The State of Marketing Today: A Summary of New Research

Written by: Munira Fareed on 8/16/16 5:17 PM


Any marketer with more than 5 years under their belt has watched the industry undergo serious change. Those that began their careers a decade or more ago could never have imagined what their jobs would look like today.

Marketing evolves at a rapid pace, a trend that seems likely to continue. Most of us have to make a concerted effort to stay up on the state of the industry. That makes any research into what’s happening and what’s coming invaluable to marketers.

In case you missed them, we’ve reviewed three recent research reports that provide some valuable insights into the state of marketing today. Here are some of the key statistics and takeaways pulled from each.

The State of Marketing 2016

The Salesforce 2016 State of Marketing Report was produced from the survey responses of over 4,000 marketing professionals around the world and covers a number of relevant trends and issues.

Data and Technology Produce Better Results

The marketers surveyed said that 70% of their budget goes to digital marketing. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that many of the marketers that feel they’re getting the best results rely on data and technology to do marketing well. The report found that:

  • 53% of top performers are heavy tech adopters.
  • 83% of top teams use customer data to segment ads.
  • Top performers are 7.2 times more likely to use data to create personalized web experiences for customers.
  • 91% of them use data for ad targeting.

Data has re-shaped how marketers approach their work and interact with prospects, and technology is required to collect data and put it to good use.

Top Performers Have an Integrated Marketing Plan

The larger a marketing organization is, the more it risks having a disconnect between its layers. One of the things that sets top performers apart is that they do a good job of making sure their entire marketing plan is connected across departments and channels. According to the research:

  • 64% of top performers say they’re good at creating a single view of the customer.
  • Top performers are 7.7 times more likely to be working to integrate the message across sales, marketing and customer service.
  • Integrating digital marketing channels is effective for 95% of the marketers that have done so.
  • Top performers are 17.1 times more likely to be good at collaborating with other teams.

An integrated marketing plan ensures that all your marketing activities are designed to support each other and work in tandem. Unsurprisingly, that nets better results.

Customer Journey Mapping Pays Off

Customers don’t view brands as a series of independent interactions. Their opinion of a company is based on their full experience over a number of different touch points. The companies that seek to understand that ongoing experience and how each touch point relates to the others with customer journey mapping see their efforts pay off. The report shows that:

  • Top performers are 8.8 times more likely to have a customer journey strategy.
  • They’re 9.7 times as likely to be actively mapping the customer journey.
  • 73% of them say customer journey mapping has had a positive impact on customer engagement.
  • 70% say it makes customers more likely to recommend products.
  • 70% say it’s had a positive impact on revenue.
  • 67% say it’s had a positive impact on customer satisfaction.
  • 65% say it’s had a positive impact on retention.

In short, focusing on the full customer experience in your marketing improves results by all the measures that matter most.  

Digital Marketing Report

Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report focuses on a narrower aspect of the larger marketing world, but one that’s of huge importance for marketers: Google. The research includes other search engines too, but Google unsurprisingly dominates the report’s focus.

Here are some of their key findings:

  • Advertisers are spending 22% more on paid search ads than they did last quarter.
  • Ads are getting 34% more clicks.
  • The amount spent on text ads actually decreased, but the amount marketers spend on Google Shopping ads increased by 43%.
  • 53% of all paid search clicks come from users on mobile devices.
  • Organic search visits fell 7%, as SERPs are increasingly dominated by ads.
  • 46% of organic search visits come from mobile devices.
  • Only 2.8% of site visits come from social media referrals.

Search continues to be a crucial component to any marketing plan and marketers can expect that to stay the case for a long time to come. As Google continually evolves to offer different types of ad options, marketers will have to stay on their toes to figure out the best ad choices and strategies for their particular products and audience.

Keeping up with all the changes in marketing isn’t easy, but research like the reports we’ve summarized make it possible to stay on top of current trends and ensure you go forth with the latest information top of mind. Next year, we can expect a whole different batch of research reports, possibly with entirely different insights and trends. We’ll do our best to make sure you don’t miss those either.

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