The technologies and customer trends likely to change marketing organisations the most over the next five years

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The Intelligence Unit (aka research dept.) of the `The Economist’ surveyed ~500 CMOs and senior marketing executives worldwide to explore which technologies and customer trends are likely to change marketing organizations the most over the next five years. The results paint an even more transformative picture for marketing in its quest to own the customer experience. The research explores which technologies and customer trends are likely to change marketing organisations the most over the next five years. Marketers have spent much of the past decade working on perfecting their ability to understand the customer through personalisation.

What is different about 2016 through 2020 is how CMOs are matching that understanding with direct action that drives engagement—and doing so at scale. The findings reveal that leading CMOs are pioneering a new model that blends a deep understanding of a customer’s contextual situation with timely, tailored delivery of relevant content and marketing assets.

Key findings :

  1. CMOs own the customer experience. Eighty-six percent of CMOs and senior marketing executives believe they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020. The research analysed the customer experience in terms of its role as a direct interface of a brand with its customer—everywhere, anytime and across platforms.
  2. But marketing complexity is growing sharply. As customer experience overtakes mass advertising as a preferred channel to the customer, CMOs must learn to manage staggering amounts of complexity. More than half of respondents believe the accelerating pace of technology change, mobile lifestyles and an explosion of potential marketing channels via connected objects and locations will change marketing the most by 2020, driven by billions of possible interactions they create between a company and its customers.
  3. Top marketing channels are those that lend themselves to personalising the customer experience. The top channels to the customer in 2020 will be social media (63% of respondents), the World Wide Web (53%), mobile apps (47%) and mobile web (46%). Publishing-centric channels like television, radio and print scored far lower. Surprise, surprise!!!
  4. Customer experience drives brand equity more than ever. CMOs are betting that a personalised, efficient and consistent customer experience will translate into customer loyalty and brand value. Marketers listed raising customer loyalty and better brand perception as the two top benefits (both 53%) they aim to realise through a more positive customer experience.
  5. Future innovation will focus on small screens and no screens. Mobile devices and networks (59%), personalisation technologies (45%) and the Internet of Things (39%) are the three technology specific trends that will have the biggest impact on marketing organisations by 2020.

What does this mean for the industry?

  • Today’s audiences traverse multiple mainstreams and counter-cultures via mobile and socially connected devices and services. Audiences in 2020 will do that and a lot more as IoT, virtual and augmented reality, plus AI cause interactivity to spill out of screens and into the outside world.
  • It raises the question: How will brands find, win, grow and retain customers across fragmented audience environments with unlimited digital shelf space?
  • The research suggests that marketers should organise around a single, best understanding of the customer and her context to drive personalised customer experiences across platforms and at scale.
  • As data and analytics capabilities transform marketing organisations, CMOs must master a new model of value and exchange based on personalised customer experience.
  • According to Unilever’s Keith Weed, customer experience-based marketing offers a better model than advertising for a crowded, information-rich marketing environment. “Brands need to help people simplify life so we all don’t go mad as this world becomes more complex,” says Mr Weed. “I believe that people who focus on that will unlock the true power of data.”

What does this mean for us?

  • Data, Analytics and Insights will go into overdrive in terms of demand
  • Digital, Marketing – Same same. It’s all about the Customer.
  • Change, Bus Transformation, Product and Comms will be strong compliments to the above in terms of business demand / need.


Dimitra Fourtzis

Practice Director, APAC : Marketing & Digital

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