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One thing we marketers can always predict is change…rapid change. Our industry is transforming at record speed, super-charged by new technologies and talents.

Although I have long believed that every year is the Year of the CMO, he or she who is closest to the entire customer experience will be the closest to the business. Marketers will own the entire customer journey – from targeting the right customers to driving the sale to retention and service, all assisted by technology.

In fact, technology is no longer a “thing.” It’s just assumed to be the underpinning of every marketing tactic.

Here are my seven marketing predictions for 2019. Why seven? Numerologists say it signifies the seeker, the thinker, and the searcher of Truth. And marketers all need to be all of those things in order to succeed.

1. Speaking of truth, quality will eclipse quantity in measurement systems. The “influencer” will be pushed aside by the “quinfluencer” and, according to marketing technology executive Jim D’Arcangelo, “the relevance of marketing to its audiences will trample reach, opens, and clicks.”

2. AI and machine learning will be more than catch phrases slapped on websites and trade show booths. The next level of automation will enable personalization at an immediate and intimate level and targeting will adjust instantaneously based on customer need and want. Voice technology will become more sophisticated and rather than asking Alexa to play Aerosmith, your “device” will ultimately tell you what you need to know before you even ask. And the great news for agencies is that RFPs and contracts will soon be machine-generated.

3. Hyper-local becomes super-duper-hyper-local. Marketers already know where you are. They will soon know what you are thinking, based on behaviors patterns. Creepy or cool? It’s both. And, ultimately, because privacy is becoming increasingly important to consumers, they will tell marketers where and how to reach them.

4. The martech world will continue to consolidate. Adobe bought Marketo. Forrester bought Sirius Decisions. New data-driven agency Wunderman Thompson was formed.

5. While all that consolidation is happening, new players are entering the marketing/advertising world. Companies like Accenture and Deloitte are starting to play a broader role in client decision-making. Who would believe they had their roots in accounting? In some ways, it makes perfect sense!

6. Grey hairs will make a comeback. Diversity was the buzzword in 2018 but ageism has not been a big part of the conversation. Recent lawsuits in the tech space will raise awareness of the millions of “OGs of marketing” who may have been marginalized in the digital era. Companies will realize that diverse teams deliver big results. Technology will become age- and color-blind and assist in the talent hunt. Machines are less biased than people.

7. Blockchain will expedite transactions across many industries and will have a positive impact on advertising. The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) has already issued a whitepaper on how video marketing will (rapidly) evolve. Here are more ways blockchain will change advertising transactions, according to Forbes.

Why the Inclusive CMO? Marketing leaders will need to include customer wants and needs in decision making…include AI and machine learning in their toolkit…include all types of talent in their organizations…and include the entire organization in that journey. Some of that new thinking may actually involve embracing a very old concept…the customer rules.

More about Nancy
Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, has a regular column inThrive Global and publishes an AI/machine learning/robotics site ( and travel and lifestyle site ( She also contributed to (a column called Bots & Bodies about the human side of tech). A Board Member of Girls in Tech, she speaks frequently about trends at national conferences in a variety of industries.

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