Salesforce APAC CMO: How marketers continue to add business value in 2023

Leandro Perez talks to CMO about the recent State of Marketing 2022 report and what it tells marketers to focus on as we go into a year of economic and market unknowns

A greater ability to demonstrate marketing return in revenue and customer terms is giving marketers confidence they’re delivering more value to their organisations. And it’s this commercial aptitude, along with stronger commitment to becoming a technologist, actioning data better and being innovative, which will be critical to riding out the economic and market unknowns of 2023.

That’s the view of Salesforce VP and CMO Asia-Pacific, Leandro Perez, who caught up with CMO to discuss the findings of the eighth annual Salesforce State of Marketing 2022 Report and what they say about marketing prioritisation and imperatives this year.

Salesforce’s research surveyed 6000 global marketers including 325 in A/NZ. It found 87 per cent of global marketers believe their work provides greater value now than it did one year ago, up 10 per cent on 2021 results. This included 84 per cent of A/NZ respondents.

Globally, 68 per cent of marketers said they’re able to analyse marketing performance in real time. What’s more, marketers are tracking more metrics year-on-year than ever before across every stage of the funnel. Key metrics used globally are revenue, customer satisfaction, Web/mobile analytics, customer acquisition costs and marketing/sales funnel.

For Perez, tracking revenue and customer satisfaction are both critical in prove marketing’s worth.

Credit: Leandro Perez

“That’s what gives us a seat at the table. When you’re able to converse on how you’re contributing directly to the bottom line, that gives you a different perspective,” he said. “It’s why I feel as marketers we’re finally getting that credibility. Marketers need to have the responsibility to own those metrics and be able to demonstrate value.

“It’s not just what we deliver today either, it’s the full customer journey, which is why customer satisfaction is important here too.”

Having strong talent that can talk to the metrics and the value is another critical piece of the jigsaw puzzle for Perez. “If all you do is gather the data, you can’t make sense of it,” he said. “The report shows us people are realising they need to skill up here.

“Having the data and being able to talk to those actionable insights is so important. You need to be able to put the bold position forward. But at the end of the day, it then needs to deliver growth or those savings for an organisation.”  

The challenges facing marketers

Even as marketers exhibited growing confidence in their value, the Salesforce report detailed hefty external and internal challenges they have to navigate. A big one is changing customer behaviours: 74 per cent of A/NZ respondents agreed customer expectations are more difficult to meet than a year ago.

Nearly one-third (31 per cent) cited budgetary constraints as a challenge in the year ahead as companies tighten their belts. In addition, 71 per cent of global marketers find it harder to retain employees than it was a year ago. Three in four are also finding it harder to collaborate compared to pre-pandemic times, turning to an average of 3.83 tools to help such as video conferencing, collaboration platforms and chat apps.   

As a result, 87 per cent of A/NZ marketers, and 91 per cent of global CMOs, agree they must continually innovate to remain competitive.

Key strategic shifts since the pandemic were highlighted in the Salesforce report. Top of the list was targeting new customer segments (38%), followed by investment in collaboration technologies (38%), investment in digital-first experiences (37%), investment in hybrid and virtual events (37%), and changing the business model (37%).

It’s worth noting across CMOs surveyed, biggest influences on digital strategy were customer preferences and expectations, competitive pressure and budget.

Data and technology imperatives

Data and technology are critical enablers in all of this. When it comes to data imperatives, Salesforce found marketers continuing to pivot to zero-party and first-party data sets. Although 78 per cent of A/NZ marketers said they still invest in third-party data, 60 per cent cited a fully defined strategy to migrate from these sources. This compared to 68 per cent of marketers globally. And this is despite further delays to the final demise of cookies.  

In A/NZ as well as globally, 83 per cent of marketing organisations are engaging customers in real time across one or more marketing channels. Helping this is automation acceleration. In A/NZ, 90 per cent said they’re using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate customer interactions and data integration. Additionally, two-thirds have shifted marketing attribution models to an automated process. 

