Late last year IDC’s CMO Advisory Service released its 10 predictions for the next three years. Kathleen Schaub, vice president of the practice, summarized the findings this way, “Our theme for the coming year is turmoil versus transformation. There’s a lot of activity going on and some people are actually moving forward, but there’s also a lot of spinning and a lot of trial and error.
“We see that marking transformation is at a point where marketing people get that they’ve got to take [new] roads and these roads need new and different kinds of content. They need to start engaging with buyers earlier. They need to use data to personalize. They need technology in order to be able to accomplish that. These fundamental facts about modern marketing everyone get now. [Marketers] pretty much all tried to do this and now realize how difficult it is, how interrelated it is and how much has to change in such a fundamental way in order to be able to make this happen. There are a few places here and there that are starting to put things together, but the scary stories are coming back as often as the winning stories.”
Here are IDC’s 10 predictions with my editorial comments:
- 25% of CMOs will be replaced every year through 2018. The big issue to me that contributes to this turnover is the redefinition of the CMO role. No longer can a CMO simply be the “brand champion” who primarily uses advertising to accomplish her goals. In the era of modern marketing, customer experiences will trump advertising campaigns. CMOs must become champions of great experiences at every step of their customers’ decision journeys. Those who rise to this new standard with thrive. Those who don’t will be in jeopardy of losing their jobs.
- By 2017, 25% of marketing organizations will solve critical skill gaps by deploying centers of excellence. Very similar to how CMOs dealt with the explosion of digital and social media over the past decade, scarce talent will be a centralized resource used to shore up business units’ gaps. The emergence of the chief marketing technology officer (CMTO) is one response to centralizing the competencies needed to build the data and technology infrastructure required for modern marketing.
- By 2017 15% of B2B companies will use more than 20 data sources to personalize a high-value customer journey. Having personalized experiences at each touch point is the holy grail of modern marketing. Creating a unified view of an individual customer requires connecting that customer’s data from every interaction system, most of which are siloed today. Having a data integration plan should be at the top of every CMO’s 2015 agenda.
- By 2015 one in three marketing organizations will deliver compelling content at all stages of the buyer journey. Congratulations to the third who will get there this year. But for the rest of you, what’s holding you back?
- In 2015 only one in five companies will retool to reach line of business buyers and outperform those selling exclusively to IT. Ouch! With more and more applications being delivered via a SaaS model, business users can procure the tools they need directly for suppliers more easily. Look at what has happened in marketing with marketing cloud applications, and in sales with products like SalesForce.com. The 80% of companies slow to adjust to this new reality will be in trouble soon.
- By 2017 50% of larger high-tech marketing organizations will create in-house creative services. Retailers did this long ago to produce Sunday circulars more cost-effectively. Manufacturers are trying to create efficient content production teams now. This model can work for production content, but most firms will realize hiring and keeping top creative talent will be a challenge. I expect to see a hybrid model that uses both internal production teams and outside agencies to develop the most effective portfolio of content.
- By 2018 20% of B2B sales teams will go “virtual,” resulting in improved pipeline conversion rates. Let’s face it, highly paid sales people don’t want to mess with prospects who aren’t ready to buy. But as customers discover and explore solutions online, they may have questions that they can’t answer independently. I’m seeing more marketing organizations create lead nurturing call centers to fill this gap. When done well, customers have better experiences and sales get a higher percentage of highly qualified buyers.
- By 2017 70% of B2B mobile customer apps will fail to achieve ROI because they lack customer value-add. I believe this failure happens for two reasons. First, companies believe they must have a mobile app so they rush something to market that helps them push their agendas instead of taking time to understand what the customer actually needs. Second, most companies don’t need an app. What customers really want is a mobile-optimized website (which is already connected to your back-end systems) to get the information they need whenever and wherever they want it. In 2015 I’d suggest you resist being “app happy” and instead become truly “mobile friendly.”
- By 2017 25% of CMOs and CIOs will have a shared roadmap for marketing technology. Why isn’t this 100% in 2015? It should be! No excuses for waiting until 2017.
- By 2018 20% of B2B CMOs will drive budget increases by attributing campaign results to revenue performance. Yikes! Only 20%. Sure building measurement systems isn’t easy, but the tools do exist to help you learn what works and doesn’t. For the CMOs who don’t make progress on multi-channel program attribution in 2015, re-read prediction #1. Your job will be in jeopardy.