20 Company Leaders Make Predictions for Marketers

While CEOs create the vision and path a business moves down, marketers produce the content designed to connect with customers and bring in sales. Without skilled and experienced marketers, businesses struggle to grow revenue streams and expand its client base. With the continued implementation of new technological features into advertising, marketers must evolve with the times while meeting the needs of the CEO and board of directors. Regardless of industry and company size, here are the predictions of 20 CEOs for things to come for marketers and the advertising field.

1. “Voice-Related AI will take prominence in marketing discussions in 2017.”
Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca

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Marketers have found a way to push information and content to nearly every medium. Advertisements from newspapers, radio ads and television have pushed onto the Internet in the form of PPC advertisements, video spots in front of videos, pop-up ads and so on. However, one of the latest tech trends currently remains without any true advertising placement: voiced-related AI.

Digital voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant are two of the most popular voiced related services, in which a user verbally calls out a command or question. The voice activated device, which is continually on and listening can respond with an Internet-driven answer, or perform the necessary command. As there is no direct visual display on most of these devices (although Amazon does build a model with a built-in screen for added features), there isn't much of a direct connection between the user and potential marketers, at least currently.

As Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca points out; the future of marketing must identify methods for utilizing digital voice assistants. With digital assistants using artificial intelligence to learn and adapt to users, it has the capability of providing marketers with an abundance of user-specific data, making it possible for advertisements to be perfectly tailored to the needs of an individual. Whether this leads to radio-like content produced for very narrow key demographics remains to be seen, but the future of marketing will include the full utilization of voice-related AI.

2. “Two words – operational alignment. Mere alignment isn’t enough, just because you say the same things is mere lip service. Operational alignment means coordinated action towards the same revenue-producing objectives.”
Matt Heinz, President, and CEO of Heinz Marketing

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For most of the time, different departments within a business have shared very little in way of information. The departments go off the bare minimum and push forward to the department goals, not necessarily to the larger goals of the company. Operational alignment will bring all departments together in a coordinated effort to ensure marketing works with sales and other key departments to create the best advertising possible. This should help with revenue-producing objectives.

3. “Marketers will begin creating more sophisticated strategic plans to leverage video.” Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto

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Video advertising has been around since the creation of television. As marketers have discovered the power of video, styles have changed, and content has become much more sophisticated. However, as technology such as social media and the continued improvement of AI have become commonplace in marketing, advertisers can finally begin to leverage the continual learning of AI and the built-in consumer-data provided by social media to create far more sophisticated video marketing strategies. This means advertisements will no longer center around one basic video. Instead, a variety of videos will go out to different demographics, based on information obtained from each consumer. As Brad Jefferson points out, this not only will become a common element in advertising but as technology improves in speed, the ability to provide changing video content in real time will help boost the instant impact of advertising on the consumer.

4. “Creating relationships with customers through personalization. That’s the major shift in marketing will be seeing in the short term.” Khalid Saleh, CEO of Invesp

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A fundamental pillar of delivery quality marketing is personalization. The importance of connecting with a customer on an emotional level allows a customer to understand and see exactly what their life would be like with the inclusion of an item or product. However, the struggle here has always been personalization. Creating emotionally important content doesn't work for everyone. What connects to one consumer falls flat on another. With the continued development and absorption of analytical data, the ability to create personalized information is proving to be a major step in further connecting with consumers. As consumer data improves, so too will the ability to create relationships with consumers through personalization.

5. “E-Commerce will get a big boost from tech.” Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar

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Amit Sharma's quote on e-commerce receiving a major boost from tech is a bit open-ended and simplistic, yet it encompasses the truth. Just about every major marketing boost to occur here on out will revolve around technological improvements. Just in recent years, advancements in modern tech have allowed marketers to take advertising content to the next level. Everything from real-time GPS locating advertisements that ping consumers when they are within a specified distance to a storefront all the way to simple data collection through e-commerce sites to produce a personalized consumer shopping experience have drastically transformed the way customers interact with businesses. Now, with the continued improvement of artificial intelligence, it is possible to learn how individual consumers react, which provides further data for marketers.

Amit Sharma’s quote can be broken down into two more specific categories: new tech improvements and data absorption improvements. First, new technology will make it easier to push marketing material. Digital voice assistants are the current trendsetters that marketers are looking to take advantage of and will provide additional connective potential. Secondly, the ability to obtain more data about a consumer will make it easier to personalize and customize content for unique customers, which has been proven to boost leads and generate higher sale thresholds. As tech goes, so too does e-commerce.

