What CMOs are planning for marketing in 2020

Estimated reading time
6 minutes
16th December 2019
Author: Nick Mason
Posted in: Impact & ROI, Strategy & Planning

With 2020 right around the corner, every marketing blog is making their predictions for the new year. To save you some time, we’ve collected the most interesting trends, predictions, and quotes from CMOs and leading research papers here in one article.

1. Analytics and insights

According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020, competitive insights and analytics continue to be the two most vital capabilities delivering marketing strategies over the next 18 months.

Alyssa Sachs, Global Vice President of Marketing & Communications at 8×8, says the top marketing skillset for next year is  data. They believe the focus should be on “testing, trying, experimenting and letting data lead the way across all marketing efforts.”

The Gartner survey asked CMOs which metrics actually drive their decision making across four categories:

Brand metrics

  • Awareness (72%)
  • Brand health (64%)
  • Sentiment (60%)

Performance & efficiency metrics

  • ROI (70%)
  • Market share (65%)
  • Cost per lead (59%)

Conversion metrics

  • Conversion rate (67%)
  • MQLs (62%)
  • SQLs (61%)

Loyalty & satisfaction metrics

  • Customer satisfaction (71%)
  • Retention rate (67%)
  • Customer lifetime value (66%)

Gartner’s recommendation to CMOs is to set expectations on what can be reasonably measured with ROI calculations. Ask questions such as:

  • Does the measurement provide a granular view?
  • Is it focused on a handful of known data points reflecting cost and value?
  • Is it more of an overall scope of marketing’s value?
  • Does it capture internal and external costs?
  • Does it calculate value beyond the initial conversion, while considering longer-term revenue and profitability?

These considerations can mean the difference between a positive and a negative ROI. They can alter strategic priorities significantly.

Group of men making strategies

Neal Schaffer, author of The Age of Influence, claims that the top challenge marketers will face in 2020 is data. “Marketers have a lot of data about their customers and the market from different sources,” he said.

“They will be increasingly challenged to bring all of the data together to make sense of it and drive their marketing forward in an intelligent and effective way before their competitors do.”

If you’re not sure which data is valuable to you, try using this six-rule framework by Christopher Penn, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist at Trust Insights:

  1. Clean: Free from errors 
  2. Complete: Not missing critical parts 
  3. Comprehensive: Answers the questions asked of it 
  4. Chosen: Does not contain irrelevant information
  5. Credible: Collected with as little bias as possible from reliable sources 
  6. Calculable: Usable by both people and machines 

“Data that follows these six rules is data you can use for maximum impact as a B2B marketer, the equivalent of health-giving food,” Christopher says. “Data that breaks these rules is equivalent to junk food, food that steals from your wellness.”

2. Experiential content

“Customers don’t compare you to your competitors anymore – they compare you to other positive experiences they’ve had,” says Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert. “Satisfactory is a rating. Loyalty is an emotion. So, you need to figure out a way to create a lasting emotional bond.”

Marketing teams will take a much bigger role in creating better experiences in 2020. This will predominantly be through experiential content. For example, this could include:

  • Animations
  • Interactive eBooks
  • Gamification
  • Augmented reality product brochures
  • Virtual reality experiences at events

These are all new content practices we’ve seen throughout 2019 that will continue into 2020. It will especially be an area B2B marketers will be looking to make progress.

Prophix, a corporate performance management (CPM) software company, wanted to launch a campaign that would go beyond educating buyers to “info-taining” them. 

They took their annual report for the financial planning and accounting industry and turned it into an interactive online game. The quiz-themed game combined questions using data from the report and influencers represented as avatars within the game.

Screenshot of the homepage of Prophix's game

The Results

This creative experience beat their benchmark for asset views by 600%

“The sheer volume of information and media that confronts people in the business world is overwhelming and pretty boring,” Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing’s CEO, says. “Creating compelling experiences with interactive content is one way to stand out, differentiate, and optimize for effectiveness.”

