Content MarketingCRM and Data Platforms

Five Marketing Trends CMOs Should Act On In 2020

Why Success hinges on an offensive strategy.

Despite shrinking marketing budgets, CMOs are still optimistic about their ability to achieve their goals in 2020 according to Gartner’s annual 2019-2020 CMO Spend Survey. But optimism without action is counterproductive and many CMOs may be failing to plan for tough times ahead. 

CMOs are more agile now than they were during the last economic recession, but that doesn’t mean they can hunker down to ride out a challenging environment. They have to go on the offensive. To thrive in this landscape of decreasing budgets broader span of control and rising expectations, CMOs need to use their resources wisely, embrace new technologies and adapt quickly to change.

Here are five emerging trends marketers should act on to ensure their success in 2020, and beyond. 

Emerging Trend 1: Implement a Digital Asset Management System

The rallying cry of content is king has prevailed for years but as technology improves, 2020 could finally deliver transparent content effectiveness for marketers. Knowing what content is effective or efficient is still not an easy task given the fragmented approaches to storing our rich media assets. When the current generation of Content Management System (CMS) platforms came to market, marketers were sold on the promise that they could use them to organize their content, but in reality, those systems fell short of a centralized content hub. To better meet their content management needs, marketers should now invest in a digital asset management system (DAM) that is capable of hosting all their marketing assets, streamlining workflows and efficiently deploying.

DAM systems are quickly becoming the preferred tool for organizing and optimizing content across channels. They enable marketers to be more efficient because they can more fully leverage existing content, rather than pressing marketers to create new content for every possible need. DAM systems can also provide insight into what type of content works best on which platform, making campaign investments more effective. 

Emerging Trend: Up Your Personalization Strategy

Marketers are pushing the personalization envelope, eager to deliver the right experience for each individual customer. But before marketers can make promises, they must make sure their technology partners can deliver the results they are looking for. New tools that effectively test personalization are highlighting how popular personalization efforts may not be yielding the desired impact and where significant opportunity still exists.

Personalization is an ongoing process and there is always room for improvement because the tactics that delivered positive results last year may yield diminishing returns today. Developing highly personalized content that resonates with customers must be grounded in up-to-date personas and differentiated buyer process mapping. That means taking the culmination of insights from all marketing data — CMS, outbound channels, UX testing, email and more — and using them to constantly shape your personalization strategy to create more campaign conversions. 

Emerging Trend 3: Revive Your Customer-Centric Culture

The push towards customer centricity in both B2C and B2B companies has made marketers take on even more visible and critical roles within their organizations – and it’s no surprise. Marketers have the skills to leverage behavioral targeting and insights. Marketers are also experts in communication and collaboration and can determine what will have the greatest impact on customers.

Gone are the days of capturing a baseline understanding of what customers want, sharing it with the account management team and setting it in stone. Marketers are now empowered to motivate a customer-centric company which requires mapping the customer journey and identifying opportunities to wow customers. 

In 2020, marketers can be the glue that unites the IT, sales, operations and finance teams together to amplify those moments of truth in the customer journey. They will also help other teams in their organization achieve what they dream with customers in a scalable way.  

Emerging Trend 4: Collaborate to Develop The Best Teams 

Identifying and hiring great talent is highly competitive, and only getting more so. In this environment, recruiters and marketers should work together, as marketing can be a critical partner for both talent acquisition and retention. 

Marketers today can use the power of digital insights to quickly determine which channels work best, where their audience is, and what message will help you stand out. We are also responsible for amplifying a brand’s story and articulating differentiated value, which can immediately benefit the sourcing and hiring process. 

Internally marketing to drive employee advocacy will also increase referrals that are higher quality and have a higher retention rate. Advocacy tools today are easily integrated with other systems, accessible on personal devices and can build significant employee momentum. 

While most organizations have now refined their employee value proposition (EVP), the wheels may not yet be in motion. Mobilizing your existing employees to amplify your EVP is an affordable and effective source of talent.

Emerging Trend 5: Extend Data Comprehension

As marketing budgets shrink, data is becoming especially critical to marketers as transparency helps ensure that companies are optimizing their resources, achieving results and maintaining their competitive edge. It’s critical that companies have the resources to comprehend the information and put it to good and timely use, but there remain challenges. One is that data remains too siloed today, locked in different departments and systems. Another challenge is that there are not enough data experts within companies to unlock its full meaning and potential.  

To get the most out of data in 2020, marketers should bring cross-functional data together in an aggregated business intelligence tool where they can gain a holistic view. Companies should also explore how data experts within the company can coach others, so more employees are empowered to make sense of the data they work with.

Marketers are early digital adopters, already having built propensity to buy and predictive models. Sharing this expertise outside the marketing department has the potential to benefit the entire organization and uncover new business value.

Thanks to all the advancements in digital and analytics, marketing organizations can easily pivot to take advantage. In this fast-changing economy, the ability to adapt quickly and proactively go after opportunities will be the difference between pulling ahead and falling behind. The slow peel away of marketing budgets is a sign that companies are getting cautious, and marketers don’t want to get caught flat-footed. Now is not the time to get comfortable, but to seek out opportunities to increase ROI that maybe weren’t around last year.

Jay Atcheson

Jay Atcheson is the SVP of Marketing at R2i. Jay has marketed products and services throughout the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe. With a focus on innovation and results driven marketing, Jay is a growth focused, customer centric marketer.

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