South African marketers remain optimistic about their organisations’ futures despite unprecedented change and challenges over the recent past.

The seventh edition of Salesforce’s State of Marketing report also reveals significant investment in the tools, technologies, and channels that have become indispensable in the market-from-anywhere era.

Forty-two percent of South African marketers expect revenue growth at their organisations over the next 12 to 18 months, and 52% say their work provides greater value than it did a year ago.

Challenges are afoot, though, with 66% of South African marketers agreeing that customer expectations are more difficult to meet than they were a year ago.

To adapt, marketers are leaning into the digital transformations they had initiated prior to the pandemic. In fact, 93% of South African marketers say the pandemic changed their digital engagement strategy, and 90% say it changed their marketing channel mix.

“Over the course of a little more than a year, marketers in South Africa have navigated changes in customer behavior that normally occur over years,” says Robbie Kearns, senior Regional vice-president of Salesforce. “The insights in this year’s State of Marketing report provide a good benchmark for what’s changed, what’s consistent, and where the art and science of marketing goes from here.”

The trends revealed in the State of Marketing report were collected from a survey of over 8 200 marketing leaders across 37 countries and six continents, including 300 from South Africa. Insights include the following:

* As customers go digital, marketing steps up – Marketers are accelerating their digital transformations. Video is the marketing channel that increased in value the most in South Africa during the pandemic.

* Collaboration drives the market from anywhere era – No longer tied to offices, a distributed workforce is re-evaluating how they engage not only customers, but each other. 84% of South African marketing organisations are adopting new policies around remote work.

* Marketing is spelled D-A-T-A – Managing data is becoming more complex as sources multiply. South African marketers expect a 33% increase in the number of data sources they use between 2021 and 2022.

* Metrics and KPIs continue to evolve. As their work becomes more strategic and valuable for the business at large, marketers are re-evaluating what success looks like. Eighty-five percent of South African CMOs align their KPIs with the CEOs.