By Tom Libretto
2019 is the year marketing science catches up to the art: While once revered as more art than science, the discipline of marketing is becoming increasingly technical. As modern-day marketing practitioners, it has become table stakes to have some level of technical acumen on how the marketing technology stack plugs together. This year, CMOs will demand marketers expand their tech knowledge beyond marketing and into different business functions as marketing continues to traverse across organizational silos. At the end of the day, the more tech-aware and tech-savvy marketers are going to be the ones that win the customer experience battleground.
AI shifts marketers from tactical to strategic players: The roles within marketing organizations are shifting now that AI has arrived. For example, now marketing operations can leave list pulling, campaign execution and reporting to intelligent machines. Now, less burdened with these tasks, they’re shifting and re-skilling themselves to become much more focused on data science as it relates to the bigger picture. The evolving role scape is moving away from order taking and execution to requiring that practitioners have a deeper understanding of and influence over the complete business strategy.
Agencies will get left behind: As digital marketing savviness is now common amongst modern marketers, there will be less need to work with outside creative and media-buying agencies. This year this shift will bring a significant number of those more specialized disciplines in-house, as brands find that they can develop and source high-quality work from within their own department at a lower overall cost, and with a greater level of transparency and control.
Marketing strategy goes retro: What’s old in marketing will become new again. Consumers are more tuned in to digital marketing manipulation and leery of data privacy abuses—making them more skeptical and hence less responsive to even hyper-targeted digital advertising. The current wave of digital marketing has become overcooked. In response, marketers will look back to more traditional analog and out-of-home strategies with fresh eyes. This resurgent “retro marketing” trend will find an audience with digitally weary consumers looking for a more personalized, human relationship with the brands they engage with.
GDPR and data privacy regulations will put more of an emphasis on authentic marketing: In this new era of data privacy, consumers are empowered to decide not just what brands they do business with, but what brands they are willing to interact with at all. The value exchange between vendor and consumer must be crystal clear in any marketing interaction. Anything else, and vendors risk the future viability of engaging with their audiences. This not only increases the importance of personalisation but also the authenticity of those interactions. Brands must show customers that they respect their data by using it to engage with them in a way that drives real value—not just to drive revenue for their business, but to truly help the consumer in some way.
Meaningless marketing metrics meet their maker: Marketers will reject any vanity marketing metrics that does little to show the value of marketing, such as attribution KPIs, return on ad spend, etc. Simpler metrics that focus on engagement and outcomes will prevail. Marketers will ask themselves: did we increase engagement with targeted contacts? This approach will become the standard to measure all marketing campaigns. By building a contact engagement model that underpins all interaction channels, marketing departments can then measure spend increases against engaged contacts within the customer organisation.