As many companies tighten their belts amidst rising macroeconomic uncertainty, interest rates and costs of doing business, marketers are having to make strategic investments with finite resources.

In spite of all this change, marketers are more determined than ever about the value they bring to the business as post-pandemic trends continue to emerge. This is according to Salesforce’s 8th State of Marketing report, which surveyed 6,000 marketers across 35 countries to understand how marketers are innovating to meet evolving customer needs. Globally, 87% of marketers say their work provides greater value now than it did a year ago. In Singapore, that number rises to 92%, an 18% jump from last year.

Responding to economic headwinds, preparing for the retirement of third-party cookies, and removing silos to enhance the customer experience, marketing leaders face a huge challenge to balance customer data, personalisation, and trust.

Redefining customer engagement with innovative channels and tactics

Innovation is essential as customer expectations evolve, and marketers continue to adapt as channels rise and fall in popularity. For instance, with the easing of pandemic related restrictions, events and sponsorship opportunities have returned, and are seeing the largest increase in usage in the last year by Singapore’s marketers. This is alongside other channels like television and over-the-top (OTT), as well as websites and apps, which have also seen a spike in usage.

With data playing a more important role than ever in understanding and reaching audiences, marketers are investing in tools and technologies that unify data efficiently, allowing brands to create unique customer profiles, execute automated campaigns, and infuse personalisation at scale. It comes as no surprise then that Singapore marketers have identified improving their use of technology and unifying customer data sources as their top priorities to help meet the moment.

Personalisation is about more than just targeted messaging, it’s hyper-personal understanding. This explains why, as demand for data-driven, personalised, and scalable customer experiences continues to rise, more than half of marketers surveyed globally say they have invested in the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Leveraging dynamic customer insights is essential to every businesses’ ability to adapt its strategies and optimise the impact of each interaction.

As technologies continue to revolutionise the ways data is collected and understood, brands that are willing to innovate in new spaces stand a greater chance of attracting broad customer bases.

51% of marketers globally say they have a strategy for Web3, with virtual products and VR and/or AR use cases being the most common. For the 49% of marketers who don’t yet have a Web3 strategy, unique digital assets like cryptocurrency, the metaverse, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could present new opportunities for brands to collect first-party data in a cookie-less world.

Balancing personalisation and privacy

Marketers know that transformative, customer-centric engagement relies on data – and lots of it.

Yet serving up personalisation is not without its complications, particularly when it comes to understanding compliance of emerging privacy policies and regulations. What’s more, as consumers grow more aware of data privacy, their peace of mind is essential to companies unlocking the benefits of personalisation. In fact, balancing personalisation with customer comfort was ranked the top challenge marketers are facing in Singapore.

While not all third-party data is cookie-related, marketers will need to reconcile this strategy with looming changes in privacy regulations, to ensure they’re using customer data responsibly and evolving to collect zero- and first-party data. Forward looking marketers in Singapore are already responding to these policy shifts, with about two-thirds (67%) of them saying that they have a fully defined strategy to shift from third-party data.

Investing in analytics

For organisations hoping to boost efficiencies and maximise value, identifying the right marketing metrics to track and show value is a business imperative.

In order to understand if their efforts are moving the needle, analytics is becoming a vital part of any marketing strategy. 79% of organisations in Singapore engage customers in real time across one or more marketing channels, and there is an opportunity for organisations to leverage real time analytics to inform industry and customer trends. The faster companies can unlock these insights, the quicker they can respond to customer needs and make informed decisions that will drive business growth.

Marketers: It’s time to embrace our unique position

With rising customer expectations, challenges around data management, and changing KPIs, marketers have their work cut out for them. And milliseconds matter in this new digital-first world. By prioritising personalisation, investing in the right tools to collaborate, collect and safely store data, and show value through analytics, marketers can continue playing a core role in driving business success.

As marketing teams rise to the occasion, technology is their greatest ally.