American Marketer


Forrester Research: 2020 marketing trends

December 6, 2019

Marketing's role is in trouble at organizations if it does not grow its scope and accountability. Image credit: Forrester Research Marketing's role is in trouble at organizations if it does not grow its scope and accountability. Image credit: Forrester Research


By Thomas Husson

In the past three weeks, I have shared the key findings of our predictions research to different clients and at some Forrester events in London and in Amsterdam. It is always interesting to challenge clients on some of their assumptions, discuss what trends will accelerate next year or to be challenged on some of the bold calls we collectively make at Forrester.

We have made dozens of predictions, but here below I decided to only share five of them to give you an overview of some of the mega trends we expect to impact chief marketing officers and business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketers in Europe:

Consumers search for deeper meaning and CMOs must rally around customer value. Today’s customers live in tumultuous times. Disinformation campaigns, social isolation, wealth inequality, climate change and political unrest surround them. As a result, they want to align their purchases with their values.

The massive usage of apps like Yuka in France – product scanner for food and cosmetic products – demonstrate such a phenomenon.

This is not a new one, but a trend that has slowly climbed from niche to mainstream.

For example, 59 percent of U.K. consumers consider company values when making a buying a decision. The percentage is even higher among the younger generation.

While lower-income earners may not be able to buy in accordance with their values, the desire for values alignment is steady across income brackets.

Some brands such as Patagonia answer these growing expectations by being authentic. We expect at least five Fortune 500 brands to seek B Corp status to bolster brand.

Unilever’s CEO said he will kill brands if they hurt society or the planet.

However, it is a double-edged sword: by making only surface-level commitments, some brands risks losing trust and equity.

To shift from storytelling to story making, CMOs must extend their span of control but only 10 percent of them will truly elevate the marketing function. The CMO must establish control that extends beyond marketing, because you simply cannot build, express, sell, communicate, connect or service today’s brands without continuity in the budget or authority. That continuity is essential to ensuring that the company demonstrates its brand promise consistently.

In 2020, one designated C-suite leader will be responsible for all that surrounds the customer, clarifying the role of marketing in a business environment obsessed with growth.

If the CMO does not elevate his role in the C-Suite, the marketing function risks being eliminated or dissolved with chief growth officers, chief client officers and chief experience officers stepping in.

By orchestrating customer experience (CX), external causes and startlingly new opportunities for co-creation, CMOs will become more than storytellers – they will become story-makers, placing consumers at the center of their company values, experiences and processes.

The number of CX executives will grow by 25 percent. In 2020, customer experience professionals will either quantify their business impact and reach new levels of influence, or find themselves in a tenuous position.

In response to market turmoil, CEOs will demand that CX initiatives move out of the experimental phase and prove their contributions to top- and/or bottom-line growth. Measurement, metrics and analytics will become critical to the success of CX initiatives.

Marketing technology spending will get a strategic calibration. On average, marketers dedicate 22 percent of their budgets to technology.

In Europe, more than two thirds of marketers plan to continue to increase in marketing technology (MarTech) next year and more specifically more than one in five marketers will increase their MarTech budget by more than 10 percent.

However, to differentiate brands must blend technology with data and creativity and ensure they stop amassing technology debt by over focusing on the latest shiny technologies.

Leaders activate data and creativity to power moment marketing throughout the customer journey.

B2B marketers finally embrace customer-centricity. Slowly, business-to-business buyers have shifted engagement to digital channels and increased their self-directed research.

So far, B2B marketing organizations may have recognized these shifting tides, but have been slow to change how they operate. But we have reached the tipping point.

In 2020, B2B CMOs will embrace change, rearrange their organizations and reprioritize their investments.

Thirty percent more organizations will shift towards audience-based structures instead of operating by channel or by industry-specific domain. Sales enablement will become a marketing responsibility for a majority. In 2019, sales enablement reports to the marketing function in only 23 percent of the organizations we surveyed.

Thomas Husson is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Thomas Husson is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research

Thomas Husson is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

This post originally appeared here.