November 2, 2016 Raz Chorev

What makes a top performing marketing team?

A recent study published by, uncovered traits and characteristics of Top Performing marketing teams from around the world. The survey illustrated the shift in marketing focus, depicting the make up of a top performing marketing team – what they focus on, which environment they play in, their collaboration practices, and more.

SFDC ( is one of the largest technology platforms providers, providing sales & marketing software to a wide variety of companies. The research teams surveyed close to 4000 marketers from around the world. The respondents work in B2B and B2C environments, in various positions (from marketing analyst to CEO/CMO). Survey participants came from a wide variety of industries, and company sizes, from micro businesses to LARGE enterprises.

Top performing marketing team

The survey highlights 9 prominent areas where top performing marketing teams focus on, and invest their resources on:

  1. Customer Journey Strategy – a defined customer journey map helps marketers increase customer engagement.
  2. Integrated Customer Experience – building a single view of the customer, breaking barriers between various business units, and bridging the gaps between marketing, sales, service and operations, creates a unified and seamless customer experience.
  3. Adopting technology – MarTech (Marketing Technology) is a growing focus of top performers. They invest in marketing analytics, predictive intelligence and other tools to better manage marketing activities.
  4. Alignment with business leadership – [bctt tweet=”The world’s best marketing teams have buy-in from company leaders. As such, marketing budgets are more likely to be prioritised.” username=”OrangeskyCMO”]
  5. Omni-Channel integration – orchestrating Social Media and other digital marketing channels with offline channels produces better results, according to 95% of marketers.
  6. Mobile Marketing – in the past year, every aspect of mobile usage has risen. There was a 98% growth in mobile apps usage for marketing purposes, and 111% increase in SMS usage.
  7. Personalising emails – using predictive intelligence and data analysis to personalise email campaigns to fit customer behaviours and preferences.
  8. Social Media beyond marketing – Aligning social media usage across marketing, sales and customer service. Then using the data (quantitive and qualitative) to make better business decisions.
  9. Advertising on social platforms – significantly increased investment in social media advertising (boosting / sponsoring posts, etc.). Customer data is used by over 80% of marketers to segment and target advertising.

Top concerns for marketers

It’s interesting to see the difference between the top performers and the rest, when it comes to Business challenges. The Top Performance Marketing Team is challenged with Keeping Pace with Customers, and Talent acquisition, as oppose to dealing with shrinking budgets, and bringing more customers on board.

Main Concerns for a top performing marketing team


Customer Journey

Top marketers know that identifying the customer journey is an ongoing pursuit. Whether a marathon or a series of sprints, well-executed journeys must be contextual to the moment and personalised to individual customers. From adopting strategy to actively mapping touch-points, high-performing marketing leaders make the customer journey a priority. Use this CMO Guide to Mapping the Customer Journey.

The top performing marketing team focusing on customer journey design, according to the survey, show decreased churn rates, and a direct contributing impact on revenue growth.

Integrating Customer Experience Although the customer experience encompasses multiple business units, top marketers are paving the way and owning this single, shared view of the customer. Successful marketing leaders are crossing boundaries between business units in order to orchestrate all customer touch-points into a seamless experience. Top performers are leading this shift to attain a single view of the customer.

Often, touchpoints of the customer experience live outside of marketing in either sales or customer service. Top marketers are knocking down the silos to gain a single view — and, more importantly, to deliver a unified experience, at least from a customer’s perspective. For marketers to lead customer experiences across business units, requires companywide support and collaboration. There’s a growing corporate mindset shift to build bridges between departments, with the goal of ensuring a holistic approach to the customer experience.

A unifed customer experience across channels and touchpoints — whether marketing, sales, service, or even product — is more important than ever. Companies that are achieving that consolidated experience have a jump on the competition in the eyes of their customers.

