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IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CMO 2017 Predictions

The following predictions are excerpted from IDC’s 2017 CMO FutureScape report which provides additional details and guidance. (Here’s the summary webcast.) Of course, no one can have 10 top priorities, so pick and choose the one or two that will be most effective for your organization for the next 12 months and nail them. Then go on to some of the others. By working your way through as many of these forces you feel apply to your business, you will be able to offer customers value that your competitors simply cannot match. If you don’t, be prepared for the pain of being on the wrong side of that equation.

  • Prediction 1: Superhero CMOs Emerge – By 2020, the first superhero CMOs will emerge because they received C-Level permission to disrupt traditional go-to-market operations. IDC predicts that we will see pockets of break-through in CMO leadership. This will be demonstrated by individuals who have exceptional leadership skills and in the face of long-odds, have brought meaningful change to their marketing organizations.  The “Superhero CMO” will be one who has executed real change — not just the aspirational change that is depicted on a PowerPoint slide. Here are IDC’s criteria to identify these Superhero CMO’s; and where to look (or not look) for them. 
  • Prediction 2: Boardroom Battle for the Customer – By 2020, 25% of CEO’s will appoint a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) in an attempt to unify the imperative of customer-centricity. Who on the C-Level leadership team will emerge as the most effective agent to deliver the customer’s growing persistence for a better experience?  Is Customer Centricity a cultural value; is it everyone’s job; or should it be the domain of a single executive leader? If it is the latter, which one? This is the emerging “Boardroom Battle for the Customer”.
  • Prediction 3: “Free Range” Content Invasion – By 2020, more than 50% of a company’s commercial content will be created outside of marketing’s direct control. Content marketing – it’s not just for marketers anymore. While content experts will determine the most strategic aspects of a company’s commercial communication, CMO’s must prepare to leverage content from a wide range of sources. Today, content marketing stops at marketing’s silo walls. Full commercial content – all the content needed to conduct commerce, is much more. Opening up marketing’s borders will cause initial angst, but it’s a parade that won’t, and shouldn’t, be stopped 
  • Prediction 4: Journey Budgets get Reshuffled – By 2019, one-third of today’s “awareness” budget will be redirected to stages later in the buyer’s journey. Marketing’s programs budget is poised on the brink of a major overhaul. Historically, nearly 50% of a tech companies company’s marketing program budget is spent on awareness. However, CMOs are driving funds out of the traditional (but vague) job of “awareness building” to jobs later in the buyer’s journey. 
  • Prediction 5: “Dark Social” Shines – By 2018, 15% of companies will shift the majority of their social marketing focus out of the public sphere and into private groups and messaging apps. Once again, consumers are charging ahead of brands. Consumer use of messaging apps has already hit mainstream (worldwide use of the biggest messaging apps now surpasses use of the biggest social brands) and yet this medium is hardly on the radar of most marketers.  But where buyers go, marketing will follow.
  • Prediction 6: Events are the Main Event – By 2017, events will surpass advertising as the top marketing program investment in more than 50% of B2B IT vendors. As marketers dash to digital in so many of their marketing program investments, events have emerged as an important counterbalance to this digital shift. Over the last three years spending on digital marketing has increased from 31% to 43% of the average marketing programs. Despite the rapid growth in digital marketing, events have remained the second largest marketing program investment only behind advertising. But this gap is shrinking and many industry leaders now have events as their number one marketing program investment.  
  • Prediction 7: Marketing GO! – By 2020, 20% of IT Vendors will have augmented reality pilots in place that will serve as the foundation for immersive marketing. Through the advent of Augmented Reality (AR) technologies marketers are now able to add digital information and/or digital objects to their buyer’s real world experiences, creating the holistic and encapsulating engagements that are at the foundation of immersive marketing. By allowing marketers to present relevant, personalized, and targeted information to a buyer based on his or her current location and/or activity engagement marketers are able to move beyond a single, one time, albeit (sometimes) memorable experience and into a continuous stream of value addition for their buyers. 
  • Prediction 8: DX Fails without CX-OS – By 2020, 50% of digital transformation (DX) initiatives will fail due to the lack of an end-to-end customer experience orchestration service (CX-OS). CX-OS is IDC’s term for the future platform on which enterprises will be able to successfully accomplish digital transformation. It is a low latency, high activation environment that connects applications and datasets across customer related activities in the enterprise.  Through open APISs and microservices, It delivers a growing set of software services that manage workflows, decisions, interaction events, data, processes, audiences, customer IDs, security, etc. Executed well, a CX-OS will connect all interactions with the underlying processes that companies will use to communicate with customers and perform activities on the customer’s behalf. 
  • Prediction 9: Bots Break Advertising – By 2020, 40% of e-commerce transactions will be enabled by cognitive/AI personal shoppers and conversational commerce.The next generations of digital personal assistants (aka Siri, GoogleNow, Cortana, Viv, Alexa, etc.) will be advanced cognitive agents able to conduct commerce on behalf of consumers. This will result in an explosion of bot-to-bot transactions. 
  • Prediction 10: A Message in Every Machine – By 2020, 15% of display advertising will be executed via connected devices such as vehicles, wearables, facilities, and in-home. Smart devices will become pervasive in daily life. Almost everything including our homes, vehicles, shops, offices, cities even our clothing, appliances, furniture, product packaging and more will be capable of detecting our presence and interacting with us either directly or via smartphones. This will have huge implications for marketers and advertising. The opportunities to add value will rise but so will the risk of intrusiveness and blocking. Marketers that master to balance these conflicting elements in the new sense and respond world will have their audiences to themselves and pull ahead of the fast followers and laggards.

“Marketers will live or die depending on which side of the disruption sword they are on,” according to Gerry Murray, Research Analyst with IDC’s CMO Advisory. “CMOs need to get past the internal disruption caused by technology and start using all the new tools and data to create new ways of engaging customers. Marketers need to shift customer relationships from using context to deliver messages to ensuring continuity and delivering value. They must use data driven insights to make the professional and personal lives of their customers better.” 

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