It's a big world of marketing technology, as we reported earlier this week.

It's an even bigger world of people that marketers are trying to connect with through those technologies. The more marketers know about those people and where they get information, the better.

"Everybody is dealing with the rapid evolution of marketing," said Jeff Rohrs, vice president of marketing insights at Salesforce, which this week released the Salesforce Marketing Cloud 2015 State of Marketing Report, its annual flagship research report based on data from more than 5,000 global marketers. "... The good news is we've never had more ways to connect with consumers. The bad news is we've never had more ways to connect with consumers."

What's the Magic Bullet?

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But is it really bad news? It can be.

Unless, of course, you target, target, target. Know thy audience. Kevin Costner's character in "Field of Dreams" learned, "If you build it, he will come." For today's marketers, it's more like, "If you go to where he is, he will be there."

"Marketers have to realize there are not going to be any magic bullets that they're going to find in headlines of articles (Ed. Note: We'll let that slide, Jeff)," Rohrs told us. "They are going to find magic bullets when they get close to their customers and their customers' journey and they understand the channels their consumers use. It's going to be different industry to industry, even different competitor to competitor because of the nature of your sales approach and even the nature of your brand."

So what did marketers tell Salesforce in the report released this week?

  • 86 percent of senior-level marketers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey across all touchpoints and channels
  • 84 percent of marketers plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets in 2015, and social and mobile budget increases are at the top of the list
  • 70 percent plan to increase social advertising and social media marketing budgets (27 percent year-over-year and 23 percent year over year increases, respectively)
  • 65 percent plan to spend more on mobile push notifications, a 32 percent year over year increase 
  • 73 percent agree that email is core to their business (up 7 percent), and 59 percent plan to increase email marketing budgets in 2015. One-third indicated their subscribers are reading emails at least half of the time on mobile devices.
  • 66 percent last year primarily viewed social media marketing as indirectly impacting their business performance, whereas 64 percent now view it as a critical enabler of products and services

What the Numbers Mean

The marketers' responses signal a "healthy global economy" and "optimism for the marketing department which has kind of been like the canary in the coal mine a bit," Rohrs told CMSWire.

Rohrs also cited a "renewed state of respect for email" with 92 percent finding email as an important ROI generator.

"We have just gone through a giant social bloom of roses where it was the hottest topic, and younger marketers listed email as the red-headed stepchild," Rohrs said. "But now we're in a phase that social is being measured by ROI and people are beginning to embrace email as a messaging channel that works. It is the connective tissue -- getting addresses and permission to speak to people in that channel. It's one of the No. 1 apps used on Smartphones."

Social and mobile are leading the way in terms of where marketers will spend time and money. Rohrs said marketers have moved beyond mobile as just a "nice to have," and more plan to build native mobile apps. 

As for social, its stature has risen in organizations as a "critical enabler" of products and services, according to the Salesforce report. 

"The value of social media advertising has risen," Rohrs said, "because you're spending direct dollars and you're getting dollars out, and the C-Suite is beginning to see the value."

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Title image by  Paolo Camera.