It’s safe to say that when may of todays marketing executives finished college in the 80s and 90s, they could not have imagined the type of world they’d be working in just a few decades later. Perhaps no other segment of the enterprise has had to work to redefine its role and mission based on digital transformation as much as the CMO. Once focused on ad buys and billboards, today’s digitally transformed CMO is in many cases the first in the enterprise to utilize today’s cutting edge technology, whether they’re ready for it or not.
As for 2019: How will marketing change? Will new technologies enable marketing to be used in different ways? Will the CMO see more responsibility in with digital transformations? Check out my predictions below.
5G Fixed to 5G Mobile: Yes, we’ve been talking about 5G for a while, but with renewed focus on making it accessible by the masses—especially at the mobile level—we’re looking at CMOs to latch on with a vengeance. Research shows 5G is 1,000 times faster than 4G, with 100 times less latency. That means marketing teams can provider richer, more robust premium content, and trust that users will actually see it (rather than clicking away before it loads.) It also means they’ll be able to do more real-time communication with customers at key touch-points—such as when they’re in the store, restaurant, or checkout line. Yes, for most of us, 5G is NBD. But for CMOs, it opens a whole new world of advertising and CX opportunity.
Chatbots Good to Great: No, marketing teams don’t usually handle the customer service chatbots. However, they do need their brand to provide quality service and CX if their advertising campaigns will be effective. The digitally transformed CMO will also be able to work more easily with customer service to incorporate the language and offers that prove to be most successful in customer conversion—you guessed it, using big data analytic (more on that in a few.)
Connected Clouds (Public, Private, Hybrid): While CMOs might not think of clouds as an essential part of their job function in the same way IT staff do, they are definitely aware that the cloud is a critical in allowing them to gather and process data. And they’ll be able to do that even more efficiently and securely in 2019.
Blockchain Finally Understood and Flops (kind of): OK, we can all agree blockchain probably won’t take off in full force in 2019, but there are still a few ways CMOs need to prepare for the tech’s mass adoption, which WILL happen—eventually. The main way I see CMOs benefiting from blockchain is through the sale of data in real time. Using blockchain, consumers of the future won’t just be secretly watched by the marketing powers that be. They’ll be willingly selling their data to interested takers, included savvy CMOs looking to better understand their target audience. Even more, it could mean another avenue of profit as CMOs look to resell that processed data to others.
Data to Analytics to Machine Learning to AI: Thank God for AI. In a world where data reigns—and rains—there is literally no way to process it in any meaningful way without AI. Forester predicts AI will lead to a marketing renaissance, where the earliest adopters are making waves with real-time marketing campaigns, and deeper processing of data to understand human behavior and emotions. In effect, AI is going to allow for data-driven campaigns that WORK. Just about every time. It may even cause some digitally transformed CMOs to miss the days when they could just be creative—rather than creating what AI shows will sell most effectively.
GDPR Forces Brand Hands: If there’s one area where the digitally transformed CMO may be getting pushback from the C-suite, it’s in dealing with GDPR. Studies show about 2/3 of companies still have yet to fully implement it—and for many, it likely feels like more of a headache than a business goal. Still, digitally transformed CMOs can use the GDPR to build customer trust and loyalty, especially if campaigned correctly. In fact, I’ve never met a customer who complained that their data was too safe, private, or secure.
AR Yes, VR (Still) No: I think a lot of digitally transformed CMOs have been crossing their fingers that VR would finally take off, but they’ll need to wait just a bit longer. Still, AR provides tons of opportunities to allow their customers to experience their services—learn new skills—and simply have fun, all of which improve CX. Whether it’s creating a customized Snapchat filter or using AR to help customers envision how a new couch or new pair of glasses will look in real life—AR has the power to convert customers—and get them talking.
Consumption-Based IT Services for the Win (FTW): In an age of as-a-Service everything, the digitally transformed CMO will be able to do anything with the help of consumption-based IT. Will the CIO always be in favor of it? That’s for another story. But in the meantime, consumption-based IT opens doors for CMOs hungry to use new technologies without investing in human capital to make it happen.
CEOs Take the Reigns: Albeit there may be a little bit of a power struggle, or a little disagreement over data-backed decision-making. All this means is that the digitally transformed CMO will need to get a little more (ironically) facetime with their boss to ensure the ship keeps sailing in a forward direction.
This is truly an exciting time for today’s CMOs—especially if they look at technology as a tool to help them market bigger and better, rather than an overwhelming force that’s pushing ahead, out of control. The digitally transformed CMO isn’t just a user of technology. It’s a leader who strategically picks and chooses which of these technologies will provide the most benefit to the company and its customers.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.