According to Gartner’s 2017-2018 CMO spend survey, marketers are facing increasing pressure to prove results while balancing a tighter budget. The following trends focus on technological advancements and strategic changes marketers will employ to make the impossible possible, and smoothly deliver marketing results that are easily provable with data.
1. Artificial intelligence will make marketers’ lives easier
Artificial intelligence (AI) is augmenting marketing across the board– from data integration to insight generation. And contrary to dystopian Sci-Fi visions of the future, AI will not replace marketers. Rather, AI will step in to do the narrow, time-consuming work (think linear regression, budget planning, fraud detection etc.), so marketers and analysts can work more efficiently. Taking over the heavy lifting, AI will enable marketers to focus on the strategy and creative that spurs consumers to take action.
2. Marketing will refocus on agency partnerships
Striking the right balance between your people and your partners is a crucial investment decision CMOs must make every year. With new and varied types of marketing, marketing leaders are forced to choose which specialities they will keep in house or hire for, and which they need external resources for. With increased pressure to prove results across marketing efforts, the need for an expert understanding is high. If marketing leaders are lucky, they’ll find employees or agencies with multiple offerings. (See: The hybrid marketer will shine.)
3. The hybrid marketer will shine
With nearly every marketing technology tool offering some kind of analytics or dashboard, it’s become expected for marketers to answer questions backed by a data-driven analysis. However, the information needed to form an answer often exists in multiple platforms. Cue the rise of the marketing technologist, who operates as a hybrid of marketer and analyst. This role –and its many derivative titles– will need to have traditional marketing savviness with a solid data fluency. And in today’s proliferation of new types of marketing, special expertise in back pockets (whether skill-based, like SEO, or platform-based, like Hubspot) will be a win-win for companies looking to kill two birds, and marketers looking to grow their careers.
4. Marketing will become an engine of growth
When it comes to proving impact, two recent reports by Gartner and Forrester highlight two very important objectives for marketers in 2018. First, they need to understand where their marketing dollars are making the most impact; and, second, CMOs need to create a marketing engine of growth for their respective businesses. If those two paramount objectives cannot be achieved, heads are going to roll.
In Gartner’s CMO spend survey, it was noted that marketing budgets had pulled back to 2015 levels. After three years of consecutive growth, this was a surprise for many. The reason is simple: Boards are looking to CMOs to evolve their departments from cost centers to profit centers through the use of data.
Further backing this up is Forrester’s 2018 predictions, which notes that marketing professionals will have to align the brand with customer experience (CX). With about half of CMOs soon-to-lead CX initiatives, on top of their other responsibilities, technology will empower CMOs to understand customers in all-new ways.
5. 2018 will be the year of marketing intelligence
Despite a slew of buzzed-about advances in data analytics, the reality is that, largely speaking, marketers are still struggling with reporting and managing their campaigns at scale in real time. Marketing intelligence will enter to bridge the gap.
Enabled by AI-powered innovations, in 2018 marketing intelligence will relieve many headaches marketers have had around proving impact. From data stuck in disparate systems, to stopgaps and inflexibility when adopting new platforms, marketing intelligence exists as a panacea for marketer-specific issues with data. Unlike broad-based business intelligence that provides a historical, rear view mirror perspective into data, marketing intelligence will equip marketers to take action and improve their programs on the fly.
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