In 2015, digital marketing budgets will increase by 8%, according to a recent Gartner’s CMO Spend Report, a survey of 315 marketing decision makers representing organizations with more than $500 million in annual revenue.
Customer experience is the top innovation project for 2015, continuing its role as the top priority for marketing investment in 2014. The survey also found that
- In 79% of companies, marketing has a budget for capital expenditures — primarily, for infrastructure and software
- Marketers are managing a P&L and generating revenue from digital advertising, digital commerce and sale of data
- 68% of organizations have a separate digital marketing budget — it averages a quarter of the total marketing budget
- Two-thirds of companies are funding digital marketing via reinvestment of existing marketing budgets
Earlier this year, IBM found in its worldwide survey of CMOs that CEOs increasingly call on them for strategic input. Furthermore, the CMO now comes second only to the CFO in terms of the influence he or she exerts on the CEO. The survey also found, however, that very few CMOs have made much progress in building a robust digital marketing capability: Only 20%, for example, have set up social networks for the purpose of engaging with customers, and the percentage of CMOs who have integrated their company’s interactions with customers across different channels, installed analytical programs to mine customer data and created digitally enabled supply chains to respond rapidly to changes in customer demand is even smaller. Almost all CMOs, 82% of survey respondents, felt underprepared to deal with the explosion of data.
With this as a background, here’s a summary of what digital marketing and the CMO will look like in 2015, based on observations by Scott Brinker, a leading commentator on marketing technology, Forrester, TopRank online marketing blog, Wheelhouse Advisors, and Brian Solis.
CMOs will take charge of focusing their companies on the customer
CMOs and their marketing teams will become the primary driver behind customer-centric company growth. Leveraging their knowledge of the customer and the competitive landscape, CMOs will advise and council CEOs on how to win, serve, and retain customers to grow the business. They will also lead organizational changes and new collaboration initiatives aimed at unifying all customer engagement activities across the enterprise.
CMOs will poach IT staff to help them manage a rapidly expanding digital marketing landscape
The number of digital marketing tools will grow in 2015 with new startups and large, established tech companies confusing even more that CMO with their numerous offerings. To help manage this embarrassment of riches and move their companies further on their digital marketing journey, CMOs will be poaching IT staff looking for new challenges and better salaries.
CMOs should expect heavy rains from proliferating digital marketing clouds
Digital marketing tools will be increasingly offered as a cloud-based solution (“marketing-as-a-service”) rather than licensed software. Cloud-based solutions will continue to expand their ecosystems, with many small software developers adding apps to existing cloud-based digital marketing platforms.
CMOs will invest in new digital marketing hot areas
Content marketing and predictive analytics will continue to be hot areas of interest and investment for CMOs, but they will be joined in 2015 by sales enablement, post-sale customer marketing, marketing finance, marketing talent management, and new tools based on the Internet of Things, allowing for the integration of offline and online experiences.
CMOs will become brand publishers
CMOs in 2015 will act as heads of a publishing house, overseeing the entire spectrum of brand engagement, increasing the quality of their output, and improving the perceived value of digital interactions with customers and prospects.
[First published on Forbes.com]