What CMOs Are Saying In 2021, So Far

Who doesn’t love a survey? Who doesn’t love dissecting and disseminating information and formulating your own thoughts on what it all means? I mean is that a party or is that a party? But hey, maybe it’s just me.

I came across two pieces of research recently and I’m gonna share some of the more intriguing findings along with my take because, well sharing is caring after all.

The first comes via The CMO Council and is titled Getting it Done in 2021 Marketing Leader Intentions + Projections. Yes, that really is the name. Who doesn’t love a good rhyme? According to the Council “Findings reveal senior marketers are mostly focused on spend ROI, efficiency and revenue optimization. There top priorities center on digital marketing transformation, creating value from customer data, and upgrading customer engagement and experience.”

Here’s some of the “stuff” that caught my eye…

The above chart reflects the preferences of consumers, not what marketers think consumers prefer. Huge difference. Why? Because no one gives a f%ck what marketers think consumers want. I know some of you marketers out there reading this will take serious umbrage with this to which I say: spare me.

Ok now that that’s out of the way, what does this chart really show? Well on its surface it shows a growing trend toward consumers preferring a digital only engagement and less of a blend of digital and physical.

Surely this must mean physical locations are doomed to fail and all brands operating such establishments should shudder its doors immediately.

Um… no.

Here’s how the authors of the CMO Council Study addressed this particular finding:

“‘Our ‘Getting it Done in 2021’ member survey demonstrates that marketers took stock in what was happening in 2020, whether that meant shifting consumer behaviors and preferences or the adaptation and embracement of digital interactions. Whether they thrived or barely survived, they’ve refocused and feel ready to tackle 2021.”

My Take

Wait, what?

“… took stock in what was happening in 2020?”

You mean like, oh I don’t know, hang on, it’ll come to me… like say a GLOBAL PANDEMIC?!

I don’t mean to beat up The CMO Council but are you kidding me? I have neither the time nor the strength to address ALL that is wrong here. But let me say this. Of course consumer behavior shifted in 2020! Of course consumers preferred digital. They had no other choice for crying out loud!

I cannot believe I have to actually write the following words: If you are in marketing and are making decisions based on consumer behavior in 2020 and are not looking at 2020 as an anomaly I do not know what to tell you. There is no doubt some behaviors will NOT return post pandemic but to think this trend of more digital/less blend is here to stay is shortsighted on an epic scale.

Tech Trends

The other piece of research I happened on is Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021 from Gartner which “highlight areas of opportunity and ways for organizations to differentiate themselves from competitors.”

I didn’t have to look very far, the first chart, to know I agree completely with their findings.

Sad but true that companies STILL need to be reminded that people are in fact at the center of all business. But be that as it may, the digitalized processes — or lack thereof that were exposed in 2020 — are an undeniable necessity to deal with ANY new challenge that is sure to arise.

The same can be said about the inherent need to “support this new version of business” to one of location independence. In other words, people need to be able do their job, work with you, communicate with you and on and on from essentially any part of the world. Period.

And finally the volatility. I already mentioned the undeniable necessity to deal with ANY new challenge that is sure to arise. But I don’t think most marketers fully grasp the enormity of that statement. The pandemic, if nothing else, better have prepared you to deal with the unexpected.

Please spare me “We’re good Steve. We can handle anything that comes along now.”  The person who says they are prepared is precisely the one who is not (prepared). So you go ahead and convince yourself that you’re prepared for whatever comes down the road next.

Meanwhile your competition will have a contingency plan, a strike force of sorts, at the ready, vigilant to TRY and handle what comes next. See that’s the funny thing about what comes next.

No one really knows… what comes next.

Feature photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

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