Watson marketing trends list blog IBM

Whichever industry or business you’re a part of, you’ll know that, running in parallel to our business as usual world are some unique moments capable of stirring up new directions in business, and even life.

Some trends we look to create, and some are simply short-lived. The great ones, however, often create themselves out of necessity – they’re the ones that redefine the way we work, market and enrich every customer experience. They even pave the way for new trends, though we may not see it yet.

The modern marketer is being redefined, and with much of that being down to digital transformation, here are nine of the most exciting, definitive trends coming our way:

Trend 1 – Marketer 4.0: emergence of the tech-savvy martecheter

Budget, tools and talent – historically the greatest advantages for marketers, and in that order, too.

The thing is, both customer expectations and marketing innovation are growing rapidly, and the model is literally being flipped on its head. And today, the greatest marketing advantage is technical marketing talent, or, the ‘martecheter’.

Trend 2 – Director of marketing data becomes the hottest new role

Ever since the beginning of direct and database marketing, data has served as a foundation for successful marketers, enabling advanced customer segmentation, deep personalisation and relevant messaging to customers and prospects.

However, with the growth of AI-based marketing tools, data integration and marketing data architects will emerge as new and vital roles in marketing organisations.

Trend 3 – AI and machine learning make hyper-personalisation a reality

While the promise of one-to-one marketing has been around for decades, the short story is that it’s easier said than done.

And even though 94 percent of companies agree that personalisation is critical to their current and future success, almost half say that IT roadblocks and legacy technology present major barriers to their efforts.

Yet enter the world of AI and machine learning-based marketing tools and personalised content can be delivered on a massive scale, while keeping us humans in the driving seat.

Trend 4 – Digital marketing agencies transform into consulgencies

A new advertising landscape is emerging on the horizon, as the marketing services of major consultancies start creating bigger footprints in the agency world. Does this mean the traditional agency is dead?

It’s unlikely in the near term, however, with an overwhelming amount of data, technology, AI and systems integration needs, the traditional agencies are transforming into ‘consulgencies’.

Compelling blends of capabilities will be going on across industry – watch this space!

Trend 5 – GDPR helps build more customer trust

With the regulation that gives consumers greater transparency and control over their data approaching year one, the potential fines hitting some of the biggest companies in the world are up to as much as $9 billion.

It begs the question: how will GDPR affect the way companies market? Well, contrary to popular belief, the effect can help rather than hinder.

GDPR and other privacy regulations force marketers to focus their attention on improving data hygiene processes, leading to better targeting and higher quality interactions.

Trend 6 – Agile marketing adoption accelerates

Agile marketing, at its heart, is about giving individual marketers and small marketing teams greater ownership of their work and significant latitude in how they achieve their goal. It operates on trust and transparency, more than command and control.” Scott Brinker writes in his book Hacking Marketing.

Digital transformations are accelerating and the demand for exceptional customer experiences are growing. As a result, marketers and CX professionals are required to support their businesses with new realities of thinking, working and collaboration.

Trend 7 – MarTech + AdTech finally together = the Holy Grail of Marketing

Having a fully connected and open MarTech and AdTech ecosystem will be the newest must-have technology capability.

The convergence of MarTech and AdTech has been a topic of discussion for many years, yet many brands are still failing to achieve it. So, what’s the answer?

Data connectivity and the ability to power it with AI to gain a real-time understanding of customers and ad spend optimisation.

Trend 8 – Customer centricity will drive constant transformation

Out with the traditional funnel! Customer expectations are at an all-time high. As a result, marketing professionals are going through a transformation – in how they connect, interact and personalise with their audiences.

Marketing organisations are discovering that by strengthening and retaining existing relationships they’re revealing a longer and deeper customer cycle that centres around the customer experience and lifetime value.


Trend 9 – In the emotion economy, purpose creates loyalty

What have you done for others, lately? There’s an economy shift happening, from attention to emotion. It isn’t enough to simply catch the eyes of customers; it’s also vital to deliver happiness and win hearts.

To drive business and sustain growth, a brand must be capable of pulling emotional triggers again and again. Why? Because buying is often an emotional decision. And, simply, customer experiences must trigger the right emotions to make things happen.

Consumers, especially younger ones, are more likely to engage with a brand if its authentic and delivers on a strong point of view – welcome to an era of holistic relationships with brands and businesses.

Set the trends

By personalising marketing campaigns with the power of AI you’re able to break through data to unlock new ways of doing things and create authentic customer loyalty in ways you might not have imagined before.

Back to top