Marketing Technology Budgets Will See Double-Digit Growth Next Year, According to New Report

Brands are getting serious about customer experience

Forward-thinking CMOs will become obsessed with understanding consumer emotion.
Illustration: Yuliya Kim; Sources: Getty Images

Forrester predicts that marketing technology budgets will “grow by double digits” in 2018 as brands deploy consumer experience technology designed to cozy up to current and prospective users.

If brands don’t take this step, digitally adept firms like Amazon and Apple will continue to serve as gatekeepers between brands and audiences, providing the connectivity, stimulation and emotional experience that customers crave.

Forward-thinking CMOs who “blend tech savviness, an insights-driven mindset and deep emotional empathy with their consumers” will turn their brands into platforms, according to a report released today. They will become obsessed with understanding consumer emotion, measuring it and tapping into it with precision.

In a related trend, more brands will fold the responsibilities of CMOs into the newly created role of chief growth officer: an executive who can blend marketing and tech to drive growth.

Some great brand marketers are already taking advantage of technology that measures unconscious, emotion-based decision-making, said Keith Johnston, Forrester vp, research director and author of the report. “We are seeing strong growth of consumer neuroscience to measure not only communication (ads) but also experience (digital plus physical),” he wrote. “We know that emotion is everywhere, embedded in every customer action.”

Consumers are “invested in the experience,” he explained. And despite the steady decline of advertising budgets, and the loss of effectiveness of TV and digital advertising, Johnston said that “it could be TV” that pulls the emotional lever for the consumer. Traditional tactics, in other words, will still be employed. But not without a cogent strategy that fuses technology and product.

Scott Hagedorn of Hearts & Science echoed many of Johnston’s predictions and believes modern CMOs must know how to translate overall business KPIs into integrated technology and service requirements. The new growth-focused landscape has created a demand for what he calls “decision-based marketing,” where the tools and tenets of CRM are employed to enable precise, informed choices that drive growth.

Hagedorn also suggested that traditional, consumer-facing companies have yet to create a successful, large-scale innovation effort for mobile-first consumers such as millennials. That means large, lucrative segments of shoppers remain untapped for marketers who are ready and able to rise to the occasion.

As companies focus on customer experience, they’ll be looking for talent with generalist, cross-discipline skills across all levels of their organizations. From the top-down, “relationship-building” with audiences will be the paramount.

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