Gerry Brown (CX Research Director)

First and second place categories in IDC’s new 2019 Top 10 Worldwide CMO Predictions go to (i) AI with 4 predictions and (ii) privacy, trust and compliance with 3 predictions. The remaining 3 predictions refer to advertising and Blockchain, new marketing organisation structures, and the use of voice-based assistants in marketing activities.

In the new report IDC advises CMOs: “Be ready for AI everywhere. AI will become a part of most if not all marketing processes”. Wow. The grunt work that marketers have suffered for all these years might just be on the way out! Databases and spreadsheets might just update themselves with some AI help! But does this mean that marketers are all going to be made redundant? Nope, not necessarily. The report suggests marketers need to migrate to more interesting creative and strategy touchy-feely roles in this new world of AI-assisted marketing.

So how should CMO’s approach ‘AI-ing’ in their marketing departments? The report suggests “Identify areas in marketing that can clearly be automated and other areas that would benefit from a more human touch. Focus AI on easily automated or repetitive tasks”. (Note to marketers – prioritise your career development to move away from easily automated or repetitive tasks). Data has been all the rage in marketing for a while now, but the implication here is that we humans should focus back on the original mad-men work of marketers – thinking out of the box about customer needs and how we can differentiate our offers through superior customer-engaging creativity. Let the machines handle the data while marketers handle the people-side!

Creative empathy towards customers should also be directed towards the 2nd most popular category in IDC’s CMO predictions – privacy, trust and compliance. Such matters are emotion-filled. Our lack of trust in brands is caused by brands’ cavalier approach towards the use of digital marketing technologies – think email spam, on-line advertising pestering, and lack of response to social media complaints and criticisms. Also many brands have failed to keep our personal private data safe – hands up British Airways, 3, Sony, Adidas, Under Armour, Facebook, Dixons Carphone and the list goes on. Customer trust and marketing consent is now a super-big issue driven by legal regulations such as GDPR, as well as consumer distain for ‘bad corporate behaviour’.

The report concludes: “New buyer-side technologies and interfaces, combined with changes in buyer preferences and regulatory guidelines, mean that marketing leaders must leverage available technologies to a greater degree than ever before”. “Brands need to take a new approach to infrastructure in order to deliver a continuous, outstanding, deeply connected experience to every customer.” No time to waste on acting on this one. As the tech author William Gibson famously said “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”.

If you want to learn more about this topic or have any questions, please contact Gerry Brown.