With more pressure to drive efficient growth during disruptive times, there are three trends that will impact chief marketing officers (CMOs) in 2023, according to Gartner, a technological research and consulting firm based in Stamford, Connecticut. Those trends include shifting customer behaviors, which amplify uncertainty; burdensome cross-functional collaboration, which yields worse organizational outcomes; and disruptive market dynamics, which erode traditional sources of brand value.
The first trend communicates that shifting customer behaviors amplify uncertainty
Amid inflation and economic uncertainty, customer demand and buying behaviors will fluctuate unpredictably. Inflation is driving cost-cutting behaviors, with 30 percent of consumers buying more store brands, and almost a fifth reducing in-person shopping visits in favor of digital buying, according to a Gartner survey of more than 1,500 consumers in September 2022. This will challenge established brands to maintain brand preference, premiums, and loyalty.
In addition, the majority of consumers and B2B buyers will increasingly withhold the personal data necessary to effectively track demand or respond with multichannel engagement, exacerbating CMOs’ data challenges. Evolving regulatory and technical safeguards of consumer data privacy, including browser cookie deprecation and new privacy features in iOS and Android, are also making proven digital marketing tactics obsolete.
The second trend communicates that cross-functional collaboration yields worse outcomes
Strategic marketing priorities, such as innovation, customer experience (CX), and digital commerce, have transcended functional boundaries and are now enterprise-wide priorities with complex cross-functional execution. Shared priorities may draw funding away from marketing departments that have yet to see their budgets return to pre-pandemic levels, which taxes already-strained marketing teams, resulting in lower performance against critical marketing goals.
A March 2022 Gartner survey of 405 senior marketing leaders found that those who describe their approach as “independent” outperform self-described “collaborators” on annual revenue targets by almost a quarter. While marketing leaders believe they should take a collaborative approach in theory, those who do in practice are less likely to exceed their customer acquisition goals.
Trend 3: Disruptive market dynamics erode traditional sources of brand value
Traditional sources of brand value, such as brand reach, positive brand sentiment, or perceived differentiation are under pressure amid new forces: disruptive market entrants, heightened audience expectations, and the ease of digital learning about unfamiliar brands. Audiences face disruption at each stage along the traditional linear path to brand value.
The first stage is awareness. Disruptive market entrants require established brands to reposition themselves to remain competitive, challenging all brands to build and maintain awareness through emerging channels and innovative strategies. The second stage is consideration. Over half the 1,999 employees, consumers, and B2B buyers that Gartner surveyed in June and July 2022 said it’s less important to choose a well-known brand today than it was 3 years ago. The third and final stage is brand loyalty. The same survey revealed 75 percent of audiences have searched online for information about a previously unfamiliar brand while shopping, and only 15 percent of audiences report being committed to a given familiar brand, eroding the value of having a strong brand at the point of decision.