More marketers are turning to ad spend rather than sponsorships for awareness

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Currently, the largest portion of marketing funds is spent on winning mindshare via advertising. In fact, advertising spend jumped three percentage points for B2B marketers and four percentage points for B2C marketers since 2022 — reflecting the fierce competition for brand awareness. These were the findings according to Salesforce’s latest report “State of Marketing”.

In contrast, B2B and B2C marketers saw a three percentage point decrease in event and sponsorship budget allocations, suggesting teams are looking to improve visibility without the overhead of in-person activities.

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While at least one-tenth of budgets is dedicated to agency support, both B2B and B2C marketers have pulled back on the use of external partners since 2022, signaling marketers have less support and more work to take on themselves.

Struggles with data and channels

At the same time, only 32% of marketers are completely satisfied with how they use customer data to create relevant experiences. Many marketers are looking to deepen their customer relationships through loyalty programs and omni-channel experiences, but satisfaction is low on these initiatives too. On average, only one in three marketers is fully satisfied with performance on core initiatives, highlighting a gap between expectations and outcomes.

On average, marketers engage customers across an average of 10 channels. Around 78% of marketers are satisfied with their ability to engage customers across channels, but this overall figure masks a large divide between high and low performers. Half of underperformers struggle to engage customers across more than one channel while 93% of high performers are satisfied with engaging customers across channels.

Many marketers are also neglecting organic search, which can be among the most effective channels. The report added that more than 450,000 businesses, 88% of B2B sites and 58% of B2C retail sites are found through unbranded search.

Lifecycle approach for personalisation

Creating a unique brand experience requires ongoing, targeted engagement throughout the customer journey. A lifecycle approach is when marketers personalise content along the entire customer journey — from onboarding to retention and ongoing support.

This can be particularly challenging during early stages, when less customer data is available. Such constraints could explain why marketers are more likely to personalise content for established customers than onboarding materials for newcomers. Still, 43% of marketers take a fragmented approach to personalisation — demonstrating an understanding of customer needs at certain stages and leveraging mass messaging at others.

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