Marketing 2020

By Dan Sixsmith

Oct 12, 2018 2020, Marketing

The rate of change in business today is so fast that companies that were once household names have vanished before our eyes. Multi-billion-dollar organizations one day, and gone the next. Shit! right? There is much discussion about ‘managing’ change but the reality is in the Digital Age, there is no such thing. If you are trying to ‘manage’ change, by definition, you are putting yourself and your company in harm’s way. The reality is that the only way to succeed in a business environment where the rate of change is for lack of a better word, exponential, is to create the change. Lead the change. Challenge the status quo. As we look toward 2019 and amazingly 2020, we need to get comfortable with uncertainty, with surprise, with finding a better way. We need to develop a distaste for comfort. Paranoia is now your friend. Today’s successful approach may be tomorrow’s disappointment. Lastly, the notion that we have all of the answers is the fastest way to the ‘yesterday’s news’ scrap heap.

There is much discussion about ‘managing’ change, but the reality is there is no such thing.

As we look toward next year, which is coming on quickly, marketers face a crossroads. Do they take the easy way out and hope to keep up with change or do they create and lead change in their organizations? Will they hire more yes-men? Or mavericks? Play it safe/status quo or put it all on the line? Will marketers face even greater scrutiny? Will they even possibly be disintermediated? Here are a few of the keys to moving your organization to succeed in 2019 and beyond.


Did you know that 54% of consumers believe that companies don’t have their best interests in mind? And that 82% of consumers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and Leadership team are actively engaged on social media? (LinkedIn) And that 77% are more likely to buy from that company? Yet 61% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social presence whatsoever. According to Forbes, “CEOs don’t have to spend untold hours on social media pushing people to buy their brand. But the ones who are doing social media best are creating buzz within their communities and connecting with customers—always a plus.” So get your team on social. Tell them to create a point of view and a personal brand. Be authentic.


According to CMI, only 57% of marketers know how to prove that their efforts lead to sales. Hmm, what is their job again? Ok, and why are they getting paid? The other 43% should begin dusting off their resumes or look into a new line of work. For years, we have joked about the John Wanamaker classic line that “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.”

Well, this line just simply isn’t funny anymore…

Data, Analytics and Measurement have reached new levels of sophistication. With more data available than ever before, marketers need to know which buckets of information are most critical to their business and how to effectively access, monitor and ACT on that data. Not acting on data is a missed opportunity. REPEAT-not acting on data is a missed opportunity. And in this next phase of the digital age, we have seen where missed opportunities lead. Rapid extinction. Most troubling, though, is that only 28% of marketers characterize themselves as effective in data management. 54% say that they have insufficient data analysis capabilities and more troubling, are unable to translate this information into an effective and coherent story. So, you need to get your data figured out, turn it into actionable insights that you can use in your business. Conversion is your goal in 2019 and beyond.


The standards that customers use to evaluate brands today are higher than ever before. The expectations of consumers today are clearly rising. It’s sometimes not enough to have a problem free experience. Consumers are seeking to feel special. They are looking for companies that anticipate their needs, make suggestions, surprise and delight them, and deliver a personalized experience without it being perceived as creepy or intrusive. Knowing your customer better than ever, living in the conversations, understanding his or her needs and understanding the trends builds loyalty. The only way brands can live up to these expectations is if their marketing leaders up their game-gain a deeper understanding of their business and subsequently pull the right levers to over perform for their customers and maximize their effectiveness. Today, attracting the right customers, converting them into leads, closing the sale and delighting the customer is about setting objectives, designing strategies and implementing scientific, measurable tactics that maximize goodwill, sales, revenue and profitability. Here are some key questions you must have the answers to today:

What does my best customer look like? How should I market to them? What is the shortest path to conversion? What conversion channel should I used and why? What are my highest converting audiences? How do I eliminate underperforming audiences?


As CMOs take on greater accountability, blame, and pressure, and as the tools they need to be successful evolve in sophistication, it is evident that the agency model we once knew is outdated and ineffective. Agencies must transform their business models to meet the needs of modern CMOs, according to a new industry report.

Agencies today must not only provide communication, creative and media services — but also come armed with broader business and technology strategy as well as data and analytics expertise. (Business Insider)

This calls for a new type of agency or outsourced partner. One that can take a broader view and help senior leaders lead business transformation. The large consulting firms like Accenture and McKinsey have taken away share from the traditional agencies. But are they nimble enough? Can they keep up with the pace at which CMOs are running today? The need for speed is more critical than ever. Data is the new oil. Fast, accurate decision making will make or break the modern marketer. Smaller, agile, hard running firms with the technology chops but also the ability to execute on all of the elements of effective campaigns are poised to grab the attention of the modern CMO. These firms provide marketers with the ability to shift and switch gears in order to drive growth, and not only compete but lead.

“CEOs want CMOs to be voices of customer, be able to [influence] people in finance and operations and IT, and online and offline and, in the case of retail, in the stores, [convincing them of] why marketing matters. Be smart, credible and sophisticated,” -Spencer Stuart

THE BEST MARKETERS...As 2019 rapidly approaches and the stakes continue to be raised by the consumer, marketers need “2020” vision to lead change in their organizations. According to the search consultancy, Spencer Stuart, “the very best marketers are performance-led, metrics-focused and have an incredible balance of [art and science].” Are you a performance marketer? Do you have what it takes to create new revenue streams? New business models? To shatter long standing traditions? To reinvent your business? To lead change? To drive growth? To find your best customers? To build the most effective culture? You may think it’s a lot to ask. But it’s not. If so, it might be time to look at another line of work. The good news is that the playing field is changing and the opportunities for new and reinvented leaders, new and reinvented agencies are tremendous. You have a chance to write the script for success. Will you step up and answer the call?