Marketers to embrace digital customer experience, post-pandemic
Now in its seventh iteration, Salesforce’s “State of Marketing” report analyses the changing priorities and challenges that will reshape the marketing landscape this year and beyond.
The latest edition of the report includes survey responses from 8,200 marketing leaders across the globe, including South Africa, and sheds some new light on the trends affecting their marketing strategies in the new normal.
The overarching theme in the 2021 report is digital transformation accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s no secret that digital customer experience has been a growing trend for quite some time now. But the pandemic spurred serious momentum in this area. With marketers under tremendous pressure to meet evolving customer behaviour and demands, digital customer experience will be central to marketing success. According to the report:
88% of customers expect companies to accelerate their digital initiatives as a result of COVID-19.
69% of customers say companies should offer new ways to get products and services.
92% of marketers at top-performing companies agree that customer expectations are changing.
Among South African marketers’ greatest challenges is staying on top of evolving customer expectations. To adapt, marketers are speeding up the digital transformation efforts they launched before the pandemic. Indeed, 93% of South African marketers say the pandemic changed their digital engagement strategy, and 90% say it changed their marketing channel mix.
“Over the course of a little more than a year, marketers in South Africa have navigated changes in customer behaviour that normally occur over years,” commented Robbie Kearns, senior Regional vice-president of Salesforce. “The insights in this year’s State of Marketing report provide a good benchmark for what’s changed, what’s consistent, and where the art and science of marketing goes from here.”
The pandemic also forced marketers to reassess which channels would pay off best going forward. There has been increased investments in video content, social media and digital advertisements. Marketers also believe their work will be increasingly tech driven, and that they need to be prepared for managing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, organising and making sense of data, automating processes, and measuring results.
Like everyone else, they were given no choice but to carry out their jobs remotely amid a global lockdown. This has led to marketers re-evaluating how they engage with customers and fellow employees, with 84% of South African marketing organisations embracing new remote work policies.
But, they say the work-from-anywhere model wasn’t a seamless migration. About 66% of marketers agreed it’s more difficult to collaborate now than before the pandemic. However, collaboration and productivity tools have helped them step with a little more confidence into this brave new world. About 86% of marketing organisations have implemented new work collaboration technology due to the pandemic.
What this all means, is that marketers are now more dependent than ever before on the stability and speed of the internet connection. In this new normal, a reliable business internet solution is not just a convenience but a critical aspect of making sure business continues with the least disruption.