Almost 9 in 10 CMOs and senior marketing executives from around the world believe that they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020, per results from an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey [download page] sponsored by Marketo. But with technological change spurring a vast array of potential interactions between brands and their customers, marketers must be prepared to deal with growing complexity, per the report.
In fact, a majority of respondents feel that the accelerating pace of technological change, consumers’ mobile lifestyles, and an “explosion” of possible marketing channels via connected objects and devices will have the greatest impact on marketing by 2020.
While these will add layers of complexity to the marketing equation, they will present new opportunities for marketers to engage their audiences. Whereas customer loyalty and acquisition are clearly the top two strategic programs for marketers this year, by 2020 these strategic imperatives will decline somewhat in importance and be rivaled by efforts to pioneer new and emerging technologies to engage audiences.
So which emerging technologies will have the biggest impact? According to the senior marketing leaders surveyed, mobile devices and networks are easily the most impactful future technology trend, with 59% of respondents ranking these within their top 3 trends. Beyond mobile devices are personalization technologies (45%) and the Internet of Things (IoT; 39%).
Those results are interesting in light of other research on the same topic. A study released last year by IBM found mobile solutions slightly topping IoT as the technologies that CMOs believe will be the most important in the next 3-5 years. Prior to that, another survey from the EIU of CMOs and senior marketers worldwide indicated that IoT and real-time mobile personalized transactions topped the list of future trends with the biggest impact on marketers by 2020.
The focus on personalization is underscored by separate results indicating that personalization and relevance are considered by respondents to be the biggest priorities for a winning customer experience. As such, “technology or media channels that help create personalized engagement with the customer are gaining value in the eyes of CMOs,” per the study’s authors. To wit, the top channels through which respondents expect their customers to experience their marketing efforts in 2020 each ones focus on personalization and engagement:
- Social media (63% rating in top-3 channels);
- Web (53%);
- Mobile apps (47%); and
- Mobile web (46%).
Publishing channels such as direct mail, TV, print and radio will prove to be smaller touch points, per respondents, although they hold a significant degree of influence over consumers’ purchases today.
Finally, in looking ahead to 2020, CMOs and senior marketers expect marketing impact to be increasingly measured by revenue impact and budget efficiency and less so by customer acquisition and engagement.
About the Data: The results are based on an EIU survey of 499 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 (27%), Europe (30%), Asia-Pacific (36%) and Rest of World (7%). A slight majority (52%) of survey respondents come from companies with more than US$500m in revenue.