One of the hallmarks of a successful thought leader is the ability to use his or her base of knowledge to formulate commentary around events and trends that are still in progress or haven’t fully come to fruition. This skillset can be what turns your CEO or CMO from a company spokesperson who can speak to your company’s impact on the industry, to a thought leader who can speak to the industry at large and is looked to as an expert source by journalists.
One of the best times to do this is at key turning points — like the end of the calendar year — because it allows not only for reflection and commentary on what’s currently in motion, but it also allows room to predict outcomes and next steps. We regularly use the early part of Q4 to conduct story-mining sessions with our clients’ thought leaders, not only to discuss current trends, but also to get a feel for what they expect will happen in the industry at large throughout the year. This not only provides great content to share with media at the end of December, it can help us better understand how our clients can plug into larger stories, in turn generating interviews and other media opportunities throughout the next calendar year.
We recently asked a number of our clients who provide marketing technology solutions or are otherwise regarded as experts in their field of B2B marketing, to provide their thoughts on what marketers can expect in 2018. Here’s a sample of what they had to share:
CMOs will spend more on technology in 2018
Good news for martech companies: CMOs are likely to spend more on technology in 2018 according to Latane Conant, CMO at Appirio, who draws her theory from past predictions made by analyst firm, Gartner. According to Conant, “In 2012, Gartner predicted that by 2017, CMOs will be spending more on tech than CIOs. In 2016, Gartner confirmed this prediction, writing that in ‘2016, CMOs allocated 3.24 percent of revenue to technology spending, which is very close indeed to the 3.4 percent of revenue CIOs earmark for IT.’”
“The analyst firm explains that marketing technology has now become one of the core technology systems that run a business. At Appirio, we believe that Customer Experience (CX) has indeed emerged as what Gartner calls ‘the competitive battlefield,’ and that technology is at the forefront of creating personalized experiences. For example, we have seen a rise in the need for marketing technologies that enable data-driven decision making; tools that can pull and analyze customer data”
Interruptive-based advertising will come to an end
When was the last time you watched a commercial on live TV? For cord-cutters and others who take advantage of DVR and streaming services, the answer is likely not any time recently. As Ryan Steelberg, president at Veritone explains, “in 2010 we saw the emergence of on-demand media where it went from linear environment to DVR to streaming. Right now, it’s about on-demand selection and minimal interruptions.” That trend is likely to continue into 2018 and might even reach a tipping point according to Steelberg. “As consumers expectations and standards shift, interruptive and spot-based advertising will adjust to native and organic methods. We believe that the traditional model of interruptive-based advertising may be a thing of the past.” However, it’s not all bad news for advertisers, when it comes to traditional methods, Steelberg predicts that, “old school sponsorship models may become premier strategies for awareness, where a whole compilation is sponsored by one brand.”
Data personalization will become increasingly common and continue to be a competitive edge for marketers
The internet is already over-saturated with content and the marketers who can leverage data to offer a more relevant experience will have the edge according to Ashley Walsh, VP of marketing at Formstack. “The big shift I see disrupting the industry will be hyper-personalization of content based on specific data attributes,” explains Walsh. “For instance, when a new visitor lands on your website, they may see one of 15 different versions of your homepage. I also envision the ability to personalize 1:1 ad messaging based on CRM data, without leveraging designers to create multiple iterations of the same design. Think old-school mail merge for your ads. If you’re not getting personal in the next 3-5 years, you’ll likely be providing a generic experience for your users and losing out on conversions.”
Some businesses will approach this type of personalization with the help of AI, according to Julie Lyle, CMO advisor for AI marketing platform, DemandJump. According to Lyle, AI “will begin to really become the standard for personalization and attribution. Savvy marketers will have to be using AI for personalization (for outreach or for experience), so how you craft your marketing messages and how people experience your brand at every touchpoint.”
Bryan MacDonald, EVP of product and strategy at Remarketable, a digital multichannel remarking optimization platform, foresees a similar trend in the personalization of marketing, but cautions marketers to consider the quality of the data being used. “As marketers move toward identity resolution as a key way to power cutting-edge personalization, data hygiene becomes more important than ever,” said MacDonald. “Without solid data hygiene, marketing dollars are wasted by reaching out to the wrong person via wrong postal address, or wrong email.” Moving into 2018, MacDonald encourages marketers to take a proactive approach to data hygiene, especially when it comes to identity resolution, to ensure you’re targeting the right people.
Want to learn more about how our team uses trend preditions and other thought leadership to generate media coverage for our clients? Make sure to check out our thought leadership case studies.