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Apparently email is the most effective tool in a marketer's arsenal, and other findings from Salesforce's annual senior marketing survey.
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Canadian marketers are more likely than other marketers around the globe to boost or maintain their advertising budgets in the coming year, according to a new study from Salesforce on the state of the marketing nation.

The survey, which polled 5,000 senior marketers around the globe, including nearly 250 in Canada, found that 96% of Canadian respondents said they plan to increase or maintain their spend in 2015, while 34% plan to shift some of their spend from traditional advertising to digital initiatives. This compares to 84% of marketers globally who plan to increase or maintain their spend, and 38% who plan to shift their spend to digital. Globally, social media, location-based marketing and mobile apps will be the biggest recipients of this digital shift. In Canada, however, social media, video, mobile push notifications and mobile applications will get the bulk of the new funds.

Interestingly, email marketing was named the most effective tool in marketers’ digital arsenals, with 68% saying it’s effective or very effective, and 21% saying it’s somewhat effective. Sixty percent of respondents said email marketing was a critical enabler of products and services, up from 42% in 2014. In Canada, 69% believe email marketing is core to their business.

Click-through rates remain the top measure of success among 47% of marketers for those using email marketing tools. Conversion rate follows at 43%.

Social media, content and location-based mobile tracking followed email marketing in their effectiveness, with 67% of respondents saying they found all three very effective or effective. Blogging, display/banner ads, corporate website and native advertising were at the bottom of the list of effectiveness.

When it comes to mobile, 46% say they’re using some form of mobile advertising (up from 23% in 2014), and dedicated teams are on the rise, with 58% saying they have staff strictly for mobile, up from 35% in 2014 (in Canada, 59% have dedicated staff). One of mobile’s most coveted functions – location-based tracking – may also take off in the next year, with 50% of marketers saying they plan to use or are currently piloting a marketing campaign utilizing this technology.

Social media continues to dominate conversations, with 66% of marketers saying social media is core to their business. That same number (66%) also have teams on staff dedicated to social media marketing, a 9% increase from 2014.

When it comes to specific social channels, Facebook continues to dominate, with 80% currently using the channel, followed by Twitter (60%), LinkedIn (62%), Google+ (56%) , YouTube (56%), blogging (34%), Instagram (34%) and video of any kind (27%). However, despite its popularity, only 73% of marketers believe that Facebook is very effective/effective, surpassed by video at 81%. Smaller social channel Tagged  (which bills itself as a social discovery site that allows people to network and play games with one another) tops the list as most effective, with 86% of those who use it saying it is very effective/effective.

Channels on the rise in 2015 include podcasts (probably a direct result of the popularity of Serial), with 30% saying they plan to use or are currently piloting a program on the platform over the next 12 months. This is followed by Instagram (29%), Vine (28%) and Mobage, a mobile social network for casual games (27%).

When it comes to top challenges in digital advertising, new business development, quality of (consumer) leads and keeping up to date with current marketing technology and trends were ranked as the top obstacles for marketers around the globe, with more than a quarter of respondents listing at least one of these three choices (respondents could name multiple obstacles). Budgetary constraints challenged 23% of marketers, while keeping pace with competitors affected 21% of responders.

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