6. “Going extremely deep with customized messages and specialized platforms to a highly receptive and loyal audience will replace wide approach mass marketing.” Kyle Golding, CEO of The Golding Group

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Marketers for years have used a shotgun approach to attract customers. Instead of identifying individual customers with shared values as the business, the advertising department creates content for the masses in hopes of marketing to customers. However, this generally is not the best approach at connecting both with current customers and with those who might prove interested in the services provided by the company.

With the continued development of technology, it is far easier to produce a customized message that targets a loyal audience. Maintaining current customers and bringing in clients with a similar mindset and demographics helps ensure the company grows without spending money on marketing products to those without any connection or need for what the company has to offer.

As the advertising arm of these businesses identifies new ways to bring in advanced analytics, it will become easier to provide deeply customized messages not only for varying demographics, but with specialized platforms and the demographics using these platforms. Reaching a consumer through Twitter require different content over advertisements place on someone’s Pandora streaming account. By taking big data and using it to create customized messages on individual platforms, it will attract both return customers and new customers who share a similar passion for what the company sells.

7. “Companies will be more discerning about where they deploy chatbots.” Matt Gillin, CEO of Relay Network

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Understanding when and where to deploy chatbots is important. With the personalization of social media and the ability to directly connect with actual humans, chatbots can prove frustrating at times, and yet helpful at others. Companies will need to identify where and when to use chatbots to ensure the highest level of customer service without alienating potential customers.

8. “The biggest change will be the way sales and marketing teams interact with each other.” Mark Yeager, President, and CEO of Yeager Marketing

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As the president of Yeager Marketing, Mark Yeager understands there is often a disconnect between marketing and sales. Marketing uses analytical data to create advertising, yet the included information may not be what attracts customers to the sales team. While each department has a very specific focus, the vision of these two departments does not always align. With the importance of finely tuning a marketing strategy, the need to bring sales and marketing teams together grows right along with it.

The very best companies have marketing and sales routinely interact with one another. Whether it is bringing in members of the sales team into marketing meetings or having joint pitch sessions, so everyone is on the same page, as marketing becomes a much more cutthroat industry, the need to have everyone on the same page grows dramatically. With extremely customization and personalization becoming more and more important, any small discrepancy between the two departments may cause both to fail. This is why Mark Yeager says one of the biggest changes in how a company functions is the connectivity between sales and marketing teams and the continual need to boost interactivity with the two departments.

9. “We will see the collapse of small-time ad networks.” Peter Reinhardt, CEO of Segment

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Google and Facebook dominate the world of Internet advertising. As Google controls much of the Internet due to its powerful search engine, marketers turn to Google to reach the largest number of customers. Not only does the company own the two largest search engines (Google and YouTube), but also with the countless other services sites the company has its digital fingerprints on, no other company can compete.

Social media marketing has increased steadily as well, with Facebook taking the cake due to the wide number of advertising opportunities. From highlighting a post made by a company all the way to sharing video ads or producing content for very specific demographics, Facebook provides more customization opportunities than other social media services.

With the importance of reaching larger, yet specific audiences, the small-time ad networks will begin to collapse. These smaller ad networks just don't have the available data or reach to compete with the larger corporations. Services like Google, Facebook, and even Bing will remain strong, but smaller companies that have struggled to remain afloat will only fall further and further behind until one by one, the small ad networks disappear.

10. “By capitalizing on comprehensive data to drive more intelligent marketing actions, marketers will finally be able to connect with prospects and customers in a more targeted manner.” Mark Woolen, CPO of Radius

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Mark Woolen understands the importance of comprehensive data. The more information a company has access to the easier it is to connect with its key demographic. Additionally, the continued growth of data absorption makes it possible to finely tune a marketing approach and connect to very small sectors within the key demographics. By creating more targeted content, customers can reduce marketing expenses while boosting its return on investment. Eventually, gone will be the days where advertisements appear for someone who has no desire for the product. Eventually, AI, computerized learning and the ability to target individuals instead of groups of people with marketing will make it so every single advertisement will connect with a consumer on some level.

