5 Marketing Trends for 2019 Planning and Beyond
Every year brings new industry and customer fluctuations, leadership, and enterprise goal changes — and even technologies and channels. As a result, marketers must ensure they go into every year’s planning process with their eyes open to these trends and changes to ensure their budgets are strategically aligned to maximize their ROI.
No matter what stage of the process your organization is at, here are five trends and mindsets to understand as marketers begin to work on their vision for 2020.
Understand Industry Trends to Accurately Model Allocations Based on Potential Activity
Marketing expense budgets were virtually flat over the past year, at 11.2% of revenue for 2018, off slightly from 11.3% in 2017, according to Gartner. Given this flat budget trend, it’s even more essential to be aware of industry trends and changes in enterprise goals to more accurately model allocations based on potential activity. For example, organizations can utilize this kind of information to justify moving funds from traditional to digital campaigns, or to a new channel to have a better chance at a solid ROI.
Forget About Harsh Budgeting and Implement a Continuous Planning Cycle
Planning underlies all marketing methods, but most traditional planning processes are increasingly out of sync with the charter for the modern marketer, according to a recent study by Forrester Research. The modern marketer should forget everything they know about marketing planning, including things like aggressive strategies that emphasize cost reduction and short-term execution as they don’t represent the modern marketer and certainly don’t fit the customer engagement strategy marketers should be developing.
Finding new planning strategies is essential, as effective prioritization on customer engagement, makes it too complex and fast-paced to make up as organizations go along, according to the Forrester report.
Going forward into 2020, organizations must “rethink planning as a way to solve customers’ problems not as a routine for assigning budgets to channel buckets,” and do so by adopting people-led planning, which Forrester defines as “a marketing planning process that determines tactics that demonstrate your brand promise through interactions across a customer’s journey and operates as an active, iterative cycle.”
People-led planning requires a customer-focused approach that allows for repeatable, continuously measured tactics that utilize a fungible budget that focuses on
Plan for the Unknowns
The reality is that trends such as industry fluctuations, emerging technologies, and consumer channels don’t always move in rhythm to the budgeting cycle. This oftentimes means that marketers must evaluate how such changes will affect spend and goals before setting them in stone. In order to be successful, marketers need to be able to course-correct in response to changing market conditions and customers’ needs.
This also means that marketers must constantly be on the defense, but also on the offense to confidently go forward with their budget. Tools that enable “what if” planning that allow marketers to run various scenarios for budgets can help with this. This allows marketers to come prepared with solid answers of how “cuts” or “adds” will impact marketing ROI.
Be Prepared to Support CX Initiatives
Today’s marketing departments often are chartered with taking on more of the CX responsibilities as aligning teams according to customer experiences (CX) becomes a key industry trend. As a result, marketing departments are faced with bearing the brunt of funding the new CX budget.
Therefore, marketers must be able to understand how the CX operations and campaign dollars sit throughout their organization, but also be able to give up some of their allocations to that new CX team or department.
To succeed, marketers should keep informed of best practices for how organizations in similar industries are handling CX budgeting so they can be informed enough to weigh in on who will own the entire CX budget, where it’s going to come from, and advocate for how much influence they have in it at their own organizations.
Keep an Eye on the Future
The good news on the horizon for marketing budgets is that more than half of organizations plan to increase their marketing investments in the next year, according to Gartner.
While long-range planning can be difficult because marketers can’t accurately determine future market trends, they also might not be able to determine the success of a lot of what they put into place in 2019 until 2020 or 2021.
As a result, marketers must be able to find other methods to prove the worth of their current investments so they can secure additional funding in the future, as well as ensure more accurate ROI calculations when their projects finally do end.
They also must be more agile in their activities by making small, swift adjustments mid-stream to help increase ROI even before a project has run its course.
Ensuring your organization has approved enterprise objectives and key performance indicators, and is utilizing emerging tools such as business intelligence and analytics can help better measure long-term successes of current spend so marketers can have an easier time allocating it for this year, the vision for 2020, and beyond.
Ed Breault leads a team of marketing strategists and thought leaders who partner with top enterprise brands to navigate complexity, disruption, transformation, and change to the modern marketing organization. During his career, Ed has significantly contributed to the marketing operations business discipline, consulting for more than 100 marketing organizations around the globe and addressing marketing challenges within all industry verticals.