Top 5 Marketing Predictions For 2017

Increasing marketing ROI is a challenge for every organization. Startups, in particular, can find creating the right marketing plan a daunting task when building a scalable business. After all, how do you effectively turn your MQLs into converting customers? And how do you manage that growth if you're successful?

Marketing in today's cutthroat environment is definitely no place for rookies. If you're still grasping at the concept of personalization, then you'll be left in the dust by the end of next year. Face down in the dirt with heel marks all over your back, in fact. Sorry kid, but if you want to keep up with the big players, you'll need to stay ahead of the curve with predictive analytics.

Data analysis and processing expert, Dr. Jacob Shama, author of Intelligent Customer Engagement Powered by Predictive Marketing, has got a few tips for you. Specializing in communications, algorithm research and patterns recognition comes in pretty handy when anticipating trends; according to Dr. Shama, here's what's coming in 2017:

1. The Marketing Cloud is Going to Mature

According to Dr. Shama, the marketing cloud will come into maturity in 2017. You know, that utopian place where social media management, content marketing, advertising and automation come together in one fluffy white platform.

The marketing cloud will become more the rule than the exception, adopted and perfected by smaller businesses as well. What does this mean for all those "me-too" startups next year? That it will be harder to gain traction as you compete with companies with better capabilities in existing solutions.

2. The Demand for Data-Driven Marketers Will Balloon

In keeping with recent trends, smart managers will be hiring data-driven marketers to create meaningful customer relationships. Forward-thinking companies are fast realizing that data-driven marketing is the most effective way of predicting consumer behavior.

But hang onto your hats, as predictive marketing technology develops at a greater pace than human ability! The demand for marketers who can handle the quant-side will suddenly outstrip supply. So, if you're great with social and good with words, you'd better brush up your analytical capabilities if you want to stay in the game.

3. Marketers Are Going to Be More Involved in Sales Enablement

By providing continuously more precise data, marketers will become more involved in the sales process. In fact, expect the lines of marketing and sales to blur even further as your organization learns to engage with your customers in one united voice.

There will be a greater integration of marketing and sales and an improved customer journey at every point of contact. Teams will be able to work together more efficiently and customer behaviors will be understood much more clearly. No more MQLs slipping through the cracks.

4. Account-Based Marketing Will Gain More Traction

"When you have so much data about potential accounts, you can just reach out to them, rather than wait for them to approach you," Dr. Shama enthuses. Therefore, it's only logical that ABM will gain more traction in 2017. ABM ensures that your message gets in front of the most relevant people.

No more patiently waiting for your enterprise level clients to drip through a lengthy sales pipeline. Not only that, but you can prune your databases and get rid of campaigns and activities that don't meet your goals. Increase your ROI and send even more targeted messages to your clients.

5. We're Going to See More CMOs Moving to The CEO's Chair

Or, in other words, marketers (data-driven ones) will rule the roost in the 2017 version of The Hunger Games. As technology permits us to harness big data in ways we could never have imagined, there will be no need for a traditional sales department.

CMOs right now are in a perfect position to move into leadership position. They are both on top of the numbers and the data and need to have the soft skills that are so crucial for leadership. "When marketing is becoming so crucial to the success of the organization, it will be natural for CMOs to move up to the top position."

But at least you can't say I didn't warn you. 2017 is set to be a fascinating year, full of technological advances, improved customer experiences, and bloodshed. You may want to enroll in that data analytics class you were thinking about after all.