Four forces are deep at work altering the landscape for marketing in 2019 and beyond. The forces and the opportunities they represent are hidden in plain sight.
Shifting consumer behaviors and technology innovation deprive marketers of equilibrium, says Charles Golvin, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner for the marketer. Recovering that equilibrium will require organizational alacrity, a laser focus on customer needs and a balanced embrace of automation.
Behavioral changes: Convenient and cool, but not creepy, please
Voice interfaces continue to improve and consumers have embraced the technology. They use voice commands whether in their home, car, office or out and about to get tips and advice as they would from a human being.
At the same time, consumers are concerned about how marketers might exploit these interactions and where their utterances are stored. In December 2018, an Amazon customer downloaded over 1,7voice recording files of a stranger who used the Alexa personal assistant. News outlets were able to identify and contact the stranger. Nonetheless, consumers are ravenous for video content and new consumption formats.
Regulatory pressure: The (GDPR) genie is out of the bottle
The shift from analog to digital advertising powered marketers obsessive focus on customer data and rewarded companies most adept at converting that data into intelligence and action. Consumer advocates responded to this new reality, which helped to promote headlines of data-powered overreach and missteps. Regulators have responded with restrictions that threaten to neutralize common marketing practices. Marketing leaders now recognize that the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the first instance of a regulatory wave that is spreading globally.
Brands around the world cannot afford to apply yesterdays models, but instead must take a proactive, transparent stance on privacy
Heading into 2019, regulatory pressure and consumer privacy demands are built on a foundation of distrust. Yet what consumers want and expect is more confusing than ever. For instance, the Gartner L2 Intelligence Report on Data and Targeting found that 50% of consumers in the U.K. and U.S. are generally not willing to give up their personal data but 47% also believe it's helpful to receive recommendations based on browsing history.
Brands around the world cannot afford to apply yesterdays models but instead must take a proactive, transparent stance on privacy if they want to reap the rewards of sophisticated, targeted marketing.
Organizational shifts: Be careful what you wish for CEOs, CFOs, and other executives are intensifying their scrutiny of marketing analytics and customer experience (CX) investments.
Marketers unquenchable appetite for data creates an acute need for new analytical talent with the skills to extract insights from vast amounts of data. Yet these high-demand roles are misaligned to the critical needs of marketing teams.
Based on the Gartner 2018 Marketing Analytics survey, nearly half of marketing leaders surveyed said some of their most expensive and experienced analysts and data scientists spend their time preparing data to be analyzed rather than analyzing the data. Amid increased scrutiny by executives, analytics teams on average ballooned from a couple of people to 45 full-time employees (FTEs) in a few short years. In parallel, marketers embrace CX as a guiding company virtue, which has spurred investments in a diversity of CX initiatives.
Disruptive automation: Get comfortable marketing with machines
Machine intelligence has become a core functional element of nearly every category of marketing technology. Vendors promise the artificial intelligence will yield with increases in marketer efficiency and deliver optimal communications to prospects and customers at the moment of maximum influence.
Automation continues to find its way into new areas, and these incursions will have a disruptive impact on what members of the marketing team and their partners do and how they do it. The rise of programmatic and atomic content marketing and customer data platforms exemplify how marketers have already put automation and machine learning to use to improve marketing outcomes and customer experiences.