11. “Marketers will be ‘in the moment’.” Brett Caine, CEO of Urban Airship

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CEO of Urban Airships Brett Caine points to the importance of marketers being “in the moment” due to the rather sharp drop of the average individual’s attention span. Since the release of the very first Apple iPhone back in 2007, attention spans have dropped a full 50 percent. Due to this, marketers cannot rely on extended marketing approaches or the need for someone to remember an ad long-term. Realistically, the marketer needs to be there, in the moment, along with the consumer, because for many consumers and the eight-second attention span, the only thing that matters is happening right then, in that instant.

Likely, there is a strong possibility of technology developed specifically to connect with consumers "in the moment." This kind of technology has already started to appear, with digital assistants now able to provide instant results and answers. GPS systems ping a customer’s phone when they pass by, making it easier for an "in the moment" consumer to head into a store because of information on a deal they just received due to their proximity to a particular storefront. As AI continues to develop, so too will the ability for a marketer to connect with a consumer in the moment.

12. “Mastering the full customer journey is the clear mission to maximize revenue and profitability.” Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate

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Marketing is a storytelling journey. The ability to tell a great story that connects with consumers is no different in marketing than it is in the movies or television. This principle has not changed and will likely never change in advertising. Analytical data makes it possible to produce more customized advertisements that, in turn, allow a company to understand how to better formulate these journeys. By taking advantage of the growing amount of available data, a marketing department will have the ability to provide a connected, customized journey that in turn will help maximize both revenue and profitability.

13. “The gig economy will provide CMOs with opportunities to work in multiple firms.” Art Saxby, CEO of Chief Outsiders

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This quote is focused more towards marketers specifically than how marketing fits into the bigger picture of a company. However, more and more professionals are moving the way of freelancing. This provides freedom and opportunity not available in working in a single location. The in-house marketer is not going away anytime soon, but with the ability to monitor website performance and take in consumer analytics, it is possible to be located anywhere in the world. With the importance of spreading out to take in many varying clients, the economy will allow chief marketing officers, and marketers in general, the ability to work in varying firms and with multiple clients, depending on the need.

14. “Marketers will use AI to take the guesswork out of predictive modeling.” Pini Yakuel, CEO of Optimove

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Trying to accurately guess how individual consumers may act or respond is nearly impossible. Attempting to forecast the movements of consumers has remained an out of reach goal for marketers. As each consumer reacts differently, knowing how someone might respond to anything from new advertisements to competing products simply has not been possible. Instead, companies have relied on focus groups or demographic wide research to summarize how a demographic might or might not respond. That looks to completely change with artificial intelligence and computerized learning.

Artificial intelligence allows a computer system to learn from every single action individual consumers take. It is how search engines such as Google seem to know what someone is looking for even before the information is input into the search field. By continually considering everything a user inputs, a search engine like Google has the capability of formulating more accurate responses to a single person. Every bit of information the user adds into the search engine is used to fine-tune just how precise future results are. Services such as Google use AI not only for improving customer services but to help in improving advertisement accuracy. As Pini Yakuel, the CEO of Optimove points out, marketers will continue to utilize AI to remove the guesswork from predicting how consumers will react and respond to advertisements.

15. “The industry will start to realize that ABM isn’t a technology category, it’s a business strategy. To succeed in B2B markets, you must embrace this.” John Miller, CEO of Engagio

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The main drive and developments within the marketing industry revolve heavily around gathering more information and connecting with consumers. ABM, short for account-based marketing, is a specific BMS marketing method in which both the sales and marketing department focus specifically on accounts within a smaller demographic. This way, finances are targeted towards a smaller area, which in turn gives companies more leeway in methods to connect with these smaller target audiences.

As John Miller, the CEO of Engagio points out, it is important for marketers and companies to look at ABM not just as a small niche category within advertising, but instead a complete business strategy. With the increased gathering of information, it no longer is necessary to spend money on wide-reaching marketing practices that do not connect with consumers. Instead, it is far more beneficial for a business to use this same money and focus in on accounts it already has and similar consumers with similar makeup as a current customer. By understanding the importance of ABM, companies can increase its bottom line without spending as much on frivolous marketing that leads nowhere.

16. “Competitive benchmarking will be key for advertisers.” James Fennessy, CEO of Standard Media Index

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Competition drives advancements. Whether looking at the tech, automotive or any other industry, competition forces similar businesses to either keep up or fall behind. With the continued advancements in marketing, thanks to emerging technologies, the ability to gain a performance edge on other marketing firms is continually present. Due to this, as James Fennessy, the CEO of Standard Media Index indicates, competitive benchmarking will continually set the bar higher for other marketers to aim for.

