10 Predictions For The Future of Marketing

 In Marketing Strategy

So how is your 2012 shaping up? Are you achieving the business and personal branding goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

The latest trends in marketing all center around hype and buzzwords like Social MediaContent MarketingMobile Marketing and the ubiquity of digital and customer experience.

But as recent studies demonstrate, marketers are being left behind by the digital age and our marketing leaders feel unprepared with how to deal with it all.

Aren’t we the ones who were supposed to see this change coming and rise up and lead our businesses to greater levels of success?

Late last year, I offered a few future of marketing predictions for 2012 and now it’s time to take stock and see if I missed the mark…

Prediction 1: Sales Enablement is More Important Than Ever

My first prediction was that too many marketers were focusing on their skill gaps and their lack of customer insight and were leaving sales behind with some studies to support this.

Big Mistake!

Forward-thinking sales leaders are actually looking to marketing to help them understand social selling, early-stage (non-promotional) customer engagement strategies, how to develop customer insights and how to produce content that attracts and engages with customers so that they become part of the consideration set.

Prediction 2: The Rise of “Audience Marketing”

I said it in December and I will say it again: “Audience” is a mindset first and a marketing strategy second.

Solution marketing was an out growth of the popular phrase “solution selling” from more than 20 years ago. Solution selling was about probing to understand all your customer pain points and learn how to use your unique selling proposition to address those pains.

And “solution marketing” became just another way to talk about what you have to sell. That is why we need a new term.

Maybe you will use “buyer-centric” or “audience-based” or “customer-based” marketing but whatever name becomes most popular, authentic and engaging, customer-focused, audience-based marketing will separate the best from the rest.

Prediction 3: Buzzwords Lead to New Marketing Roles

  • The rise of content marketing has lead to the emergence of the brand evangelist, corporate journalists, content strategists, curators and editors.
  • The rapid rise of mobile internet access will see more mobile marketing managers and designers
  • Social media roles will morph into more enablement roles such as the social business leader and social salespeople

More Trends To Watch

Do you have more trends to add? Or disagree with these predictions, then please comment below or continue the discussion on Twitter, LinkedInFacebook or Google+.

And subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for future updates.

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Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, former Head of Strategy at NewsCred, and the former VP of Global Content Marketing at SAP. Michael is also the co-author of The Content Formula, a contributor to leading publications like The Economist, Inc Magazine, The Guardian, and Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to the Marketing Insider.
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Showing 21 comments
  • Matt Southern

    Interesting list, I especially like prediction #2. With the way marketing is going it would be great if entirely new jobs were created to keep up with all the the new responsibilities that are emerging. Job creation would really be good for the economy right now

    • Michael Brenner

      This is happening now Matt. I am living proof!

  • Cliff Pollan

    There is such a rich opportunity for sales enablement. It also can serve as an easy bridge to bring sales and marketing together. In the world of content marketing getting content into the hands of sales people and helping them use it is an easy, powerful win that will drive sales. Great post by Marcus Sheridan – “The Sales Lion” on this;

    http://www.thesaleslion.com/relationship-content-marketing-sales-process/

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Cliff,

      I was just talking to someone about this yesterday! Love Marcus Sheridan and his story.

  • Shane McCormick

    great point on customer engagement strategies

  • Ron Simon

    It’s time for “Responsive Marketing” mood-location-time-story-stream

  • Maneo

    Prediction 2 seems to already be getting big, with the rise of direct and inbound marketing.

    • Michael Brenner

      Not big enough! There is still a ton of “all about me” marketing out there.

  • Helen

    Interesting:) I especially agree with the Buzz part, and would like to add that the era that “consumers market to marketers” is coming. While many of Nielsen clients are buying BuzzMetrics data to snoop C2C communications, few channels are built to make it easier for the consumers to talk directly to the marketers (and feel hearted). Dollars will be paid to ears.

    • Michael Brenner

      Nice one Helen. I think you are totally right!

  • Helen

    Thanks Michael. I’m in Kellogg right now -so far haven’t found anything new in class. The world is changing so fast but the cases are still about those stories in the 90’s. We expect more for the insider views like this.

  • Very interesting. Each year I do a compendium of predicions about my own field of email marketing. Some look at longterm trends while others base their predictions on “whats hot” at the moment. (while others just predict what nice features they have, to sell more of them 😉

    For those interested, here is the overview of email marketing trends 2012

  • Kim Farwell

    And let’s not forget about marketing operations! Whether it becomes part of business-as-usual roles, new positions, or even outsourced – it’s so important to get the “how” right, so the “what” is done in the marketplace becomes more effective.

    • Michael Brenner

      Great point Kim. Thank you for adding that important element. We have the most amazing marketing operations folks here at SAP and we couldn’t get most of what we do get done without them.

  • Brian Gossett

    Great post. This year we have increasingly been working with new roles in client organizations. The Marketing Operations Manager is becoming more prevalent as organizations allocate resources to manage new tools. It will be interesting to see how much of marketing spend is allocated for these new roles and functions.

    Some tohought on marketing spend – http://bit.ly/QMuAeY

    • Michael Brenner

      It’s a great point Brian, marketing ops and marketing technologists are big ones I think in 2013. I will check out the post now…

  • Alan Quarry

    Hi Michael… I was re-reading your insightful post this morning and was thinking how lucky we are to playing in this dynamic category at this time. Shift is happening and the rewards belong to those with the most imagination not just the biggest budgets.

    “Marketing in the future is like sex. Only the losers will have to pay for it.” Jon Bond, cofounder of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Alan, love the quote. Just this week I heard Joe Pulizzi say that “content is like sex, everybody does it but not everybody is good at it!”

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