Sunday, May 22, 2016

What Separates Top-Performing Marketers from the Field?

The most basic of all business questions is:  What drives high performance? For years, the effort to find the "secret sauce" for achieving high performance has probably consumed more brainpower than any other single business topic. It's been, and still is, the modern-day business equivalent of the quest for the Holy Grail.

The desire to understand what drives high performance is widespread in the marketing world, and dozens of research studies have been devoted to solving the marketing performance puzzle. Earlier this year, Salesforce published a research report that includes several interesting insights on the practices of high-performing marketing teams.

The 2016 State of Marketing report is based on a worldwide survey that produced 3,975 responses from marketing leaders. Twenty-six percent of the respondents were affiliated with B2C companies, 29% with B2B companies, and 45% with B2B2C companies.

For this report, Salesforce divided survey respondents into three cohorts:

  • High performers (18% of the respondents) were those who were "extremely satisfied" with the current outcomes realized as a direct result of their company's marketing investments.
  • Moderate performers (68% of the respondents) were those who were "very or moderately satisfied" with the outcomes produced by their marketing efforts.
  • Underperformers (14% of the respondents) were those who were "slightly or not at all satisfied" with their marketing results.
As you might expect, the Salesforce survey revealed some major differences between high-performing marketing teams and underperformers.

High Performers Focus on the Customer Journey

High performers were 8.8x more likely than underperformers (65% vs. 7%) to indicate that their company had adopted a customer journey strategy as part of its overall business strategy. For this research, Salesforce defined "customer journey" as all interactions that customers have with a company's brands, products, or services across all touchpoints and channels.

Salesforce also found that high-performing marketers were 9.7x more likely than underperformers to be actively mapping the customer journey, and 7.7x more likely to be leading customer experience initiatives across the business. 

These findings indicate that top-performing marketers are highly focused on delivering outstanding customer experiences across the entire customer lifecycle.

High Performers Leverage Technology

Another significant difference between high performers and underperformers relates to the use of marketing technologies. The Salesforce research found that high-performing marketers were:
  • 7.6x more likely than underperformers to be "heavy" adopters of marketing tools and technologies
  • 10.7x more likely than underperformers to be extensively using predictive intelligence technologies in their marketing efforts
  • 6.7x more likely than underperformers to be extensively using marketing automation
  • 2.8x more likely than underperformers to be substantially increasing spending on marketing tools and technologies
There's no longer any doubt that marketing has become deeply entwined with technology. So, it shouldn't be surprising that top-performing marketing teams are leveraging technology tools to enable and support their marketing activities and programs.

The Salesforce report includes several findings regarding the effectiveness of specific marketing channels, and it includes a breakdown of the major survey findings for eight individual countries. If you're a marketer, it will be well worth your time to read the entire report.

Illustration courtesy of Yoggl Innsbruck via Flickr CC.

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