Dane Anderson, vice president, research director and region manager for Asia Pacific with Forrester Research, said 2016 will be a pivotal year for companies adapting to digitally savvy and empowered customers.
The year will see a small but growing number of Asia-Pacific marketing leaders accept the fact that digital strategies and business strategies are rapidly becoming one and the same.
“Companies moving along the age of the customer path will begin to thrive, while laggards will begin the slow descent to failure,” he added. “Strong leadership is essential, and collaboration necessary between CMOs, who must step up and lead customer experience efforts, and CIOs, who must accelerate the business technology agenda.”
Cliff Cordon, chief research officer at Forrester, said in a blogpost that CMOs will step up to lead customer experience efforts next year, but they face a massive challenge.
“Years of uncoordinated technology adoption across call centres, marketing teams, and product lines make a single view of the customer an expensive and near-impossible endeavour,” he added. “As a result, in 2016 companies will be limited to fixing their customer journeys.”
The research firm has also released its top predictions for 2016 for marketers:
Digital command centres will become an organisational imperative for marketing.
In 2016, the pressure on CMOs in Asia-Pacific to bring marketing capabilities in-house to increase control and responsiveness in the face of growing customer expectations will ramp up.
While a digital command centre (DCC) is certainly not the Holy Grail of marketing organisation evolution, creating a DCC will provide a mechanism for CMOs to augment their brand’s in-house marketing team with staff from PR, creative, media buying, and digital agencies to drive a more holistic yet better defined and coordinated marketing approach.
Digital marketers will embrace ecommerce initiatives as core responsibilities.
Marketing professionals will be pressured to deliver measurable business outcomes, driving the need to formalise the customers’ path from digital marketing engagement to purchase. This is especially apparent in China where the link between social media and ecommerce is much stronger.
There will be changes to the marketing organisational structure.
CMOs will organise in-house digital command centres to drive a more holistic yet better-defined and coordinated approach among the various marketing functions. They will also appoint marketing technology specialists to evaluate, choose and integrate disparate marketing technology solutions.
Mobile innovations will fuel opportunities for improved customer experiences.
Mobile services are expanding into office service delivery—online to offline (O2O)—and this will continue into 2016 as customers demand a more seamless mobile-first, and fully digital experience.
This is also evident in the mobile payments space as digital wallets gain traction across the region, with players like Alipay and WeChat in China, as well as tech giants Samsung and Apple, fighting for a larger share of the consumer’s wallet and expanding their ecosystem of bricks-and-mortar merchants.
Demand for marketing tech officers will increase, but the role will be poorly defined.
This new role has become necessary as organisations seek to better understand the customer life cycle and turn that knowledge into positive business outcomes instead of focusing narrowly on siloed marketing channels or traditional product approaches.
While the role will remain poorly defined throughout 2016, we expect CMOs to start hiring staff that combines marketing technology expertise with business acumen or to begin using an existing internal marketing resource.
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