2014 is going to be a big year for B2C CMOs. We just published our "Predictions 2014: B2C CMOs Embrace The Post-Digital Landscape" report that predicts CMOs will: get creative with digital lifestyle media; get their hands dirty with customer experience; bring strategy to mobile; invest in marketing innovation; and reconsider their social networking priorities. Here are the five predictions:
- Media decisions will focus on the intersection of audience and lifestyle targeting. In 2014, CMOs will invest in branded content, product placement, and advertising on lifestyle-focused YouTube networks with large audiences like StyleHaul (shopping, beauty and style), Machinima (eSports and gamer), and Tastemade (food lovers) where they can reach millions of consumers. These networks having growing Millennial and Gen Z audiences that cannot be ignored.
- Customer experience needs C-level ownership. C-level execs need to blend marketing and customer experience leadership to ensure that the brand's promise is expressed at all touchpoints.
- Mobile will rise from project to primacy. CMOs will grab control of the mobile strategy, increase mobile budgets, and bring the broader perspective of mobile's impact to the executive table in 2014.
- New ways to fund projects will kick-start digital disruption. CMOs will fight for more dedicated innovation budgets to fund innovation teams and labs in 2014 that will unleash market-disrupting ideas in 2015.
- A major shakeup in the social space will occur. CMOs have been investing in staff, content, and technology to market through social networks for the past five years. 2014 is the year they reassess these investments as audiences fragment across niche social networks and communities.
Now, I am going down the rabbit hole to present one big personal prediction for 2014 and beyond. This is meant to be thought-provoking and fun.
- eSports will displace Major League Baseball as the No. 4 US sport in the next two years. You may not have heard of eSports unless you are a Millennial or Gen Z male, but these professional electronic game tournaments are global and big. In 2012, the 13th World Cyber Game Championships were held in Kunshan City, China. About 110,000 spectators attended the games live, and another 130 million watched live over digital channels like Twitch. And why do I pick on Major League Baseball? Because the median age of the 2013 World Series audience hit a new high of 54.4 years old, and the average viewership per game was 14 million. The NFL, NBA, and soccer have younger and more vibrant audiences, so eSports will fall in right behind them. Not only are eSports growing in popularity, but also cyber athletes are now earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in global tournaments. As an example, cyber athlete Kim “sOs” Yoo Jin has already earned $143,980 dollars in 2013 playing in professional Starcraft II tournaments. If you have a brand that needs to reach and engage a young male audience, you need to investigate the gamer lifestyle.
2014 is year four of the age of the customer, and CMOs will have to build brand engagement on new customer experiences where their customers live and play. To learn more about our 2014 predictions and what they mean for CMOs, read the report (subscription required).