Gartner Top 5 Marketing Predictions for 2018

April 13, 2018
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

5 fundamental shifts around authenticity, organization and tools will be key to succeeding in 2018.

Consumers have become numb to brand interactions that are not authentic and relevant. They want the brands they love to demonstrate a thorough understanding of their preferences, offer personalized interactions and make a social impact. Consumers are redefining brand value on their terms, demanding greater convenience and relevance from every engagement and every device.

“Trends at the intersection of technology, society and commerce create a perfect storm for brand decline.”

“To stay relevant, strengthen those capabilities that enable marketing deliverables to match elevated customer expectations,” says Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, research director, Gartner for Marketers.

Newbold-Knipp shares Gartner’s top five marketing predictions for 2018 and beyond.

Seventy-five of the top 100 global consumer brands will lose 20% of their brand equity value to declining brand perception and loyalty by 2020.

The two sources of brand equity — customer-experience-based loyalty and advocacy and advertising-based awareness and preference — are faltering. Trends at the intersection of technology, society and commerce create a perfect storm for brand decline, including:

  • Social media polarization
  • Inflammatory content
  • Ad blocking and avoidance
  • Corruption in the ad media supply chain
  • Consolidation of channel power among a small number of global internet companies

As a result, long-standing iconic consumer brands are seeing market share and sales decline in slow-growth categories.

Early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30% by 2021.

Voice-driven search queries are on track to become the dominant search mode for mobile users. Major players such as Google, Bing, Pinterest, Facebook, Apple and others are enabling visual-driven search capabilities in their own and partners’ apps. These types of search queries improve marketers’ understanding of consumer interests and intent. Early-adopter brands and commerce sites will capitalize on the consumer shift to these search modalities to improve conversion, revenue growth, new customer acquisition, market share and customer satisfaction.

90% of brands will practice at least one form of marketing personalization, but content will be the bottleneck and cause of failure by 2020.

Personalization is on the rise. Sixty percent of marketers surveyed in the 2016 Gartner Marketing Technology Survey report that they are already using or planning to deploy a tool in the next 18 months for personalization or site-side optimization. However, most marketers fail to realize that even with superior customer data, they do not have adequate content to deliver what customers expect.

Marketing organizations that reimagine the creative brief and segment their content into atoms or dynamic components for targeting and reuse will be better equipped to capitalize on personalized experiences by uniting customer data with relevant content.

Forty percent of specialized mobile and social marketing jobs will be absorbed into generalist roles or replaced by automation by year-end 2022.

Determining which marketing channel best serves audience and business objectives is the top struggle among 33% of marketing leaders, according to the 2017 Gartner Multichannel Marketing Effectiveness Survey.

“Focus investments in talent and technology away from channel-specific marketing solutions and staff and toward customer analytics.”

As marketing matures, leaders will stop delineating by channel and start investing more in multichannel, multidisciplinary technologies that promise enhanced, real-time decision making based on real-time data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). These tools will empower multichannel marketers and augment the work of social and mobile specialists. AI will be used to deliver data-driven marketing insights and automate channel selection, campaign orchestration, optimization and measurement.

Focus investments in talent and technology away from channel-specific marketing solutions and staff and toward customer analytics, marketing automation and campaign management platforms, which mechanize marketing based on context, not channel.

Read More: Build an Agile Marketing Team

AI embedded in analytics and other marketing software will displace more than a third of data analysts in marketing organizations by 2022.

Marketing analytics talent is in short supply due to high demand and its rising strategic importance. Data scientists and other marketing analysts able to turn data into valuable, actionable insights are hard to find and hire. A truly data-informed marketing strategy will increasingly require an all-hands effort.  

“Data scientists who support marketing and dedicated marketing analysts must expand their skill sets now.”

Barriers to using marketing analytics tools will fall, and more people across the organization will use data for real-time decision making. In the process, the reliance on dedicated marketing data analysts will decrease. Data scientists who support marketing and dedicated marketing analysts must expand their skill sets now to ensure they can adapt as analytics technology encroaches on their specialty.

Read More: Simple Questions to Assess AI Risks and Benefits

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