Salesforce Unveils Latest State of Marketing Study Ahead of Annual Connections Conference

CHICAGO, May 21, 2024 – As Salesforce gears up for its annual Connections marketing and commerce conference, the company has released the ninth edition of its State of Marketing study. This year’s conference, themed around AI, marketing, and commerce, sets the stage for a deep dive into the future of these interconnected fields.

AI Takes Center Stage:

The study, drawing insights from over 4,800 marketers across 29 countries, reveals that AI is both the top implementation priority and the biggest challenge for marketers in the coming year. An impressive 63% of marketers currently use generative AI, with an additional 35% planning to adopt the technology within the next 18 months. Key AI applications identified include automating customer interactions, generating content, analyzing performance, automating data integration, and driving real-time best offers.

Regional Variations:

While AI is a global priority, regional differences are notable. In the US, AI implementation ranks second to improving ROI/attribution, whereas in the UK, it doesn’t even make the top five priorities. Despite these differences, both US and UK marketers cite AI implementation as their third greatest challenge. Countries prioritizing AI include South Korea, UAE, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. Interestingly, AI does not feature in the top five priorities for India and Singapore.

Challenges in AI Implementation:

Across the board, data exposure and leakage are the top concerns related to generative AI, followed by a lack of necessary data, unclear strategy or use cases, fear of inaccurate outputs, and concerns about copyright/IP issues. These challenges vary by industry. For instance, government and media/entertainment sectors worry about AI job displacement, while other sectors focus on biases, brand adherence, and general distrust of AI.

Data Integration Struggles:

Marketers use an average of nine different tactics to capture customer data, including customer service interactions (88%), transaction data (82%), mobile apps (82%), web registrations (82%), and loyalty programs (80%). However, integrating this data into a unified system remains a significant challenge. Only 31% of marketers are fully satisfied with their ability to unify customer data, and many still rely on IT support for basic marketing tasks.

The Personalization Paradox:

Despite technological advances, fewer than six in 10 marketers can fully personalize familiar channels like email and mobile messaging. This gap highlights the ongoing struggle to meet rising customer expectations for personalized experiences. Steve Hammond, EVP and GM of Marketing Cloud at Salesforce, emphasizes the importance of personalization at scale:

“Customers want to feel like they’re more than just a number. They want relevant experiences that create relationships. But personalization is still a challenge, especially at massive scale.”

Looking Ahead:

The findings from the State of Marketing study will undoubtedly fuel discussions at Connections. While the potential of AI is exciting, the need for a solid data foundation is critical for realizing its benefits. As the conference unfolds, diginomica’s Jon Reed will be on the ground in Chicago, providing updates on key insights and discussions.

About Salesforce: Salesforce is the leading AI CRM, empowering companies to connect with their customers through a unified platform that combines CRM, AI, data, and trust. For more information, visit

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