To continue driving progress, Perez stressed the necessity of marketers becoming technologists who lead with a data-driven approach.

“As soon as I came into the role here, I was telling my team we have to think like technologists and lead with data,” he commented. “Many people in marketing are more used to demand generation and advertising. We now have these tools that are very powerful and we all need to lean in. You don’t just want to have a specialist person doing that job because it’s part of everything we do as marketers now.

Consolidation of technology and unification of data are further imperatives. Salesforce’s research showed up to 18 data sources being used by marketers right now. Marketers expect the number of data sources they use to increase by 50 per cent from 2021. 

“How you consolidate to get a single view of the customer, is key. Otherwise you’re making it more difficult on yourself, rather than making it easier,” Perez said. “Once you achieve this kind of consolidation, it helps you deliver and accelerate the value of marketing. It gives you benefits – cost savings, productivity, efficiencies and benefits, which is what everyone wants to hear, particularly the CEO and CFO.”

Another technology investment outcome increasingly sought by Salesforce customers such as Big Red Group and White Fox is good process around the handover between marketing and service.

“If you’re emailing customers promotions or offers and there’s a ticket that needs to be raised to handle something in a different system with a different group, that’s often where inefficiencies lie,” Perez explained. “With White Fox, for example, the priority was being able to pull together the platform doing SMS, email, push and their service and reducing things that used to take weeks or hours to minutes to resolve.”

As to external engagement methods, Salesforce’s research found A/NZ marketers investing in new channels and technologies to reach audiences in new places. Top channels in terms of growth are TV/OTT (+27%), digital content (+9%), video (+8%). Top marketing tactics for growth meanwhile are pre-produced video (+10%), livestream video (+21%), interactive content (+37%), influencer marketing (+8%) and user-generated content (+14%).

Even so, email marketing remains the dominant channel, accounting for over 80 per cent of all outbound marketing messages.   

“What was surprising to me is how strong email continues to be. But SMS push is rising and you’ll see more innovative brands using this is interesting ways and for things like transactional messages, such as keeping you up to date on order,” Perez said in response to these findings.

We’re all in it together

More broadly, marketers cited their five top priorities are to improve use of tools and technologies; to experiment with new marketing strategies and tactics; to modernise tools and technologies; to build and retain trust with customers; and to balance personalisation with customer comfort levels.

“I was surprised, although I shouldn’t be, that we all share so many of the same challenges,” Perez said. “There are many customers, not matter what industry or if they’re B2B or B2C, that feel it’s all coming together and we’re facing the same challenges. It’s a good thing, because it means we can provide common frameworks and suggestions for how we work together.”

For Perez, the research also demonstrated how Australia is catching up on the data and technology front.

“Over the last few years, and perhaps because of the pandemic, we have caught up and accelerated. Australians like to lead from the front, but sometimes you see something significant to make us change the direction we were heading in,” he said. “In the report and particularly in the A/NZ segment, we were leading in many of those questions. And we’re leading on change.”

With the rise of socially conscious consumers, Perez believed marketing leaders have further opportunity to show how brand and business can be platforms for change.

“In times like these, the consumer is very conscious of every change happening in the world and how we react to them as brands,” he said. “That moment when your brand comes into motion – that’s when a consumer may be thinking about what that company has done and am I aligned with them.”

Salesforce itself has embarked on brand campaigning and unveiled the #teameearth campaign and sustainability platform featuring Matthew McConaughey last year.

“We’re in business to do business, but we also believe many business leaders do care about these values. Marketing is in a unique spot to help bridge those two,” Perez said. “More and more, the role of the CMO is to ensure the values you have internally become available externally. And you push the company to continue to do what is expected of them.”

Continuing to lead marketing in 2023 will require resiliency and bold decision-making, Perez agreed. “A CMO doesn’t own everything. But the right leaders are putting their foot forward,” he added.

“They won’t always get it right but it’s important we do take a stance. There is no other department with as much customer insight, pulse on the market and the skills to stitch a narrative together on those.”  

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here.  

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page


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