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Changing Consumer Behavior, Tech Innovation Put CMOs At Risk

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Shifting consumer behaviors, mounting regulatory pressures, organizational shifts and disruptive automation combine to pose a real and destabilizing threat to many marketing leaders and their strategies for the years ahead, according to Gartner Inc.

In the report titled, “Predicts 2019: Marketing Seeks a New Equilibrium,” Gartner analysts predict six critical changes that will help guide marketing leaders while navigating this new terrain.

“These are exciting, but uncertain times for CMOs (chief marketing officers) and marketing leaders. From the promise of data and analytics, to the lure of customer experience (CX) and everything in between, marketers have vast opportunities to set themselves apart from the competition, but equal challenges to overcome in order to do so,” said Charles Golvin, senior director and analyst at Gartner. “Finding the right balance to successfully leverage marketing technology and emerging trends will be critical to marketing’s success over the course of the next couple of years.”

Gartner analysts said these predictions will help marketers better understand and prepare for the uncertain times ahead:

By 2022, profitability will replace customer experience as the CMO’s No. 1 strategic priority, reducing investment in marketing-funded CX programs by at least 25 percent. Brands that put in place user-level control of marketing data will reduce customer churn by 40 percent and increase lifetime value by 25 percent in 2023.

By 2022, content creators will produce more than 30 percent of their digital content with the aid of AI content-generation techniques, increasing productivity and advertising effectiveness but also disrupting the creative process.

By 2023, 60 percent of CMOs will slash the size of their marketing analytics departments by 50 percent because of a failure to realize promised improvements. By 2023, autonomous marketing systems will issue 55 percent of multichannel marketing messages based on marketer criteria and real-time consumer behavior, resulting in a 25 percent increase in response rates.

By 2023, consumers will watch 20 percent fewer minutes of video advertising per day than they do today. Brands will adapt by embracing short-form video ads.

These predictions grow out of four key forces that are buffeting marketers today:

Behavioral Changes: As voice interfaces continue to improve, consumers are beginning to embrace the convenience. However, concerns about how marketers use this information and where it is all stored continue to mount. Gartner research reveals that 44 percent of consumers would be more willing to use a virtual personal assistant app if they knew that all their personal data would only remain on the device.

Regulatory Pressures: In the wake of consumer advocates shedding light on customer data-powered overreach and missteps, regulatory changes on the use of customer data now threaten to hinder many common marketing practices. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the first of many more regulations to come.

Organizational Shifts: Marketing leaders are attempting to satiate their appetite for data by hiring new talent that can extract insights from the vast amount of data they have acquired. Meanwhile, while marketing analytics teams continue to inflate, so have investments in CX. Executive scrutiny and expectations in these investment areas is rapidly intensifying.

Disruptive Automation: Now a core functional element of nearly every category of marketing technology, machine intelligence carries the promise of increased efficiency. As automation makes its way into new areas, these changes will have a disruptive impact on what marketers do and how they do it.

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