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Digital Marketing R&D Will Gain Momentum in 2016

Why are today’s savvy CEOs more deeply involved in marketing strategy? We know from prior market research that digital marketing adoption is often the precursor to the creation and execution of a broad corporate-wide digital transformation agenda. That’s why.

Moreover, the latest global market assessment by IDC concluded that all CEOs now need to better understand what the corporate marketing role can do to further their business technology adoption. Therefore, they also believe that the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) working relationship is now the key to strategic goal attainment.

Besides, CMOs that lead a traditional marketing organization have a mandate to move beyond merely achieving digital marketing ‘competency parity’ with their more progressive competitors.

Optimal Environment for Marketing Exploration

While it’s still a requirement that digital marketing skills training and mentoring of legacy staff continues into 2016, senior marketing leaders must do more to gain a competitive edge. CMOs need to create a digital marketing research and development (R&D) team that explores new approaches to major challenges -- by building and testing experimental go-to-market solutions.

That being said, the individual or team of digital marketing practitioners that drive these R&D efforts can’t report to an old-school mass-media marketer. It’s proven, an established culture of Status-Quo Bias and inertia within a traditional marketing organization creates resistance to any changes that may seem progressive.

So beware, you can’t ignite a fire of change and advance toward progress under a wet blanket that’s soaked in fear, uncertainty and doubt. CEOs will have to protect those key individuals who pursue a positive breakthrough from being attacked by the internal legacy forces that may attempt to sabotage new marketing ventures.

As part of a customer webinar series, IDC recently shared their analyst predictions for 2016 and beyond, highlighting key marketing leadership issues that will impact the organizations that have set a goal to digitally transform themselves over the next one to three years.

IDC Worldwide CMO Predictions for 2016:

  • Content marketing beats product: By 2017, CMOs will spend more on Content Marketing assets than they do on Product Marketing assets.
  • Cognitive marketing: By 2020, 50% of companies will use cognitive computing to automate marketing and sales interactions with customers.
  • Consolidating marketing technology: By 2017, 20% of large enterprise CMOs will consolidate their marketing infrastructure.
  • Outsourcing marketing tech via MaaS: By 2020, 33% of CMOs will outsource some digital marketing activities via Marketing-as-a-Service.
  • Predictive analytics adoption: By 2018, predictive analytics will be a standard tool for marketers, but only a third will get optimal benefit.
  • Ongoing CMO churn: CMO job turnover will continue at the forecast rate of 25% turnover per year through 2018. A two-year tenure will be common.
  • Blowing up the funnel: By 2020, 20% of marketers will abandon the traditional sales funnel in favor of a customer-centric model.
  • Marketing technology staff crisis: By 2017, 60% of CMO’s will lag recommended benchmarks for marketing technology staff investment; increasing the rift between the CMO and CIO.
  • Post-purchase marketing: In 2016, 70% of companies offering cloud or digital services will increase investment in post-purchase marketing.
  • Intelligence Ops Reorg: By 2018, 50% of CMOs will make significant structural changes to their market intelligence operations and associated organizations.


In summary, regarding the overall corporate marketing organization outlook -- particularly in the highly competitive Technology, Media and Telecom industries -- the increased pressure on CMOs will not subside.

Furthermore, the quest for fearless digital business champions will make the talent recruitment process a top priority for HR managers in both the tech vendor and enterprise customer environments during the coming year. Rewards will go to the Digital Progressives of the fourth industrial revolution; it’s inevitable.

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