Interactive content experiences are also capable of offering the kind of buyer insight businesses need. A survey conducted by Forrester on behalf of Turtl found that the key benefits of these insights are:

  • The ability to connect marketing activities to business impact (49% of respondents)
  • Raising the profile of the marketing department/team (48%)
  • Elevating marketing’s role in closing business (46%)

Experience combined with better data tracking are tools more CMOs will be leveraging in 2020.

3. Changing channels and mediums

Spending on paid media reaches 26% of the marketing budget as CMOs double down on digital channels in 2020, finds Gartner.

Despite claims that paid advertising is dead and a year-on-year decrease in marketing budgets (falling from 11.2% to 10.5% of company revenue), CMOs seem confident that paid media can still see results.

CMOs are particularly positive towards digital ads. In 2019, 78% of CMOs were confident that they would increase investments in 2020. If there is a period of economic uncertainty, 37% of CMOs would increase investments in digital ads to keep their marketing strategy on track. This is only surpassed by investments in social marketing (38%).

This is largely due to the confidence that digital ads are particularly successful. However, Gartner’s Multichannel Marketing Survey 2019 found that CMOs struggle to acquire the capabilities to build, deliver, and optimize digital ad campaigns. Many CMOs simply don’t have the data required to effectively target audiences with the right message along optimal points in the customer journey. 

Investment in offline advertising holds strong at 7% of the total marketing budget. This suggests that channels such as out of home (OOH), radio, and print ads will still hold a place in CMO plans for 2020.

However, this would all change if there are uncertain economic changes in 2020:

  • Only 16% of CMOs would increase investments in offline advertising
  • 32% would decrease investments in offline advertising
  • Only 18% would increase investment in TV advertising

Exploring other mediums

According to this year’s B2B content marketing report by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, a huge 71% of respondents said they had increased their video content in the last year. Video content outranked case studies, infographics, webinars, white papers, and eBooks.

Similarly, podcasts have seen a sharp rise in popularity. 51% of the US population over the age of 12 has listened to a podcast. While B2B has been slow to pick up on this trend, this will change in 2020.

Empty studio set up for a podcast

“B2B podcasting today is where content marketing was a decade ago,” says Joshua Nite, Senior Content Marketing Manager at TopRank Marketing. “It’s emerging as a marketing discipline. As a result, people are starting to get sophisticated about deploying and measuring podcasts. Consequently, we’re seeing new tools to make it easier to launch, promote, and monetize. And despite the thousands of hours of audio out there already, there’s no sign that the market is satiated.” 

And, perhaps surprising to some, email marketing is not dead. In fact, the average open rate has generally been increasing year-to-year over the past decade.

“My feelings about newsletters are strong,” claims Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. “It’s the one enduring place that we have as marketers, and it’s the place where conversations are most intimate.”

Marketing across many channels and mediums will be key in 2020 to consumers who expect seamless touchpoints across multiple platforms.

4. Moving in-house

A survey by Sapio Research, commissioned by digital asset management specialist Canto, found that content creation will increase by 9% in 2020. This is an increase from 32% to 35% in total annual marketing spend. 

The survey also found that the gap between in-house and outsourced content is going to widen. In 2020, 36% of marketing teams say they plan to create more content in-house, with outsourcing only rising for 18% of businesses.

Many marketers will use this opportunity moving in-house to increase the ROI of their marketing activity. The most popular planned improvements to increase ROI are:

  • Using better technology (42% of respondents)
  • Repurposing existing content (37%)
  • Implementing better measurement (34%)
  • Reducing spend on agencies (29%)

Mike Paxton, head of UK business development at Canto, said: “The need for high-quality content is only growing in significance as brands continue to battle to boost awareness and reputation in crowded markets. What is clear is that higher content output must demonstrate value for organizations and this is one of the main reasons for the upward trend of insourced production.”

If you’re interested in how Turtl helps in-house marketers create interactive content that offers granular data analytics, why don’t you start here?