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Skills gap holding marketers back from full potential of AI

Marketers in Australia and New Zealand believe that a “connected” customer journey is key to a successful customer engagement strategy, according to the State of Marketing report published by Salesforce recently.

In its fourth annual report, the business software giant surveyed over 3,500 marketing leaders around the world, including 700 in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, to learn how they view the customer experience today.

Across the board, respondents said that creating a “connected” journey is crucial to engage customers. On average, one-third of today’s marketing budget is spent on channels respondents didn’t know existed five years ago.

Over the next two years, artificial intelligence (AI) and connected devices (Internet of Things) are expected to rack up the highest growth in usage, at 53 per cent and 34 per cent respectively year on year.

Locally, 59 per cent of ANZ marketers are using AI extensively or on a limited basis, while 23 per cent are piloting or planning to use AI within the next two years.

Most marketers in this region also believe AI is absolutely or very essential to creating a one-to-one customer experience across every touchpoint, something Salesforce JAPAC director of advertising products Kevin Doyle says is increasingly important.

“Artificial intelligence has moved from being theoretical to being part of the arsenal of technologies available to marketers, powering greater personalisation and the building of customer journeys at scale. The leading marketers in 2017 will be the ones who adopt these capabilities before their competitors,” Doyle said.

However, data analysis and insights remains one of the biggest barriers to getting a comprehensive view of the customer across all channels. Recruiting people with the right skillset is also difficult.

ANZ marketers cite the lack of skills, along with budget constraints and privacy concerns as the top barriers preventing them from fully tapping into marketing automation and AI.

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