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Salesforce Report Augurs AI's Ascendancy in Elevating Customer Journeys

2024/05/24 13:22 pm | Reading Time: 4:00

Source: Salesforce State of Marketing Report

Salesforce has recently unveiled its latest State of Marketing report, presenting valuable insights gathered from over 4,800 marketing leaders across 29 countries, including 250 from India. This comprehensive report sheds light on the latest trends and challenges in the marketing landscape, particularly focusing on the integration of AI, data strategies, and customer trust.

The Rise of AI in Marketing

One of the most striking revelations from the report is the rapid adoption of AI technologies by marketers worldwide. Over half of the global marketing leaders surveyed have already incorporated predictive and generative AI into their operations. This trend is expected to continue, with nearly all marketers planning to leverage these technologies within the next 18 months. In India, 79% of marketers are either experimenting with or have fully implemented AI workflows.

AI's potential to personalize marketing at scale and boost efficiency is a significant driving force behind its adoption. However, this comes with its own set of challenges. Implementing and leveraging AI is currently the top priority for marketers globally and also their biggest hurdle. In India, improving the use of tools and technologies is the foremost priority, while building and retaining customer trust remains a critical challenge.

Data Management: The Backbone of AI

The report highlights that marketers are increasingly focusing on their data foundations to support AI initiatives. With the deprecation of third-party cookies and the rise of AI, the need to unify disparate data points has become more critical than ever. In India, only 28% of marketers are fully satisfied with their ability to unify customer data sources. Additionally, 66% have access to real-time data for campaign execution, although 59% require assistance from IT departments.

Marketers in India employ an average of nine different tactics to collect data, with customer service data being the most prevalent. This diversity in data collection methods underscores the complexity of creating consistent, personalized customer experiences.

Trust and Security in AI Adoption

As AI becomes more integral to marketing strategies, concerns around security and trust are paramount. High-performing marketing teams are significantly more likely to have fully implemented AI, which highlights the competitive edge that AI can provide. In India, the most popular AI use cases include performance analytics, content generation, and programmatic advertising and media buying.

Despite the advancements, personalisation remains a work in progress. High-performing marketing teams in India fully personalise across an average of six channels, compared to five channels by their lower-performing counterparts.

The Quest for Unified Analytics

The proliferation of data sources presents another challenge: putting data to effective use. In India, 58% of marketers track customer lifetime value (CTV), and 92% claim to have a clear view of marketing’s impact on revenue. This indicates a growing recognition of the importance of long-term data perspectives and unified analytics in driving marketing success.

Strengthening Customer Relationships

Strategies like account-based marketing (ABM) and loyalty programs are increasingly being adopted to enhance customer acquisition and retention. However, the report indicates that many of these programs' information sources remain fragmented, affecting the overall customer experience. In India, only 58% of marketers report that loyalty data is fully integrated across all touchpoints, and just 50% say loyalty program functionalities are accessible across all touchpoints.

Looking Forward

Salesforce's State of Marketing report emphasises the transformative influence of AI on the marketing landscape, acknowledging both the opportunities it presents and the challenges it introduces. Marketers navigate a complex environment, seeking to harmonise technological advancements with responsible data management and the cultivation of customer trust. As AI continues to develop, its successful integration will be a critical differentiator for high-performing marketing teams, shaping the future of personalised and data-driven marketing strategies.

Quote

“Today, Data and AI hold the promise of helping marketers reach customers in new, more engaging ways, but they are far from reaching their potential. Eager to make the most of every customer engagement, marketers deploy a wide variety of tactics to collect clues for better audience understanding. Today it is evident, Sales and Marketing can no longer be viewed as just another function, they are the very engines and drivers of growth for any business.  As marketers in India are prioritizing AI and Data capabilities, building and retaining customer privacy and trust poses a significant challenge. Insights from the report are valuable to marketers across the country to help them outdo their competition by embracing AI and Data, to drive loyal customers, while mitigating trust, privacy and security challenges.” Nishant Kalra, VP – Digital, Salesforce India.

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