Future Trends in Marketing, According to CMOs And Senior Marketers

MarketoEIU-Future-Trends-Impacting-Marketers-by-2020-Feb2015Business owners will increasingly treat marketing as a revenue driver and marketers will be more apt to use technology to engage customers in an ongoing conversation to build advocacy and trust. Those are just a couple of the changes envisioned in the next 3-5 years by the 478 CMOs and senior marketing executives surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit for a Marketo-sponsored report [pdf].

The study sees marketing as “driving engagement, experience and revenue” in the years to come. Indeed, compared to today, the survey results suggest that respondents see marketing in the next 3-5 years as:

  • Less likely to be considered a cost center;
  • More likely to be shaping the company’s strategy;
  • More likely to be expected to build relationships, loyalty and advocacy among customers;
  • More likely to be expected to manage each customer’s experience end-to-end over the customer’s lifetime;
  • Less likely to be measured in terms of customer acquisition and more so in terms of customer engagement and revenue impact; and
  • Significantly more likely to use data effectively to gain insight and engage customers.

The focus on customer experience – which 51% of marketers believe will be their responsibility in the next 3-5 years – aligns with a recent study from Econsultancy and Adobe, in which respondents tabbed customer experience as their most exciting opportunity this year and in 5 years’ time.

Technology will power those changes in marketing’s role, and the Marketo study has some interesting findings on that front. Among the various technology investments identified, social marketing emerged as the clear leader in likely investment hikes over the next 3-5 years, with 37% reporting this to be one of the top-3 areas of technology investments. (The Adobe study, by contrast, found enthusiasm for social waning over the next 5 years.) Beyond social, mobile marketing (28%), marketing analytics (25%) and email marketing (23%) are the next-most likely areas of increased spending, per the Marketo study.

As for the “future trends” that will have the biggest impact on marketers by 2020? Of the 5 options listed, the internet of things (51%) and real-time mobile personalized transactions (50%) are the trends that most respondents selected as their top-2, with wearable technology (29%) and virtual/augmented reality (26%) expected to have less of an impact in that time frame.

There’s one large concern, obviously, that accompanies the profileration of connected devices and personalized transactions: privacy. But few marketers see a backlash on the horizon: only 1 in 8 cited a privacy backlash as one of the trends with the biggest impact by 2020.

About the Data: The study is based on a survey that included responses from 478 CMOs
and senior marketing executives worldwide. More than 50% of respondents hold the CMO title or top marketing position. Respondents are located in North America (33%), Europe (30%), Asia-Pacific (29%) and Rest of World — which encompasses Africa and Latin America (9%). More than 50% of survey respondents (52%) hail from companies with more than US$500M in revenue; 20% have revenue of more than US$5B.