CMOs, Are You Ready For 2013?

I only just recently started watching Mad Men — a shock to many of my marketing peers and to regular folks who now think I’ve been living under a rock for the past five-plus years. I’ll save my thoughts on the show for another time, but what strikes me at least once during each episode is how much everything (tactics) and nothing (strategy) have changed. Similar fundamental challenges weigh on Sterling Cooper’s clients’ minds and on our CMO clients’ minds today: How do we connect with our consumers in a way that differentiates us from the competition? While Don Draper was limited to print and TV, thanks to digital platforms and tools, today’s CMOs have an almost-infinite number of options with which to build relationships with consumers.

2013 is the year that digital takes on a much more significant role in marketing and business strategies at business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations, and CMOs will be responsible for shepherding the change. 2013 is the year that CMOs will leverage digital tools to drive innovation of new compelling brand experiences — not as add-ons or enhancements but as integral elements of the brand’s messages, actions, and products that will differentiate your offering.

B2C CMOs, your 2013 resolutions should be to:

  • Embrace digital disruption. Digital disruption has remarkable strength. It's able to bulldoze traditional sources of competitive advantage faster, with greater power, at less cost than any force that came before it — and no business is immune. CMOs must make a strategic commitment to innovation and stop thinking about digital as another media channel. Digital is everywhere and should elevate marketing and business priorities for consumer benefit.
  • Deliver visible value to consumers through digital experiences. Forrester has proven through our Customer Experience Index (CXi) that companies with strong customer experience scores outperform their competition. Experiences will differentiate brands in 2013: consistent experiences across consumers’ preferred interaction points that meet their wants and needs. For example, in brick-and-mortar stores, digital will enable more engaging storytelling and empower employees with technology that provides insight into product inventory.
  • Create remarkable content to share through social channels. One of the four pillars of brand building is to be remarkable, and content marketing is perfectly suited to making your brand one that people want to talk about by offering engaging material that reinforces the brand. Combined with social platforms that natively offer a place to have that conversation, CMOs have a recipe for success with content plus social that increases the value of both efforts.

To read more about these trends and how to deal with them, check out our report, "Trends For The B2C CMO To Watch In 2013" (subscription required). Are you ready for 2013 and the changes it brings? How are you dealing with digital disruption, brand experience delivery, and content marketing? My colleagues Tracy Stokes, David Cooperstein, Luca Paderni and I want to hear from you today and throughout the year.

Happy new year!