October 16, 2023
In a year marked by unexpected twists and hair-raising turns, marketers have faced no shortage of changes and challenges. While the fact that the recession so many had forecasted to be upon us by now has yet to emerge, is a pleasant surprise, U.S. businesses continue to make preparations for economic uncertainty that impact how marketers do their jobs.
This includes a noticeable transformation away from the age-old emphasis on brand awareness to make way for a focus on performance marketing and return on investment (ROI). A recent survey conducted with retail marketing executives reveals this significant shift in priorities. A whopping 44% anticipate a surge in their performance marketing budgets for the upcoming year, closely followed by marketing technology budgets at 39%.
It's a logical course of action, considering the leaner approach necessitated by the possibility of a recession. However, this shift doesn't solely hinge on economic uncertainty — it signifies a broader move towards smarter and more efficient marketing strategies in general.
That means more predictive marketing efforts designed to get ahead of customer demand, rather than simply react to it. It's far more effective (and efficient) to anticipate consumer needs and offer them tailored solutions at the right moment, rather than bombarding them with ads for products they've casually glanced at or, worse, already purchased.
Doing so requires a lot of data and the analytical means to translate it into confident, predictive decisions. According to the survey, marketers are already preparing for this need:
That’s promising, but a considerable 73% can still only identify half to three-quarters of their website visitors. An even more staggering 85% admit to being moderately or slightly reliant on first-party data. Such findings reveal a gap that we need to close, fast.
In this race to harness the potential of owned channels, websites emerge as pivotal players. But the real game-changer lies in forging robust connections between owned and paid channels. Unfortunately, this endeavor isn't without its challenges. Among the top issues identified in the CMO survey:
Inefficient Tech Stacks: Many CMOs are unsatisfied with current tech stacks. Top areas of complaint include customer data platforms, CRM software, marketing automation platforms, and content management systems. Integrating identity solutions could significantly enhance the intelligence of these systems and turn anonymous site visitors into identifiable leads.
Ineffective Ad Campaigns: 59% believe digital advertising falls short in improving customer knowledge, while half think it doesn't foster brand loyalty. What’s more, 44% acknowledge that ads fail to boost sales.
Organizational Challenges: The pandemic propelled technology investments to new heights, but without the right talent, even the most advanced tools are ineffective. Skilled internal teams and supportive technology partners are indispensable for capitalizing on tech's potential.
Poor User UI: Overly intrusive ads can degrade the user experience and affect engagement, hampering a brand's effectiveness. A more subtle approach leads to higher attention quality, increased site actions, and better returns upon user re-engagement.
The way through these challenges requires truly understanding customers and their desires. This goes beyond mere location data, time spent on the site, or visited webpage sections. Embracing first-party data through owned and paid channels is the key, and the choice of the right platform makes all the difference. It's the determining factor between securing, converting, and retaining customers in the long run.
Impact of AI
Of course, AI has emerged as one of the more notable wildcards. AI is a game-changer, reshaping performance marketing strategies, optimizing campaigns and delivering unparalleled results by harnessing advanced algorithms and real-time data analysis. We’ve already seen boosted engagement and conversion rates through AI-powered personalization and are excited to see it transform audience targeting, predictive optimization, and automated ad copy creation. AI isn't a distant concept—it's a present reality.
In a world shaped by uncertainty, the marketing industry must remain resilient and adapt through all the coming challenges, transformations, and opportunities. It requires making smart, informed choices in every area of the business, from technology, to budget allocation, to partnership strategies.
Source: 2023 CMO State of the Union report by Wunderkind.
Richard Jones is Chief Revenue Officer, Wunderkind. He oversees all global commercial functions, including sales, marketing, product marketing, customer success, revenue operations, performance strategy consulting, and services. With over 20 years of experience in B2B technology, Jones has a proven track record of driving growth, product innovation, and customer satisfaction for startups, growth and late state MarTech companies.
No comments yet.