Gartner: Profitability will trump CX for marketers by 2022

Latest marketing predictions driven by key trends including automation, customer experience hype, consumer behavioural changes and data utilisation

Profitability is set to replace customer experience as the chief marketing officer’s number one strategy priority in the next three years as the state of data and technology matures and consumer behaviour shifts further, a new report claims.

Gartner’s latest report, Predict 2019: Marketing Seeks a New Equilibrium, outlines six key changes it sees significantly re-orienting the CMO’s remit and priorities over the next three to four years. All these predictions reflect more realistic expectations and utilisation of data and technology in marketing departments, including the increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as a correction in customer experience hype.

For example, Gartner predicted that by 2022, profitability will replace customer experience (CX) as the CMO’s number one strategic priority, reducing investment in marketing-funded CX programs by at least 25 per cent. The firm attributed this to inflated investments into customer experience in the last few years, which are now leading to executive scrutiny and expectations in these investment areas rapidly intensifying.

Another complementary prediction is a rise in brands putting in place user-level control of marketing, a move that will reduce customer churn by 40 per cent and increase lifetime value by 25 per cent in 2023.

Gartner also expects autonomous marketing systems will issue 55 per cent of multi-channel marketing messages based on marketer criteria and real-time consumer behaviour by 2023, resulting in a 25 per cent increase in response rates. Automation is clearly driving this trend.

Over the next four years, content creators are also expected to produce more than 30 per cent of their digital content with the aid of AI content-generation techniques, increasing productivity and advertising effectiveness but also disrupting the creative process itself.

Another trend for Gartner is that consumers will watch 20 per cent fewer minutes of video advertising per day by 2023 compared to today, leading to brands embracing short-form video ads.

To reach this top six, Gartner said it weighed up four key forces. The first was behaviour changes thanks largely to the rise of voice interfaces and their utilisation of personal data. Concerns about how information is used, however, and where it’s stored, continue to rise, again impacting behaviour. The firm noted 44 per cent of consumers would be more willing to use a virtual personal assistant app if they knew all their personal data would only remain on the device.

Another big force is regulatory pressure, something that’s again tied to consumer data. The debut of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe in 2018 is seen by many as a catalyst for more thorough scrutiny and just the first in many regulatory changes to come.

Organisational shifts is the third big disruptive force, and Gartner said one big element is marketing leaders attempting to cope with the increasing swathes of data they’re acquiring by hiring new talent that can extract insights from it. The push to be more customer-centric is also having a significant impact, something that can be seen from the rising numbers of marketers now gaining chief customer and CX titles and responsibilities.

The fourth of its forces is disruptive automation, which has become a core functional element of most marketing departments and programs. As automation makes its way into new areas, Gartner said these changes will have a disruptive impact on what marketers do and how they do it.

“These are exciting but uncertain times for CMOs and marketing leaders,” commented Gartner senior director and analyst, Charles Golvin. “From the promise of data and analytics, to the lure of customer experience and everything inbetween, marketers have vast opportunities to set themselves apart from the competition, but equal challenges to overcome in order to do so.

“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.”

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