The “R word” is already impacting 2023 marketing budgets, jolting B2C CMOs back into a defensive posture as they enter the new year. In order to demonstrate growth with fewer resources, most CMOs will avoid taking big swings in favor of timely bunts. They will cull their innovation budgets, take a pragmatic approach to brand investments, and double down on performance media. Although CMOs will make the safe play in 2023, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to steal a few bases along the way.

Short-term wins will be the name of the game next year. As a result, brand equity will take a hit, yet a few savvy CMOs will refuse to sideline building long-term value. They will counter being on the defensive by seizing opportunities created by a changed marketplace, and they will blend both offense and defense into a smart growth strategy — because, amid all sorts of uncertainty, one thing is certain: 2023 will not be business as usual. Forrester predicts that:

  • Half of new CMO hires will come from pure-play performance marketing roles. Emboldened CMOs with strategic heft led through the pandemic crises, but the need for quick-growth hits in 2023 will cause CEOs to favor marketing chiefs from functional performance media backgrounds. But beware: Ignoring the strategic levers that fuel long-term growth and brand equity is a bad idea — especially during a year when we predict that consumers will demand better from brands.

Predictions 2023: 50% of new CMO hires will come from pure-play performance marketing roles.

  • Marketers will pay 20% more for martech in 2023. CMOs will face the budget squeeze on two fronts in 2023: Their marketing budgets will get cut, while at the same time, costs for martech will increase. The martech space will see a correction in 2023 that will cause vendors to break into specialized offerings. This means that CMOs will have fewer options for end-to-end solutions, which will equate to rising licensing fees and integration costs.
  • Most mainstream brands will retreat from public political stances. Even though the past two years saw many brands flex (as some say) as the “fourth branch of the government,” the days of brand virtue signaling are over. An extreme retaliatory political climate will pervade the 2023 culture war — led by politicians with “anti-woke” platforms. This will scare risk-averse business leaders who want to avoid the hassle of a negative news cycle during a year when they will be pressured to deliver short-term growth.

But wait, there is one more prediction, plus a lot more detail on each to read. So check out our full 2023 Predictions report for B2C marketing and tweet us your thoughts at @McProulx and @ecollins31. Let’s chat more about it via a Forrester guidance session.