Forrester published its series of 2018 predictions last week — the research covers a wide range of topics, which you can review here. In addition, Forrester has also released an overall predictions guide that provides more insights on the dynamics that will shape 2018.
Below is a quick recap of everything released for marketing and strategy professionals. Please contact us if you’d like a copy of any of these reports.
Predictions 2018: A Year Of Reckoning (also see blog post)
The fate of individual companies has never been more uncertain, and the window of opportunity is closing for many. 2018 will force decisive action for firms looking to digitally transform, revitalize customer experiences, and take control of their destiny. Forrester’s 2018 predictions guide identifies the major dynamics that will shape the year ahead — dynamics that favor those taking aggressive action and create existential risks for those still holding on to old ways of doing business.
CMO: The CMO Bar Rises With More Pressure For Growth (also see blog post)
Forrester predicts that 5% to 10% of CMOs will blend customer experience (CX) and brand teams to alleviate dissonance. Not only are CMOs now in control of the fastest-growing technology budget, but the demand for superior CX and brand relationships has also added pressure to the CMO’s role. Businesses will fall out of the Fortune 1000 faster than ever due to lacking customer experience, and CMOs will need to reallocate digital ad dollars toward emotion-rich connections with customers.
Mobile: Mobile Evolves Into the Digital Experience Conductor (also see blog post)
2018 is the year that mobile becomes core to the digital ecosystem. While many firms believe that they’ve checked the box on mobile, they also should note that what is changing is the next generation of consumer experiences on these devices. Smart firms will continue to invest heavily in the underlying technology: the architecture, talent, and process to deliver these experiences. Emerging tech like augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI), and chatbots will continue to pique interest, but mainstream breakthrough is still further off.
Privacy: The Effect GDPR Will Have On Brands
A consumer brand will lose 20% of its revenue due to a privacy ethics violation, and this will be just one of many issues businesses will face due to privacy laws in Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) causing conflicts between government, companies, and consumers. Forrester also predicts that GDPR will check marketers’ AI initiatives in Europe and beyond. In 2018, a Fortune 1000 firm will face regulatory action from its identity resolution tactics.
B2C Marketing: The Revolution That Is Customer-Obsessed Marketing Finally Begins (also see blog post)
2018 will be the year that marketers fully embrace customer-obsessed marketing, and brands that do not deliver on their brand promise will be left behind. Forrester predicts that AI will help marketers keep their jobs — it won’t replace them — and more than 50% of enterprises will leverage AI in 2018 within at least one component of their marketing technology stack. Also, with the rise of automation and AI, we’ll see the rise of a new role in 2018 — the marketing monitor — whose primary responsibility will be vetting technology and automation output to ensure quality customer and brand experiences.
B2B Marketing: Digital Disruption Is The New Normal For B2B
B2B companies will focus heavily on improving their CX, Forrester predicts, with 75% of B2B marketers committed to aligning their marketing strategies with the needs of their target personas. This demonstrates almost a 20% increase from 2017. The full report covers other pertinent B2B trends like buyers’ behaviors, digital disruption, and technology evolution.
CX: The Crisis Of Trust And How Smart Brands Will Shape CX In Response (also see blog post)
Forrester compared year-over-year data from its Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) and concluded that trust between brands and consumers is at an all-time low because not one brand significantly improved its CX Index score from 2016. By examining the trust crisis and speculating how companies will respond next year, Forrester predicts that brands that own their values will break away from those that merely borrow them. In addition, brands will learn from companies like Facebook and Starbucks and serve narrower sets of distinct customers rather than the mass market.
Media: GDPR, Amazon, And OTT Will Impact The Media Industry In 2018 (also see blog post)
Forrester anticipates that GDPR restrictions on behavioral targeting, predictive modeling, and cross-device recognition will lead to public investigations and record-breaking fines for ad giants Google and Facebook. We also predict that Amazon will own 50% of US-based eCommerce by 2021, enabling it to deliver unparalleled marketing for customers and invest even more in global search in 2018. Meanwhile, major holding companies will consolidate their media agencies further in the next year. As media buying isn’t as profitable as it once was, agencies will look to collaborate with once-siloed traditional and digital media buying teams.
Financial Services: Financial Services Companies Get Serious About Digital Transformation
Financial firms that embrace digital business transformation will continue to dominate organizations that avoid change. The lure of easy profits and the lack of an immediate crisis mean that many financial firms will defer investments in new capabilities until it’s too late. Firms will also turn to automation to deliver financial advice at scale and at low cost. Smart firms will use digital financial advice to enhance — not replace — advisor-client relationships, enabling advisors to collaborate more effectively with clients and serve more of them.
Retail: Customer-Obsessed, Data-Driven Retailers Thrive
Forrester predicts that online grocery will finally become real for consumers in 2018 and AI will be a reality for the retail market. Brands will be challenged to leverage these technologies to have complex customer conversations as voice-activated AI and natural language technologies continue to evolve. In addition, the retail industry’s existing organizational structures will crack, and retailers will look for chief digital officers or chief customer officers to bridge collaboration between CIOs/CMOs and CEOs.
Digital Business: Digital Business Strategy Will Reach The Heart Of Business (see blog post)
Forrester predicts that the rapid maturation of AI, blockchain, and conversational interfaces will force organizations to create new customer experiences, transform jobs, and forge new partnerships. As technology continues to disrupt business, digital will disrupt the role of the CIO. A new breed of digital-savvy CIOs with digital backgrounds will emerge and demand a new title to fit their transformation.