Although digital engagement was far from new prior to the pandemic, the events of last year have brought about changes in marketing that will likely have a lasting impact on how companies interact with prospects and customers into the future. This can be seen in findings from a report [download page] from Salesforce showing that 9 in 10 marketing leaders believe that their digital engagement strategy has completely (48%) or somewhat (42%) changed since before the pandemic.
It stands to reason that marketers follow customers to the channels they are using most. In the case of the pandemic, when customers headed to digital channels to consume content or do things they would have possibly done through more traditional channels, marketers were forced to step up their use of digital marketing. As such, 84% of the more than 8,000 global marketing leaders from B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies agree that customer expectations are changing their digital strategies.
That’s not to say that the need to change digital strategies hasn’t presented difficulties for some. About one-third (34%) agree that they struggle to innovate their marketing technologies, tactics and strategies.
Tactics for Digital Engagement
Marketers around the world have certainly adopted the use of digital channels. A vast majority are using social media (91%), digital ads (91%), digital content (88%), website and apps (86%), email (76%) and mobile (69%). Some 9 in 10 also say they are using video, which topped the list of channels that have seen the biggest increase in value over the past year.
While 84% of respondents say they are using events and sponsorship, the shift towards virtual and hybrid events is apparent. By 2022, respondents believe that 40% of their events will be virtual, while hybrid events will account for 30%.
In order to engage with customers on these digital channels, marketers are enlisting a full toolbox of engagement tactics. Unsurprisingly, video plays a major role. Some 81% are using pre-produced video and 73% are using livestream video, while 13% and 19%, respectively, have plans to use these tactics.
Two-thirds of marketers are currently using influencer marketing, while more than one-quarter (27%) plan to use it. Additionally, about 9 in 10 are either currently using (60%) or plan to use (33%) user-generated content, and a similar share are currently using (61%) or plan to use (30%) interactive content.
Tech’s Role in Digital Engagement
Coordination across the channels being used has edges even further towards dynamic since the pandemic. Only about 3 in 10 (31% of) marketers described their cross-channel coordination as dynamic in 2018. Today, that share has more than doubled (68%), with 8 in 10 (78%) saying they engage customers in real-time across one or more marketing channels.
The role technology plays in this real-time engagement has not gone unnoticed, as a full 83% of respondents say their work will be more technology-driven after the pandemic than it was before.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a May-June 2021 survey of 8,227 marketing leaders from B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies across the world.