networks were: 

  1. Tagged (86% effectiveness rating)
  2. KakaoTalk (81% effectiveness rating)

Tagged Social Network

Never heard of them? Me neither. But they may be worth investigating. Keep in mind these numbers may be skewed by their lower usage percentages. Yet if your customers are there, you should be too.

Learning #3:  Social Networks are 24 x 7

Your customers don’t keep a 9 to 5 schedule. If you can’t allocate 24 x 7 coverage, start with a benchmark study of when your users are most active and schedule resources to be available during those times.

Also, you can use tools to figure out what times obtain the most engagement among your audience, and then schedule your posts accordingly. There’s so much data out there to help you, there’s really no excuse to be posting for just a few hours every day during your work hours. 

Learning #4:  Mobile Marketing is HOT!

As we mentioned in our previous post on user attention in a multi-screen world, mobile is the place to be. The number of respondents engaging in mobile marketing doubled from the prior survey, increasing from 23% in 2014 to 46% for 2015. 90% of those surveyed believe that mobile produces ROI for their business directly and indirectly.

In other words, the mobile train is leaving the station. If you are not already on board, grab your ticket and run. Do whatever is necessary to educate your organization and get buy in from stakeholders.

2015 Marketing Trends in Technologies

Some highlights for you to take away: 

  • Every type of mobile campaign measured (e.g. Loyalty, Holiday, SMS, Mobile-exclusive deals, etc.) was given an effectiveness rating north of 80%.
  • While 79% of app users enable location-sharing, only 18% of marketers have active location-based campaigns.
  • Results improve across the board when mobile is integrated into a company’s overall marketing strategy.

Mobile Marketing Success metrics

Learning #5:  Email is Core to Marketing with Strong ROI

Although it didn’t make the Top 5 list of areas for increased spending, email still held a prominent place in the Salesforce report, which is why it made our top 5 learning list. In fact, 73% of marketers – more than for either mobile or social – consider email to be core to their business. 92% consider email to provide ROI either directly or indirectly.

So how are marketers using email?

The top two most common email campaigns (with user percentages) were:

  1. Newsletters (63%)
  2. Promotional Content (54%)

Email Marketing Success Metrics

While these two types of campaigns have long been the workhorses of email marketing, they are not necessarily the most effective. Mobile opt-in, Birthday, and Anniversary campaigns (used by only 26%, 27%, and 26% of marketers, respectively) all out-rank Newsletters and Promotional Content in terms of their effectiveness.

Learning #6:  Bring Email and Mobile Together

What the Salesforce report suggests is tying these two together. Increasingly, emails are being opened on smartphones and tablets. To make sure this is a great experience for your customers, invest in responsive design and tools that enable you to automatically send in relevant formats or adjust.

While the report did not say this, I would advise making sure your Website does the same – nothing worse than trying to read a non-responsive design website on my smart phone.

Email and Mobile Together

Make sure your emails are responsive to mobile phones!

Read the Full Report Yourself

There’s a lot more data in the report. I recommend you take a few minutes and review the full report, and let us know what you learned about 2015 marketing trends, and how your spending priorities and marketing mix compare.

Jason Nemeth

Jason Nemeth alternates his time between writing about technology, herding cats, authoring books for children, and thinking about outer space. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, though one day, it might be Mars.

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