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What a year it’s been for this community! It’s been a year unlike any other, with unexpected challenges and unprecedented change. It’s also been a year of inspiring efforts and new opportunities for marketers. The way we see the world may well have changed in the course of 2020. There is no simple way to sum up 2020. Disruption, uncertainty, awakening. Resilient, hopeful, heroic.

Last year was certainly challenging in many ways. While most will be happy to see the back of what's been a challenging year, it's also worth reflecting and recognizing what we've been able to accomplish. From SAP CX Marketing, here is the look back on what the year 2020 meant, and what marketers can learn from and take into 2021.

We also found a few moments to celebrate some notable accomplishments, including delivering more than fifty customer-driven innovations and innovative features across four releases in 2020. We're proud that the innovations from SAP Marketing Cloud have helped many of our customers in navigating through the uncertainty. They have crafted an agile marketing strategy with some of the recent innovations from SAP Marketing Cloud to speed up marketing’s response to opportunities and threats and build resilience into their marketing budget.

Here’s a roundup of those and other reflections from the year that have meant the most to us—and you.


Marketing got a reboot this year – a new marketing agility and resilience recipe is emerging

As B2B marketers navigate a constantly evolving ecosystem, the need for B2B marketing transformation that puts agility and resilience at the fore has become urgent. It is pointing towards a marketing strategy that emphasizes capabilities in both areas that provide flexibility to adapt to stay ahead as well as the ability to quickly recover when they get disrupted. Just like a chef that focuses on the key elements of good cooking, a good cookbook that focuses on the key elements of any recipe, will bring the right level of scientific insight to raise the bar of cooking and help you master your cooking skills.

Check out the Performance Art: Best Practices for B2B Marketing Organizations article.

Many businesses have referred to the global pandemic as a black swan event. As businesses work to reinvent their product, channel and demand strategies in the midst of uncertainties, disruptions and changing customer needs brought on by the pandemic, marketing leaders need to rethink approaches to B2B marketing and building anew to navigate change and create resilient marketing plans. The focus of B2B marketing success has become a significant opportunity to refine planning, operations and market strategy, enabling performance and agility at a speed and intelligence previously thought impossible.


Powering the intelligent marketer for the Intelligent Enterprise

Now more than ever, customers expect brands to be with them every step of the way as they navigate the new normal. Changing customer behavior and demand are giving rise to both opportunities and challenges, and to stay relevant marketers are looking at new ways to maintain connection and engagement with their customers.

At SAP Marketing Cloud, our mission is to help brands accelerate their business outcomes by enabling marketers to deliver personalized omnichannel experiences at every touchpoint of the customer relationship, understand and optimize what’s working with intelligence and analytics, and connect interactions across the enterprise.
“In order for marketers to deliver a seamless experience, they need a seamless experience themselves. Marketers want to spend less time configuring, and more time strategizing and differentiating.”

- Joanna Milliken, Head of SAP Marketing Cloud

Hear more from Joanna Milliken below and discover the expanding opportunities in marketing as well as the product vision for the SAP Marketing Cloud solution to help you accelerate growth, deliver personalized experiences, create lifelong customer relationships, and maximize ROI.

Check out the session replay of Product Vision for SAP Marketing Cloud & A Short Introduction to Ema...SAP CX LIVE.


Discovering new connections and nurturing relationships

B2B buyers are consumers too. Today’s customers no longer follow linear journeys when engaging with brands. And that’s true for both B2B and B2C brands. Today’s B2C and B2B purchase journeys share more similarities than differences. Both are data-driven, self-directed, and set a high bar for emotional and contextual engagement. To build long term relationships with customers, B2B marketers need to deepen the understanding of the account and develop a holistic picture of opportunity of the account with a focus on both the needs of buying groups and individual leads to support their decision-making process.

One of the most important elements to hyper-relevant buying experiences is to understand what the buyer needs, when they need it, and who should take the lead. To gain true deeper understanding of buyers and their behaviors today, there are four essential types of business scenarios that B2B marketers should plan for: buyer-led qualification, lead qualification framework, marketing-driven automated qualification and contact-to-account related scenarios. These four types of business scenarios should be viewed as important components towards the overall strategizing and design of customer engagement.

Watch the "Bridging the Marketing and Sales Gap with Automated Marketing Qualification Best Practice...

In many B2B industries, successful relationship depends on being able to direct personalized communication to your contacts based on their role in the organization and business context. It is important to target your marketing campaigns precisely to the right people with the right relationships to the right accounts.This evolution towards contact-to-account relationship builds on the foundation of digital engagement and pushes the use cases for account intelligence to provide greater insight into each buyer, and creating personalized experiences that demonstrate deep customer knowledge and understanding.

Learn how from the experts in "Leverage B2B Contact-to-Account Relationships for Contextual Targeted...


Rethinking event strategy during a crisis

Shutdowns hit event marketers especially hard, in part because not all live events could simply be run digitally. With physical events set to remain on hold for some time yet, marketers are pivoting their physical events into virtual experiences using digital event technologies to find new ways to engage customers and prospects remotely. This change does not only affect the event execution, but of course also (digital) marketing before, during and after the event.

Successful marketers start with strategy and define the customer experience they want their digital events to deliver. Technology supports this but is ineffective without a solid strategy and set of customer experience goals. While more and more marketers are shifting event dollars to digital, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are not able to get the full potential of digital events.

By using the Marketing Cloud and digital event platform integration with leading platform providers such as ON24, marketers are able to scale events to reach broader audiences, enable seamless content access, create personalized promotions and collect data insights that are difficult to capture in person during COVID-19 where most conferences, trade shows and field events are either postponed or cancelled.

Learn more how SAP CX Services Team can help you in realizing a marketing strategy for virtual event...


Strengthening customer loyalty and retention in the new normal

New consumers and digital engagement create a different set of expectations around customer loyalty and trust. However, customer loyalty has always been a challenge for marketers, and with today’s younger generation steadily becoming the consumer of tomorrow, it is an even bigger challenge. COVID-19 pandemic has further widen the gap as the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviors that are likely to have lasting effects.

Your marketing strategy can play a key role in strengthening customer loyalty and retention. According to Bain and Co., close to a 5% increase in customer retention can potentially increase a company’s profitability by 75%. And customer loyalty and retention is the key every business is required to master especially during the recent coronavirus pandemic. Marketers must place greater investment emphasis on retaining the most valuable customers, marketing to them more effectively and leveraging their connections to attract lookalike audience. That's where marketers can find hidden pools of loyalty returns.

Check out the on-demand webinar below from Jeff Herrera, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Partner...


To our customers, partners and community - Your voices, perspectives and ideas shaped the way we all connect, share, learn, and grow together and will remember this exceptional year. Thank you for being here. Stay tuned - We have a lot more coming up in 2021 that we can’t wait to share with you!