Here are our most recent predictions.
- By 2017, CMOs will spend more on content marketing assets than they do on product marketing assets. For decades, the product launch has reigned as the kingpin content event. With a "bill of materials" stretching through multiple Excel pages, product marketing assets suck up a major portion of the marketing budget – and much of that content is wasted. The days of product content dominance are numbered. Product content will remain important but it will take its place behind the content marketing assets matched to decision-journey stages.
- By 2020, 50% of companies will use cognitive computing to automate marketing and sales interactions with customers. A few leads go right to sales. But the majority need further qualification and extended nurturing. Companies will increasingly turn to smart systems that automatically assess and respond to buyers at the point of need. IBM recently added Watson to its marketing cloud offerings. The question is not when cognitive marketing will become mainstream – but rather, will anyone notice?
- By 2017, 20% of large enterprise CMOs will consolidate their marketing technology infrastructure. Marketing has been absorbing marketing technology a bite at a time for more than a decade. Many organizations now manage dozens (if not hundreds) of point solutions. Just as marketing environments are hitting the wall of this operational complexity, marketing tech vendors are building solid integrated platforms – tailorable through a partner eco-system. A fortuitous convergence of supply and demand.
- By 2020, 33% of CMOs will outsource some digital marketing activities via marketing-as-a –service. Marketing-as-a-service is a bundle of technology and marketing services that enable world-class digital marketing capabilities to be outsourced. MaaS offers CMOs an attractive, viable alternative to owning (and operating) everything.
- By 2018, predictive analytics will be a standard tool for marketers, but only a third will get optimal benefit. Early adopters of predictive analytics for buyer behavior report amazing results. The benefits come from the ability to discover hidden segments that have a high propensity to buy. Marketers can also better serve these segments with behavioral targeting. However, the majority of marketers face big challenges to achieving the benefits. Chief inhibitors? Lack of statistical skills, stubborn organizational silos that won't integrate data, and a culture that resists truth when it goes against tradition.
- In the tech industry, CMO job turnover will continue at the rate of 25% per year through 2018. In 2015, 59% of tech CMOs in companies larger than $50 Million in revenue had been in their job for less than two years. Some CMOs get pulled out of their job. The best and brightest get invited to join hot growth companies or exciting tech businesses sprouting as divisions in other industries. Other CMOs get pushed out. Some just can't live up to the requirements of digital transformation. Others are discarded by laggard CEOs who just don't understand modern sales and marketing.
- By 2020, 20% of marketers will abandon the traditional funnel in favor of a customer-centric model. The light of data increasingly reveals the reality of buying behavior. That same light also reveals major flaws in the traditional funnel. The sales funnel is 114 years old and never meant for the digital era. Rabid funnel advocates cling to the past with ridiculously convoluted updates. But making the funnel more complex with extra loops and stages just puts lipstick on the proverbial pig. Forward-leaning companies now experiment with customer-centric models that respond to real buying challenges in innovative ways.
- By 2017, 60% of CMOs will lag in implementing recommended benchmarks for marketing technology staff investment, increasing the rift between the CMO and CIO. Marketing is the fastest growth area for new technology investments, with growth projected at an average 9% per year through 2018. Given this situation, you might expect marketing to be ahead of the curve – leading the way towards technology investment and staffing. However, IDC believes that tech marketers are underspending and under hiring. Only 2.6% of marketing program dollars go towards technology and only 1.6% of marketing staff are primarily tech.
- In 2016, 70% of companies offering cloud or digital services will increase investment in post-purchase marketing. Marketing is primarily associated with the early stages of the buyer's journey, the stages IDC calls Exploration and Evaluation. However, as the ownership economy evolves into a service/sharing/experience economy, companies will find that they need to market throughout the entire customer experience. For example, the fastest growing cloud software companies (those with 20%+ annual growth) have a more holistic approach. They spend about 16% of their total marketing budget on post purchase marketing.
- By 2018, 50% of CMOs will make significant structural changes to their "intelligence" operations and organizations. "Intelligence" as a capability is growing in importance in modern marketing organizations. Intelligence includes market intelligence (MI), business intelligence (BI), competitive intelligence (CI), and social intelligence (SI). In the past, these four functions were spread around the enterprise. Now, IDC sees more companies consolidating into a larger, single, intelligence group – often combining with intelligence functions from other areas like sales. The elimination of silos in this important area is a positive sign.
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