4 Marketing Predictions for the Enterprise in 2018


At Allocadia, we’re keen on asking the following question: Where will you focus your time in 2018 — running marketing, or doing marketing?

That’s a question all enterprise marketing leaders must ask themselves as they head into this new year, develop a new plan and set new goals.

“Doing marketing” refers to the execution of marketing. This includes tactics related to attracting, acquiring, and retaining customers through avenues like email, social, content, events, advertising and much more.

“Running marketing” involves looking at marketing like a business owner. It’s creating plans, managing budgets and having visibility into where the team is investing, understanding what results those investments have delivered, and most importantly, earning confidence to know what to do next.

At Allocadia, we work alongside some of the world’s most successful marketing teams from companies like Microsoft,
Box and Palo Alto Networks. We help them balance these two critical sides of their function and make sure they are prepared to support the “run” side of marketing. In short, marketers today must run the department like a business, and do it well!

Our team is deeply embedded in the fast-changing world of marketing technology and trends as a fast-growing SaaS organization, and we’ve identified four key predictions that will affect marketing organizations in 2018.

1. Reduced budgets will lead to tighter stacks

According to research from Gartner, marketing budgets are down for 2018 and so is spend on marketing technology.

This is less of a doomsday prediction and more of a commentary on the state of our industry. Marketers are being held to a higher standard while AI, predictive analytics and other buzzwords (like blockchain) get much of our attention. The reality is most marketing organizations are simply not ready for these advanced technologies.

Instead, those that were able to keep — and grow — their marketing budgets for 2018 have realized they need to take an honest look at their MarTech stack and get back to focusing on the foundational elements of data, technology and process.

In 2018, we will continue to see more marketing leaders who have reduced their spend on MarTech vendors to focus on optimizing their core stack — CRM, marketing automation and marketing performance management.

2. Expect a renaissance in back-office technology

The next marketing technology renaissance will be focused on the back office or strategic arm of the marketing organization (the run side as mentioned above).

So much effort (and money) has been put into organizations that manage customer-facing execution, but not nearly enough has been done in the industry to connect the planning, budget­ing, and measuring (the brains of the operation) to all of these tools that “do” marketing. In fact, many companies are still using spreadsheets, slide decks and borrowed technologies from finance and sales.

This renaissance will be driven not only by the necessity of having less money to work with, but also the increasingly shortened tenures of CMOs (which has been found to be the shortest among any in the C-suite.)

Given this pressure, we predict 2018 will see far more focus on running marketing like a business and investing in technologies to support, as CMOs think more like PnL owners.

3. A new CMO ally will emerge: the CFO

What we’re seeing from enterprise customers like Microsoft, Red Hat, GE Digital and many more is a renewed focus on better managing their budgets to optimize the impact of every dollar spent. A new mission for leading marketers is to become stewards over their budget dollars, demonstrating accuracy, impact and transparency — key traits to earn the trust of a CFO.

2018 will see a closer relationship between marketing and finance as budgets decrease overall. Allocadia research found companies that expect larger budgets and increase in revenues are three times more likely to align the CMO and CFO — those that haven’t figured out this critical relationship will need to do so in 2018 or likely be shown the door.

4.  Marketing operations will become the next chief of staff to the CMO

These changes are driven by the rapid increase in pressure brought upon every CMO, who today must be in total control of their organization and its results. This new focus on back office marketing technologies, foundational capabilities and accountability to the business has created a new VIP on the marketing team: marketing operations.

This function has emerged as the most capable resource to step in and help the CMO in their quest. Responsibilities
related to data cleanliness, marketing resource management and marketing performance management will continue to become top priorities, as marketing teams look to set the long-term stage for their success.

These predictions indicate a larger trend in the marketing space towards becoming a department that is laser-focused on business impact, smart spending and stewardship over investments, and visibility into results. Tomorrow’s marketing leaders will be accountable, ready to move quickly with speed and agility, and confident in where they spend each dollar.

The truth is, this is where our function must evolve if we hope to remain relevant in a world driven by data and high customer expectation. In many ways, 2018 will reveal who can keep up with this new world and who will be left behind.  

Sam Melnick is the vice president of marketing for Allocadia, which provides marketing performance management software that helps marketing teams confidently plan, manage investments, and measure results and ROI.