I had the pleasure of presenting an AMA webinar this week, where we investigated the evolution of marketing, and how it’s shaping the future of the marketing department.

Much has been written across the airwaves around the growing importance of the CMO, and I cannot recollect a more exciting time to be in marketing.

Gartner, one of the key commentators on the evolution of marketing, predicts that CMOs will spend more on IT than the CIO.Forrester talks about using Big Data for greater marketing insight. Salesforce recently focused its annual Dreamforce conference on the CMO, while Oracle acquired Eloqua, and Adobe took over CMO.com. Clearly, this is a hot space.

Here are my predictions for where the evolution of marketing will take us:

1. It’s all about the customer

Marketing finally recognizes that the customer comes first and stops trying to ram features, functions, and product news out. Customers are not interested—they research for themselves, talk to other customers, and want to know how to solve business issues.

2. End of standalone social software

Marketing enters a trough of disillusionment with standalone social software. Social becomes a feature within enterprise technology, helping to “get the job done” –for example, using social commentary on content creation, or driving external thought leadership.

3. Marketing becomes a science – rocket scientists rule

Marketing captures and analyzes everything. Data becomes the new black. Data scientists rule and everything done by marketing relates to delivering personalized, compelling, and honest content to the customer/prospect, based upon deep knowledge and insight. To me, this is the biggest jump forward in the evolution of marketing.

4. Team silos disappear

Internal siloes are removed and replaced by cross-functional teams, within and beyond the firewall, working together to deliver compelling content that excites the customer.

5. Content becomes intelligent – it finds you

Enterprise search becomes a theoretical concept of yesteryear. Instead of searching through shared storage drives and directories ad nauseam, content becomes intelligent and is delivered directly to you on your chosen device. How cool will that be! (Note: we already do this with Huddle).

6. The agency becomes the trusted partner for specific skills

Agencies flourish—but only as proven experts in specific disciplines such as digital demand generation, creative delivery, or social engagement. Full service agencies become a thing of the past, and CMOs demand proven ROI and demonstrable value.

7. The balance of power with sales changes

Marketing becomes the powerhouse for sales. The waterfall becomes an obsolete construct, replaced by a scientific model embracing both digital and interpersonal dialogues. The role of marketing is to engage with prospects early, in their discovery phase, and deliver highly qualified opportunities into the sales function. Prospects will have completed 70% of their qualification and research before they even talk with a sales rep. This fundamental stepping-stone, within the evolution of marketing, will rebalance the sales relationship.

8. Email dies

Email, as a mass communication tool, dies and evolves into a personalized dialogue tool to engage with prospects in the early-phase digital dialogue. Prospects will be fooled by sophisticated, automated dialogue, thinking they’re engaging with real humans as this personalization reaches an unprecedented level of sophistication.

9. The traditional database dies

The prospecting database moves from a traditional “internal database” to external communities. For example, LinkedIn becomes the number one prospecting database for B2B, while Facebook remains the chosen database for B2C. The role of marketing is to monetize these communities and engage in dialogue to drive pipeline.

10. Everything moves into the cloud

All marketing infrastructure, analytics, and processes move into the cloud. On-premise technology dies as CMOs recognize that the fast innovation they need only comes from cloud providers.

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