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State of Marketing Research: Real-time intelligence and hyper-personalization are a competitive advantage

The State of Marketing 2022 research based on a survey of 6,000 marketing leaders worldwide highlights how marketers are evolving in the face of uncertainty, preparing for retirement of third-party cookies, enhancing the customer experience, and innovating to meet changing customer needs.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer on
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State of Marketing Research 2022 and beyond -- faster, more personalized, highly intelligent, and integrated throughout the business. 

iStockphoto/Getty Images

Today's marketers have more tools, technology, and data than ever before, with sophisticated strategies in place to build lasting customer relationships. 

This is according to the State of Marketing 2022 report, a Salesforce Research survey of 6,000 marketing leaders worldwide. 

The report found that marketers are still more optimistic than ever, with 87% of marketers saying their work provides greater value now than it did a year ago -- a 10% point jump from 2021. 

Also: Digital transformation: Top 5 skills you need to succeed

Here are the key findings of the report: 

1. Marketers stay optimistic amid headwinds: Although macroeconomic instabilities have teams examining their budgets and fine-tuning their tech stack, marketers remain optimistic in the face of change. 87% of marketers say their work provides greater value now than it did a year ago. The current macroeconomic environment leaves teams examining budgets and fine-tuning tech stacks, yet marketers remain optimistic. 

  • 1 in 3 marketers say budgetary constraints are a challenge.
  • However, 87% of marketers say their work provides greater value now than it did a year ago.

2. Marketers navigate a complex regulatory landscape: Marketers are adapting to changes in privacy
regulations and calls for data transparency.

  • Although 75% of marketers are still investing in third-party data, 68% say they have a fully defined strategy to shift from third-party data.
  • Marketers expect to nearly double the number of data sources they must reconcile: from 10 sources in 2021, and 15 in 2022, to an expected 18 in 2023.

3. Distributed teams unite with collaboration technology: Recognizing that remote and distributed work is here to stay, leaders are making investments in new collaboration tools. Marketers have adopted an average of four collaboration technologies, and 70% expect these investments to be permanent. Marketers have adopted an average of four collaboration technologies, yet 69% say it's harder to collaborate now than pre-pandemic.

Also: The best collaboration apps: Top team tools

4. New channels and innovative tactics redefine customer engagement: Marketers and brands are investing in a combination of channels and technologies to reach audiences in new places and build lasting relationships. 83% of marketers say their marketing organizations engage customers in real time across one or more marketing channels.

  • 71% of marketers say meeting customer expectations is more difficult than a year ago.
  • 83% of marketers say their organizations engage customers in real-time across one or more marketing channels.

5. 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. And 72% of high-performing marketers can analyze marketing performance in real time.

6. Marketers lead with values: Today's customers want their values reflected in the brands they buy from, and marketers are responding. 85% of marketers say their external messaging reflects corporate values. Currently, 93% of high-performing marketers say their external messaging reflects their corporate values compared with 70% of their underperforming competition.

Executive Summary numbered 1 through 7 from State of Marketing Research

State of Marketing 2022 -- Executive Summary. 

State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

Here are my 10 key takeaways from the State of Marketing 2022 research: 

  1. Nearly 9 out of 10 marketers are optimistic amid change. With changing consumer preferences, shifting buying behaviors, and rising customer expectations, marketers remain future-focused and cite "experimenting with new marketing strategies" as their No. 2 priority. This drive for innovation comes from the top: 91% of CMOs say they must continually innovate to remain competitive. Marketing organizations are also investing in their people to attract and retain employees amid a competitive job market. 71% of marketers say that it's harder to retain employees than it was a year ago. Marketers have also transformed where and how they work, with many changes here to stay. No longer bound by geography or time zone, many marketers are finding success by unlocking new customer segments, investing in digital-first experiences, and hosting virtual and hybrid events. The shift to distributed marketing teams has coincided with a flurry of investment in collaboration technology, with 70% of such investments viewed as permanent.
Statistics about marketers remaining optimistic amid change.
State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

2. Improving the use of tools and technologies is the No. 1 priority for markers. CRM is a leading tool for high-performing marketers. While customer relationship management (CRM) systems are particularly popular, marketers use a blend of tools to build relationships across the customer life cycle. 89% of B2B and B2B2C marketers are using account-based marketing platforms, aiding teams in their pursuit to orchestrate targeted campaigns with their sales and service counterparts.

