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Salesforce Research: 79% of marketers in India are already experimenting with or have fully implemented AI into their workflows 

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Salesforce has released the new State of Marketing report, sharing insights from over 4,800 marketing leaders across 29 countries — including 250 from India .

The report covers the latest trends on how marketers are evaluating and implementing AI into their operations; approaching data acquisition, maintenance, and application strategies; and ensuring customer trust and security as vulnerabilities increase. Generative AI may be relatively new, but marketers have been quick to add it to their arsenal. Globally, over half of marketers say they currently use predictive and generative AI — and nearly all marketers plan to use both types within the next 18 months.

Key insights from the research include:

  • Priorities for a new marketing era. Marketers are evolving their practices in a highly competitive landscape. They’re looking to AI — both generative and predictive — to help personalize at scale and boost efficiency.
    • Implementing / leveraging AI is marketers’ #1 priority on a global scale, as well as their biggest challenge.
    • Locally, improving use of tools and technologies is India marketers’ No. 1 priority, while building/retaining trust with customers is their No. 1 challenge.
  • Marketers shore up their data foundations. Businesses have long struggled to connect disparate data points to create consistent, personalized experiences across customer journeys. Yet as third-party cookies are depreciated and AI proliferates, that quest is only becoming more critical — and challenging.
    • 28% of marketers in India are fully satisfied with their ability to unify customer data sources.
    • 66% of marketers in India have access to real-time data to execute a campaign. 59% need the IT department’s help to do so.
    • Marketers in India use an average of 9 different tactics to collect data, with customer service data being the most common.
  • Marketers embrace AI with an eye on trust. Marketers are intent on successfully applying AI in their operations with the right data, but are concerned about security.

o   79% of marketers in India are already experimenting with or have fully implemented AI into their workflows.

o   AI implementation is also a point of differentiation: high performing marketing teams are 3.1x more likely than underperformers to have fully implemented AI within their operations.

o   The three most popular AI use cases among marketers in India are: Getting performance analytics, generate content, Programmatic advertising and media buying.

  • Full personalization remains a work in progress. To meet rising customer expectations around personalization, marketers are graduating beyond broad audience segmentations, like location or age, to more specific identifiers like individual preferences or past interactions.  There’s also a difference between how the highest- and lowest-performing marketing teams adapt.
    • High performers in India fully personalize across an average of 6.0 channels, compared with others who fully personalized across 5.0.
  • Marketers seek unified analytics. There is no shortage of data sources, but putting that data to work is a challenge — especially when it demands a holistic or long-term view of data.
    • 58% of marketers in India track customer lifetime value (CTV).
    • 92% of marketers in India say they have a clear view into marketing’s impact on revenue.
  • Deeper relationships emerge with account-based marketing (ABM) and loyalty programs. Companies are increasingly turning to strategies like ABM and loyalty programs for better acquisition and retention. Yet many of these programs’ information sources remain disjointed, as does the customer experience.
    • Only 58% of marketers in India say loyalty data is fully integrated across all touchpoints.
    • 50% of marketers in India say loyalty program functionalities are accessible across all touchpoints.
    • B2B marketers in India use ABM for customer acquisition, but less than half use it for upselling and cross-selling, 38% and 49%, respectively.

Comments on the news: 

“Today, Data and AI hold the promise of helping marketers reach customers in new, more engaging ways, but they are far from reaching their potential. Eager to make the most of every customer engagement, marketers deploy a wide variety of tactics to collect clues for better audience understanding. Today it is evident, Sales and Marketing can no longer be viewed as just another function, they are the very engines and drivers of growth for any business.  As marketers in India are prioritizing AI and Data capabilities, building and retaining customer privacy and trust poses a significant challenge. Insights from the report are valuable to marketers across the country to help them outdo their competition by embracing AI and Data, to drive loyal customers, while mitigating trust, privacy and security challenges.” Nishant Kalra, VP – Digital, Salesforce India.

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