Social networks and mobile channels are likely to be the main focus for the efforts of company marketing departments worldwide in 2015.

Global cloud computing company Salesforce surveyed over 5,000 marketers around the world for a recent report – ‘2015 State of Marketing’ – and the conclusions are pretty clear. During the coming year, the main focus for marketing professionals will be on social networks and mobile devices. These results concur with those of a recent report from New York-based independent market research company eMarketer, which expects to see strong growth in digital advertising in France. In answer to the question “Why is social media marketing core to your business?” 64% of those polled said they saw it as ‘a critical enabler of products and services’.  And when the same question was asked about mobile channels the percentage worked out even higher. Moreover, the respondents mention ‘remaining up to date with current marketing technology and trends’ as one of the most pressing business challenges for marketers, at the same level as ‘new business development’. “Globally, consistently, everyone believes they are lagging behind, or are not doing things in the right manner,” reveals Jeffrey Rohrs, Vice President for Marketing Insights at Salesforce, in the report.

Digital proving effective

The top three areas of digital marketing in terms of expected investment growth this year are social media advertising, social media marketing, and social media engagement. “This shows that marketers understand that in order to run a successful advertising campaign they really need to engage in social media,” argues Jeffrey Rohrs. These three areas are followed in order of importance by location-based mobile tracking and mobile apps. However, in spite of this enthusiasm, mobile remains a tricky area for companies, many of which are still finding it difficult to adapt their marketing strategies to this channel. As regards the current use and effectiveness of digital marketing approaches and technologies, email marketing, social media advertising and social media listening are the top three strategic channels mentioned by Salesforce’s respondents. By contrast, says the report, “blogging, display/banner ads, corporate website, and native advertising had the highest number of marketers saying they didn’t know whether they’d use them, showing a need for greater training and education around these techniques.”

Customer-centred strategies

Some 32% of the marketers polled pinpointed revenue generation as the number one metric of a successful marketing strategy going forward, but customer satisfaction came in a close second, with 30% of respondents mentioning customer satisfaction as one of their top metrics. The report highlights the fact that: “Increasingly, marketers are shifting attention from traditional metrics like conversion rates and return on investment to metrics that better reflect customer satisfaction.” In the same vein, an increasing number of marketers are now designing their entire marketing strategy to ensure a “cohesive customer journey” – incorporating all the interactions a customer might have with brands, products and services via a range of touch-points and distribution channels. Here too mobile takes the top spot for 2015, with 50% of the marketers polled saying they regard smartphone apps the most eff­ective technology for creating a cohesive customer journey.

By Pauline Canteneur