Marketing Trends and Issues From Chaos to Clarity: The Future of Marketing

Trend Spotting

Clear Strategy (CS) has released an impressive whitepaper on the marketing industry entitled ‘From Chaos to Clarity’ outlining the current state of affairs and pointing toward the future for marketers. 2020 was a very chaotic year. CS spoke to over seven hundred CMOs, CEOs, and senior marketers around the world to discover the key issues that leaders are concerned about. Their study reveals opportunities. Chaos is a catalyst for transformation that can lead to growth. These nine charts give a clear picture of the current dynamic situation.   

Marketing Is Becoming More Important And Influencing Decision Making

We can see in the chart below that well over half of CEOs and CMOs believe that marketing is becoming more influential in business decision-making.  At Viral Octopus, we believe strongly in the central role of marketers. Because marketing is not just figuring out ways to put your product in front of customers. Excellent marketers understand that part of their task is to develop a deep understanding of your customers. Smart businesses put their customers at the center of their world. Since marketers are the people who know the customer, it makes sense to give their ideas and opinions about the company’s direction great weight.  

Goals Are Clear, Alignment Is Good, But Success Is Elusive

We can see in the following chart CEOs and CMOs agree on their number one goal: growth through accessing new customers. Perfect alignment is a great place to start. But something is not working well. Because we can also see that CEOs and CMOs agree that their biggest failures occur with their most important goal.

CEOs and CMOs Are Not Aligned On How To Reach The Primary Goal

Both CEOs and CMOs want to grow by accessing new customers. But they have different ideas about how to get to that goal. CEOs think they can use research and development to drive innovation and create new products and services to get new customers. CMOs want to use different tactics to expand their customer base and get more out of their existing customers by increasing loyalty and getting a bigger share of customer’s spending. CEOs are looking to create the next big thing while CMOs are trying to fine-tune things and to get more out of what they have. 

Biggest Worries For CEOs, CMO’s and Senior Marketers

CEOs are worried about strategies that pay off in the long term – having a good system to collect data to foster sustainable growth in the future. CMOs have a more short-term focus. First and foremost, they want to make sure the money they spend today is spent cost-effectively. CEOs are often putting CMOs in a bid; they want to focus on the long-term, but they also insist on good ROI today. For better results, everyone must agree on priorities. 

Hard To Fill Skills Gaps In Marketing Teams

A plan will only go so far without people to execute it. It is hard to meet your goals when you don’t have the right people for the tasks that you need to accomplish. When you don’t have the right people with the right knowledge, it is hard to get them if you don’t agree on what you are lacking. And here we see a problem. CEOs believe that data management is the biggest problem in their marketing department, followed by creativity and digital advertising. CMOs and marketers are not so focused on data, feeling that is adequately covered and other areas need more attention. In particular, CMOs are concerned with regulatory compliance, which is perhaps wise given recent changes to privacy laws. Does your company have skill gaps? Viral Octopus has a community of tested and proven experts to fill them and you can keep all your outsourced work organized easily in the free VO project manager with hassle-free gig structures, including customized gigs just for you.

Areas Where Outside Marketing Support Is Needed According To CEOs

CEOs have a long list of things that they want CMOs to get from outside the organization. From a CEO’s perspective, it makes sense to manage budgets by outsourcing tasks that won’t necessarily continue over time, thus avoiding the expense of idle experts. Well over half, 60% of CEOs say that marketing should work with outside consultants on experience design, for instance. Less than half of senior marketers, only 38%, agree, preferring to outsource for consumer research and communications support staff.  

Cross-Functional Partnerships Are Expected To Increase

CEOs want marketers to get involved in more internal functions. Returning to that fundamental concept, the marketer should know the customers, and every team can benefit from having insight from the group that knows the customers best. Oddly, many CMOs are reluctant to step into a bigger role in leading the company. CS reports that 70% of CEOs want to see increased cross-functional engagement, but only 50% expect collaboration will increase.  

Predicting The Biggest Near Term Challenges: A Talent Crisis

CMOs identified a host of challenges, with reacting to post Covid marketing dynamics the most frequently cited. But the authors of the report, Clear Strategy, predict trouble ahead that many CMOs don’t see to be aware of. A talent crisis is brewing. Fewer than 20% of interview subjects with significant marketing experience aspire to be CMOs. Many would prefer to leave marketing and become CEOs. Companies are already short, needs are growing, and the growth of supply of talent may not keep pace. Despite the situation, a mere 14% of CMOs think attracting and retaining talent should be a priority. You can read the complete report here: FCTC Whitepaper.  

Viral Octopus Is Here, Ready For The Future

Pietro Bonomo, the CEO of Viral Octopus, has noticed the talent crisis. There is an ample supply of “marketing experts” in every field of marketing, if you are willing to count your cousin who ran a Facebook Ad campaign once as an expert. Mediocrity is abundant, and incompetence is not in short supply. But if you want to find someone truly excellent who is committed to keeping up with all the latest developments and using all the vast marketing knowledge that humanity has accumulated, few are passionate enough to rise to that challenge. That’s what the Viral Octopus Collective is all about: a community of experts who are passionately committed to continuous improvement and delivering excellent work. If you are short on a particular type of expert, you can find them at VO. Our experts can deliver easy to  manage standardized gigs or bespoke services. Give us a try when you are overwhelmed, or even before you start to tear your hair out. 

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