List of top priorities and challenges for marketers.
State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

3. CMOs cite customer preferences and expectations as the No. 1 influence on digital strategy. Where customers lead, marketers follow, and marketers are increasingly experimenting with new digital channels to reach them. Video continues to play an important role as both a channel and a tactic, with preproduced video and livestream video both rising to the top of the marketing mix.

Percentages for different tactics for redefining customer engagement
State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

4. In their pursuit of multichannel engagement, marketers are incorporating more push and mobile messaging alongside email campaigns. According to Salesforce Marketing Cloud product data based on trillions of message sends, email use has increased year over year, accounting for 80% of all outbound messaging. The number of outbound emails increased 15% in the last year. When it comes to sheer volume of sends, email remains an effective digital channel. In fact, customers say that email is among their preferred channels for interacting with brands, second only to the phone. Shifts in customer expectations continue to keep marketers on their toes. 71% of marketers say that meeting customer expectations is more difficult than a year ago.

Statistics on privacy changes among marketers.
State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

5. For marketers, personalization is not just about targeted messaging, but hyper-personal understanding. According to recent research, 73% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. In response, 83% of marketers are using dynamic customer insights to adapt their strategies and optimize the impact of each interaction. Marketers know that transformative, customer-centric engagement relies on data -- and lots of it. Brands continue to anticipate an increase in the number of data sources used each year, projecting an average of 18 data sources in 2023. Salesforce partnered with Snowflake to secure real-time and open data sharing between Salesforce and Snowflake, allowing our CRM platform to directly access data stored in Snowflake, and vice versa, enabling a real-time customer 360 view across the two platforms without moving or duplicating data. 

Also: It's time for technology teams to find their voice in customer experience

According to the 2021 Gartner Cross-Functional Customer Data Survey, just 14% of organizations achieve a 360-degree view of their customer. Among those who have achieved it, 44% of respondents say their 360-degree view is located in a customer data platform. Despite deadlines to phase out third-party cookies being postponed yet again, marketers are pivoting to zero- and first-party data. Still, 75% of marketers say they rely at least in part on third-party data. While not all third-party data is cookie-related, marketers will need to reconcile this strategy with looming changes in privacy regulations. 

Data source statistics of marketers

The number of marketing data sources is growing rapidly.

State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

6. Marketers are using AI to scale their efforts. 68% of marketers say they have a fully defined AI strategy, up from 60% in 2021 and 57% in 2020. Marketing organizations are well aware of the benefits and continue to invest in AI applications that augment the customer journey -- like resolving customer identities and driving next-best offers in real time. While customers are more online now than ever before, 43% still say they prefer non-digital channels. This explains a prominent AI use case for marketers: bridging online and offline experiences.

7. Marketing without metrics is like driving with your eyes closed. In order to understand if their efforts are moving the needle, marketers are investing in analytics capabilities to get an accurate view of the impact of their messages, campaigns, and marketing spend. Marketers are also focusing on personalization and key customer experience touchpoints, with more teams tracking web and mobile analytics, content engagement, and customer lifetime value (CLV) than before. But marketers cite measuring marketing ROI and attribution as their No. 2 challenge, meaning there's still work to be done when it comes to simplifying the reporting process.

Statistics of metrics being tracked by marketing organizations
State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

8. Distributed teams need better collaboration tools to drive results. While new collaboration tools and remote work technologies have provided digital agility, virtual collaboration is not without its difficulties. 69% of marketers say it's harder to collaborate now than before the pandemic.

Collaboration technology statistics for marketers
State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

9. Values create value. And marketers are leading with values. 66% of customers have stopped buying from a company whose values didn't align with theirs. With 88% of customers saying they expect to see brands demonstrate clear and strong values, marketers recognize a unique opportunity to lead with a values-based message. In fact, 93% of high-performing marketers say their external messaging reflects their corporate values compared with 70% of their underperforming competition.

Also: One bad experience is all it takes to lose a customer

Value based approach statistics for marketers
State of Marketing 8th Edition/Salesforce Research

10. Building a future-proof marketing organization means investing in education and upskilling. The most important marketing skills in the next two years will be: 

1. Content marketing

2. Campaign strategy

3. Data analytics

4. Creativity 

5. Communication

The State of Marketing 2022 research is a comprehensive report with demographic and industry specific data based on input from 6,000 marketing leaders worldwide.

Editorial standards

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