Here Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce dissects the 2017 State of Marketing Report. Although he has an obvious commercial agenda, the insight into the growing importance of technology, particularly the use of AI plus the shift to customer experience makes for interesting reading.  It's fifty pages of insights and data that provides food for thought.

For me, the 10 key take outs are:

  1. Marketing still seems to struggle to justify its contribution to the business (15% of marketing & sales organizations ranked as high performers in a HBR study)
  2. Despite advances in martech and big data, gaining a single view of the customer continues to be a challenge for marketing
  3. That said, martech is making waves and is cultivating a data driven culture among marketers and marketing driven businesses
  4. As we at Hotwire have noted in our Trends report, AI is the technology where marketers expect most growth in the next two years
  5. Customer experience is the brand battle ground with marketing teams leading the charge in building customer experience initiatives, providing a consistent multi-channel experience, and driving personalisation
  6. Again, as predicted in our Trends Report, the use of video is the fastest growing area of spend on channels
  7. High performing marketers are 12.8x more likely to coordinate their efforts across multiple channels --this speaks to the importance of integrated thinking in marketing and communications
  8. Marketing analytics is on the rise - 92% are using or expect to use these tools in the next two years
  9. The focus on the customer journey is having a major impact on roles within marketing
  10. The economic impact of AI on new jobs and company revenues is staggering - it will boost revenues by $1.1trillion by end of 2021 according to IDC

The implications of this study on the delivery of great communications is profound. In an era when the brand is defined more by the experience that the product, the importance of joined up thinking between communications (external & internal) and the marketing strategy becomes critical.