Delivering effective marketing in the modern era faces most of the same challenges all aspects of the business are facing. Technology and consumer tastes are evolving at a breakneck pace — by the time you've gotten the hang of one social media channel, another has popped up that you must master quickly. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things have introduced a brave new world, with many unanswered questions for how they will impact the marketing department, as well as the business at large. To deliver a superior customer experience, marketing departments must align across the business, but crafting a 360-degree view of each customer in order to deliver the right message at the right time is increasingly difficult.

There's no doubt that there are numerous challenges. But there are also ample opportunities. Customers are creating more data than ever before — data that your business and your marketing department can leverage to craft the right message. New technology like AI and the IoT can seem daunting, but for the marketers that get it right, it can open up incredible opportunities to utilize machine learning and predictive intelligence to market smarter.

You may know that Salesforce published our fourth annual “State of Marketing” report earlier this year. With data about the customer experience, changing marketing roles, and marketers’ top challenges, this research is filled with new insights about what’s really going on in marketing today.

From that data, we’ve now pulled key metrics about what high-performing marketers are doing — that moderate and under-performing marketers aren’t.

Sound useful? Check out our brand new interactive website and content experience, the High-Performing Marketer’s Map. That map shows a roadmap to marketing success based on insights from the "State of Marketing" research.

Here, we’ll preview five of those key mile markers on the journey to success. For many more insights and charts, check out the High-Performing Marketer’s Map.


Mile Marker 1: Customer Experience Focus

Customer experience is central to a modern go-to-market strategy.

Sixty-eight percent of marketing leaders say their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. And although delivering a superior customer experience requires attention from every facet of the business, marketing leaders — particularly high performers — feel they’re leading the charge. Almost two-thirds of marketers say their team is leading customer experience initiatives across the business. Among top teams, that number rises to 89%.

Is your team sufficiently focused on improving the holistic customer experience vs. short-term gains, like campaign success?


Mile Marker 2: Artificial Intelligence

AI is the leading technology where marketers expect the most growth over the next two years. Marketers anticipate AI use will grow by 53% — a much higher rate than any other technology. As the new kid on the block, AI is attracting attention for its emerging and future marketing use cases.

About half (51%) of marketing leaders are already using AI, at least in some capacity, with more than a quarter planning to pilot it in the next two years. Unsurprisingly, high performers lead the way with 72% reporting current use. AI sounds like a sophisticated tactic, but it doesn’t mean you need to build new robots to interact with customers. AI can also include machine-learning capabilities like product recommendations and predictive lead scoring, which successful marketers have been using for years.

Are you preparing to leverage machine learning and AI technologies as part of your marketing in the coming months and years? Learn more.


Mile Marker 3: Channel Coordination

Over the past 12–18 months, 63% of all marketers say their company has become more focused on expanding marketing efforts across channels and devices. Top marketers pay special attention to how they’re coordinating marketing across channels, not just trying to communicate on as many channels as possible.

It's telling that high-performing marketers are 12.8x more likely than underperformers to heavily coordinate their marketing efforts across channels.

Are your marketing messages coordinated at every touchpoint, including sales and service?


Mile Marker 4: Sales and Marketing Alignment

Digging deeper into the habits of high performers, we see they’re at least twice as likely as underperformers to align with sales teams across the board. For starters, they collaborate with sales, share common goals and metrics, and understand how combined sales and marketing efforts impact individual accounts and customers.

Winning marketing teams keep close tabs on their sales counterparts’ needs, and value two- way communication. High performers are 2.2x more likely than underperformers to say marketing consistently provides sales with quality leads.

How do you rate your ability to effectively collaborate with sales?


Mile Marker 5: Unified Service and Marketing

In the previous mile marker, we discussed sales and marketing alignment, but service and marketing need to be in lockstep, too. High-performing marketers ensure a more consistent experience for customers by partnering with the service department.

Top teams are 2.2x more likely than underperformers to alert service to special offers and promotions — and 2.5x more likely to say service alerts them to suppress marketing when there’s a known issue.

Are you going beyond sales and marketing alignment to prioritize marketing and service alignment?

To summarize, achieving effective marketing can be divided into two buckets: focusing on the customer experience, and aligning across the company. Let's dive in a little deeper:

Focusing on the customer experience

Effective marketers view themselves as the leaders in revolutionizing the customer experience. “Customer experience” can cover a lot of ground, but in the marketer's view, one of the clearest aspects is the channels in which you interact with your customers. The knee-jerk reaction can be to ensure that there is a marketing presence on as many channels as possible. But it's about much more than that. Effective marketing relies on identifying the channels that are right for your customers, and anticipating the upcoming channels that also fit within your marketing.

Aligning across the company

Marketing is a team sport. Every time your business interacts with a customer — whether it's a support agent answering a customer's question or a salesperson making their pitch, these are marketing moments for your company. Effective marketers must align across the board to ensure the entire company is bought into the marketing vision. If they're bought in, they are more likely to go above and beyond to help reach that vision as a unified company.

You’ll find many more marketing statistics and data points in the complete High-Performing Marketer’s Map interactive. Explore this content experience now to begin your own journey toward emulating what the world’s best marketers are doing.