CMO's 19 most-read articles in 2019

We take a look at the most popular articles across the CMO site during 2019 according to our readership statistics


Change, disruption, uncertainty and engagement on the customer’s terms – looking at this year’s list of most-read stories on CMO, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d actively sought out these topics as areas to focus on.

Yet it’s clear the transformation of marketing from broadcast to two-way engagement, thanks to the ongoing disruptive impact of digital and connectivity, has continued to dominate marketing industry discussions and thinking in 2019.

From the big martech mergers and acquisitions of 2019, to the growing importance of data in how marketing is undertaken, the changing skills mix required and the brand narrative that must accompany it, this year’s most-read articles again highlight the changing marketing lot. And they’re also a reflection of the way the entire consumer and societal landscape is changing in the face of digitisation and new technology frontiers.

Salesforce CMO: The age of the marketing campaign is over

According to Salesforce global CMO, Stephanie Buscemi, there’s no way around it anymore: The age of marketing campaign is over as marketers shift to continuous, always-on engagement.

“I’ve been at this for 25 years now. It used to be a definite campaign season, or planning season, then it’s in market and you’re waiting retrospective reporting and review. That’s gone,” she told CMO. “Now, it must be a continuous process and getting teams to be more nimble about changing content on the fly and being OK with that. We’re not going to get it right every time. But if we do it in a transparent and authentic way, customers are cool with it and they get it.”

Read more from Stephanie Buscemi here.

Barack Obama: How to be a leader of leaders

Being a leader is not a matter of having your name up in lights, making speeches or corralling power at the top. It’s identifying the power in other people and unleashing it, former US president, Barack Obama, believes.

“If you’re good at identifying that power, you will inevitably have influence because a lot of people will want to work with you and collaborate,” Obama told attendees at the Dreamforce conference in November. “You’ll build a culture that is all about mission and getting things done.”  

Yet the inspiring leader also raised concerns about the information age and how disruptive technologies potentially represent “a dangerous moment” for society.

“Part of what happens is people don’t know what’s true and what’s not, what to believe and not to believe,” he said. “They’re suddenly confronted with things they didn’t have to deal with before as they were operating in isolation. The big challenge right now is how to get a common conversation and culture going.”

Read more from Barack Obama here.  

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

With voice, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, natural language processing and facial recognition all becoming mainstream, it can feel as if marketers are always chasing their tails as they strive to keep up. Add to this the constant, and very ad-hoc, data privacy protections going up almost by postcode, and the marketing path is a difficult, and volatile, one to be treading.

So what does 2019 hold for digital marketers, and marketing generally? We asked a raft of industry experts from the marketing technology and industry community to share their thoughts on 2019 and beyond, and what marketers needed to know.

Read more digital marketing predictions here.

Report: Australian ad spend to tip $17 billion in 2019

As we entered 2019, GroupM’s biannual ad spend forecast report predicted Australia’s ad spend would grow by 4.4 per cent to $17.2 billion in 2019 off the back of strong display advertising investments and as TV records its first growth in six years.

The report also stated Australia’s ad spend in 2018 is on track to reach $16.5 billion, an increase of 5.6 per cent year-on-year. 

This was against worldwide figures suggesting global advertising investment growth in 2018 was 4.3 per cent, down from mid-year prediction of 4.5 per cent. In 2019, global predictions were pitched at 3.6 per cent global growth, or $19 billion, again a 0.3 per cent forecast downgrade on figures reported earlier in 2018. 

Read more about the ad spend predictions here.

Predictions: 9 AI trends in marketing for 2019

You can’t talk about marketing today without the conversation steering to AI or machine learning. Once touted as a silver bullet for data collation, analysis, as well as customer service, AI and ML have grown past the original hype and smart marketers are using them as a way to amplify human intelligence, rather than as a replacement for it.

CMO spoke to various experts in the marketing field about what difference AI will really make to marketing in 2019.

Read more about AI in marketing trends here

Woolworths launches Cartology to tackle the changing retail landscape

During 2019, ASX-listed Woolworths Group launched a retail media business, Cartology, and began rolling out a national digital screen network across Woolworths Supermarkets and new performance tracking modelling.

The new initiatives aim to assess campaign effectiveness and forge a better connection with consumers. Cartology MD, Mike Tyquin, said the supermarket group was excited to officially launch Cartology and be in a position to further innovate retail media in Australia to better connect customers to brands.

“Cartology is a response to the changing retail and media landscape that both us and our supplier partners are trying to navigate. We have the ability to reach customers everyday with personally relevant messages via our unique programs and our owned in-store, digital and social media channels,” he said. “With insight gleaned from over a billion transactions, we can help further support a better shopping experience for our customers across their retail journey at Woolworths Supermarkets and BWS.”

Read more about Cartology here.

Gillette’s latest ad proves why brands standing for positive change is vital

It was arguably one of the most talked about campaigns of 2019: Gillette’s ‘Best men can be’, a nod to the #metoo movement and a response to increasing pressure on  brands to take a more definitive social stance on culture and societal trends.

The campaign struck a chord with many and immediately went viral with more than four million views on YouTube in 48 hours, and more than 13 million views three days in. But equally, it divided the industry and consumers both in terms of creative and execution, as well as strategy.

Amid the flurry of controversy after its launch, including paradoxical criticism that only proved just how vital taking on toxic masculinity is, is the acknowledgement by the P&G powerhouse that brands do, in fact, influence culture and have a role to play in encouraging society to do better.

Read more about Gillette's campaign and industry feedback here

Zero party data: What on earth is it and why do marketers need it?

If you’ve been around the marketing traps for the last year or two, you may have heard of ‘Zero Party Data’.

However, you may be unclear as to what it actually is. It is a fancy way of saying first-party data? Is it is different kind of data altogether? Are we not already inundated with too much data? How many more data categories do we really need as marketers?

CMO took on the challenge and investigated what exactly zero party data is, and why its value relates to the two key terms on every marketer’s lips: Privacy and value.

Read more on zero party data here.

20-year ANZ senior marketer exits business

In amid the tumult of marketing leaders choosing or being forced to leave their roles in 2019, one announcement appeared to stand out among the pack for CMO readers: That of ANZ’s Carolyn Bendall exiting the banking group.

Bendall left the banking group in August after a 20-year career encompassing a host of senior marketing and divisional positions. In a comment to CMO, she said it was a hard to leave ANZ, especially given the amazing team and partners she’s built there over the years.

“But the time was right for me to make the move and I’m excited about doing something new with my skills and experience,” she said.

Read more on Carolyn Bendall's departure here.

Industry weighs up IBM offloading marketing and commerce technology stack

Every year since Scott Brinker put together his first martech lumascape, the industry has seen significant, seismic shifts in the volume and value of marketing and advertising technology offerings.

In amid the mergers, acquisitions, integrations and consolidations of 2019, one of the most high-profile martech stories was of IBM’s decision to offload its marketing and commerce technologies to private equity firm, Centerbridge.

In a blog post, IBM general manager, Inhi C Suh, said the move was taken so IBM can better focus on its supply chain innovations, including blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things. It’s also arguably about giving the marketing the scope outside of IBM to opportunity to gain more focus rather than be lost in the mix. Yet analysts were unconvinced the move would give the tech stack the focus it needed to win in the increasingly competitive martech landscape.

Read more about IBM's martech decision here.

Up next: More most-read articles on CMO in 2019

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