17. “Ad blockers will become less effective.” Russell Glass, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

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Consumers have long looked for ways to avoid undesired advertisements. In many ways, the Internet has brought about intrusive marketing, in the way of pop-up ads and overtly aggressive material that continually bombards potential consumers. Companies utilizing these tactics end up with more self-inflicted wounds than consumers, due to the intrusive nature of the marketing.

To try and avoid these kinds of advertisements, consumers have implemented ad blockers to create personal firewalls against undesired advertisements. However, with computer learning and AI pushing to the forefront, ad blockers, as Russell Glass, head of LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions department points out, will become less and less effective. This is because marketing using AI will learn to not only move around the ad blockers but also even disguise itself as desired content an Internet user may be interested in. Eventually, ad blockers may also begin implementing AI to combat the computerized learning of marketers, at which point an AI arms race may eventually unfold. However, with the sheer size and overall value of Internet marketing, ad blockers likely will not have the means to keep up.

18. “Without a doubt, the ability to fully understand buying patterns and collect accurate and up-to-date data on prospects’ interactions across the customer lifecycle will fundamentally transform how sales and marketing go about their day.” Garret Scott, Marketing of Quip

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Garret Scott understands the importance of big data. More data means a better understanding of how customers interact with a product, what they are interested in when they are more likely to shop for new items and even when they start considering upgrades or alternative items. Information is a company's greatest asset, so the ability to utilize this information and put it into play makes it possible for a company to better market itself to a customer. In a way, with the help of computerized learning and consumer analytics, it becomes possible to know what a customer is likely to do before they do it. This way, advertising can reach a customer just in time for them to be interested in the contents. Like a car company sending out coupons for new tires just as a consumer being to consider buying new tires. The advertisement is just what the customer needs and, due to this, they are more likely to take advantage of the savings opportunity, which leads to more sales for the company, all thanks to fully understanding buying patterns and consumer data.

19. “The variable content option available now in email marketing will be an option for all marketing content.” Jessica Best, Director of Data Driven Marketing

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Email marketing remains one of the oldest Internet-based marketing practices still in use. Successful email marketing campaigns are partitioned off into smaller sub-categories to make sure varying demographics receive more personalized information. This practice, for whatever reason, has remained almost exclusive to email marketing. However, Jessica Best, the CEO and Director of Data Driven Marketing, sees this partitioned method finally spreading out to other forms of marketing. This way, whether on social media while using a Google service or just on a random website, an advertiser can specially create marketing material for a target demographic instead of a wider audience. This, in turn, should make it easier to connect with consumers and boost sales.

20. “Instead of showing people how to do something we’ll have to move our content marketing to helping people do it.” Ian Cleary, Founder, and CEO of RazorSocial

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It isn't enough to just show customers how to do something. It is necessary to do it for them. Now, there are some tasks that cannot be done for a consumer through marketing. If a customer needs to learn how to tie a tie, an Internet page will not physically produce a perfect half-Windsor knot for the individual. However, when it comes to Internet-based services, it is possible, and now necessary, for a company to provide some free help. For example, if a customer wants to know how their personal SEO is doing on a small website, a marketing site can provide an SEO scanning plug-in, which provides the user with insights into how they can boost their search engine optimization. By providing a free service, customers are more likely to in turn give the company their business. It just takes more to entice consumers now than it did in the past.

In Conclusion

The importance of marketing will never change. However, the way advertisers reach customers will continually evolve. From how businesses use technology to reach customers all the way to the continued growth of emerging industries, the more marketing changes, the more it stays the same. By relying on clearly established principles within advertising, marketers should it won’t matter what kind of changes occur. The trajectory of all advertising material relies on similar traits that will stay consistent over time. It just takes skilled marketers to know how to abide by the established ad traits while implementing each into advertisements of the future.

Additional Resources

HOW TO BUILD AND POLISH YOUR BRAND IMAGE
5 TIMELESS MARKETING TIPS THAT WILL OUTLAST ANY TREND
15 WAYS TO PUSH YOUR BUSINESS FURTHER IN 2018

Written by Mike Williams

I am a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business experience. My goal with this blog is to pass on some of what I have learned in order to help you achieve success in business.

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