Marketers have witnessed the emergence of a number of significant trends over the last 12 months. Artificial intelligence has matured from buzzword to a tool of genuine interest. Online ad fraud has escalated into a cause of major concern. And the EU’s GDPR is forcing organisations to re-evaluate the way they collect and manage customer data.
Will this year’s trends be just as influential? What fresh strategies, technologies and platforms will emerge in the coming 12 months that marketers will need to keep abreast of? MyCustomer spoke with a number of experts to predict where the biggest opportunities and challenges may lie.
1. Chief growth officers to replace CMOs
Last year, the CMO role was consigned to the dustbin as global marketing, customer and commercial leadership and strategy were unified under the new role of chief growth officer (CGO). This followed a similar restructure at the likes of Hershey’s and Kellogg’s.
And Forrester is forecasting that more Fortune 100 brands will follow suit in the coming year.
“CEOs pressured to lead a force of change during slow growth will bypass numerous CMOs, looking to install executives with broader remits. For example, for a brand like Coca-Cola, this meant sunsetting the CMO position entirely in favor of a CGO, which represents a burgeoning trend CMOs can only abate by leading strategic growth initiatives.”
2. Fingertip ID payment comes to email marketing
“With this being in place already for a lot of websites and apps, it’s only a short step to implement fingertip ID payment in emails,” predicts James Martin, head of email marketing at Infinity Nation.
“As such, you’ll be able to purchase directly from sales emails, which drastically cuts down the user’s journey from 4-5 clicks to purchase, to just 1 touch. As we already see a huge number of emails being sent every day (269 million, in case anyone was wondering), adding in fingertip ID payment functionality to emails makes sense for a lot of e-commerce businesses to increase their revenue.”
3. A rise in employee advocacy programmes
Customer advocacy programmes have become commonplace in the marketing strategies of many large organisations. But 2018 may see focus shift towards driving and promoting advocacy of those within the brand itself.
“People trust the opinions and recommendations from their peers more than brand marketing because it’s inherently more authentic and believable,” explains Sara Spivey, CMO at Bazaarvoice. “Several companies have started training their employees through employee advocacy programmes to help share company and industry-related content through their social networks to extend the reach and amplify the reach. Not only do these programmes enhance the power and influence for the brand, position employees as experts in their fields, and help bolster recruitment and hiring.”
4. Marketing takes control of the customer experience
In its report The CMO Bar Rises With More Pressure For Growth, Forrester estimates that in the past two years, the share of global marketing decision-makers who say marketing has primary responsibility for their organisation’s CX has grown from 31% to 38%. And Forrester suggests that a growing number of CMOs will make a play to position CX under their umbrella in the coming year, forecasting that ultimately nearly half of CMOs will lead their firms’ CX efforts next year.
5. Predictive content will become more prominent in email marketing
“Thanks to the rise in automation as well as general technological improvements, it’s now possible to insert predictive content into your email so that recipients get a message tailored exactly to them,” says Martin. “This is mainly due to data being gathered around email opens, cart abandonments, link clicks and public purchases as well as other data sources across a range of channels to help improve the messages content. As a general calculation, we predict that using predictive content will increase conversions by 25%, thanks to showing the end user exactly what they want to see.”
6. Measurement across online and offline comes into focus
“Measurement across both online and offline marketing and interactions will become more important as marketers continue to struggle to prove their contribution,” explains Jackie Palmer, global VP, strategy and solution management, SAP Hybris. “This will be in response to two main challenges when measuring marketing: cross-device matching and offline transactions.
“Cross-device identity resolution is a growing issue for B2B marketers with the increase in the consumerisation of business users. Times have changed and business users are finding themselves sitting at home searching Google for business-related products and services. It’s become harder to rely on IP address matching and other methods of identifying business users as more browsing is being done anonymously. This makes it harder to understand how marketing affects the offline sale.
“Online to offline journey attribution and measurement will be critical to marketing’s success in the future, particularly in conjunction with evolving regulation.”
Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 20 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined MyCustomer in 2007.