Adopting Technologies

New technology and tools play a significant role in the day-to-day operations the top performing marketing team. [bctt tweet=”Among marketers at all performance levels, 63% will increase spending on marketing tools and technology over the next two years.” username=”OrangeSkyChiefs”]

Successful marketing teams are not only using more tech — they’re notably using more advanced types of tech. Main technologies adopted by marketing leaders include:

  • Marketing Analytics
  • Data targeting and segmentation
  • Marketing Automation systems
  • Predictive Intelligence
  • Proximity marketing using beacons
  • IoT (Internet of Things) and connected devices
  • Wearable tech.

Alignment with Business Leadership

High-performing marketing teams are supported from the top down. 83% of high-performing marketers have the executive team’s complete commitment to their marketing strategy.  When the commitment to marketing starts at the very top, marketing leaders are given adequate resources to execute their strategies, for optimal results. This includes better market research, better technology, building better products, smarter distribution channels, and flexible pricing strategies, which all built to provide a better experience for the customer.

Omni-Channel integration

“Your customers are cross-channel so your marketing must be cross-channel”. It’s been said countless times because it’s true — but even from the marketer’s point of view, the lines between channels grow blurrier by the minute. A perfect example of this convergence is that 82% of high performers consider advertising on social platforms to be part of their mobile marketing efforts.

Mobile Marketing

As marketers learn to better utilise mobile technologies to their advantage, a strategic approach to mobile marketing helps keep the right kind of activities, as technologies rapidly change and evolve. For example, as Windows OS is gaining marketshare (mainly in North America), marketing leaders are expanding their activities on that platform as well as the others, taking into account their strategic directive. The below chart illustrates marketing leaders adoption of various mobile operating systems, by year:

Top Performing Marketing Team - Mobile Marketing OS usage 2016

Personalising Emails

80% of marketing leaders agree that email marketing is core activity. Data from previous years’ surveys show rapid increase (3X) in using email marketing as a critical activity and a primary revenue source, and have direct impact on business performance.

Frequency is one of the most important keys to email marketing success. 53% of top performing marketers are sending emails at least once per day. Over 81% are sending a minimum of 2 emails per week!

Social Media beyond marketing

In 2015, three of the top five areas where marketers planned to increase their spending involved social outlets. This year, those investments appear to be turning a profit. The link between social marketing and revenue increased 3x over the last year.  Nearly half (48%) of marketers reporting that social media marketing is directly linked to their business’ primary revenue source.

Social provides an open platform for two-way communication between businesses and customers that’s hard to replicate elsewhere. Social channels give marketers a forum to build digital rapport on a highly personalised scale — one retweet, like, and comment at a time.

Top marketing teams understand the need for real-time communication and engagement on social channels. The most successful marketers excel at replying in a timely manner across all social networks.

To be truly effective, social media marketing efforts can’t live in a silo. Top teams understand this and use social listening to better understand their audiences and the market.

Social Marketing Meets Social Customer Service – 84% of high-performing marketing teams align their social media marketing strategy with other social activities such as customer service.

Advertising on social platforms

A majority of marketing leaders are increasing ad spending. Here we see the percentage who plan to increase spending across digital advertising channels.

Top performing marketing team - ad spending ratio

Data-Driven Advertising Takes Center Stage

A large majority of marketers use data to segment or target advertising. 52% of marketers are using a combination of Customer, Demographics AND website activity data to segment and target their online advertising audience.

In order to create a unique experience based on real customer identity, 83% of high performers use customer data (e.g., email or phone data) to segment or target ads, 1.5x more often than underperformers.

Top Performing marketing team - using customer data to target online advertising


Today’s top performing marketers aren’t working in a silo. They collaborate with other business units, align goals and strategy with the business, and leveraging technology to optimise and expand activities.  Continuously evolving, they focus on creating and delivering optimal value to their customers, using other business units to provide a seamless, unified and engaging customer journey.

If we want to become those top performers, we must learn from them, adapt and change our own behaviour, seeking the support and buy-in from our business leadership. What will happen if we don’t? I assume you already know the answer for that question.

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