As the COVID-19 pandemic spread at a rapid pace in March 2020, businesses around the world made the move to remote work and virtual collaboration seemingly overnight.
But this pace of change did not stop there. With the world adjusting to a ‘new normal’, marketers were made to test out new techniques and ideas as a result of the pandemic, with the top-performing marketers leading this move.
That’s according to new research from Salesforce’s Datorama. The company’s second-ever Marketing Intelligence Report surveyed 1,050 decision-making marketers from the U.S., Australia, U.K., France, Germany, Japan, and Singapore about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed marketing and the role of marketing in businesswide growth.
The study shows that 42 per cent of high performers spent time testing out new strategies/tactics during the pandemic, while 17 per cent of low performers did the same. This pressure to experiment with new strategies was sometimes a result of lower budgets, with nearly one in three reporting a decrease in their marketing and advertising budgets.
Data: a double-edged sword
With marketers using an average of 21 marketing and advertising platforms, data integration and management is now hugely important.
Just one-third of marketers surveyed said they had full confidence in the accuracy of their data, with data veracity (data that is consistent or complete) and the ability to connect and unify data from multiple sources revealed to be the top concerns.
To address these data management issues, marketers are turning to automated technologies as a way to ensure consistency. More than 50 per cent of marketers said they use an automated technology to integrate data from different platforms.
However, one-third of marketers still integrate and harmonise this data manually. And while this might save on the cost of an automated solution, manual data management has proven costly in terms of time, with 43 per cent of marketers spending a week or more every month collecting, cleansing and harmonising datasets.
A future of data-driven transformations
With marketers now privy to the importance of data in driving outcomes, the report highlights the steps being taken to make improvements.
Top priorities include optimizing marketing spend, creating a strategic view of overall marketing performance, and improving their ability to understand and engage customers.
To achieve these goals, marketers are focusing more closely on data accessibility, optimising marketing budget and securing accurate, validated data.
There is also a push to create a ‘data-driven culture’ within businesses to support these transformation projects in the near future, according to Salesforce.
This starts with gaining support from the executive leadership, with 60 per cent of respondents revealing they have had success here.
Additionally, 58 per cent said that tracking ROI across each marketing investment was helping create a more data-driven culture.
To find out more about how marketers are driving a data-driven culture and the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted marketing operations, download Salesforce’s Marketing Intelligence Report here.
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