Three 2015 Marketing Predictions I Hope Are Terribly Wrong

As 2014 comes to a close, we get to turn our sights to 2015 and prognosticate on what may be in store for those in B2B Marketing in the coming year. While trying to predict the future can be fun, especially when you predict correctly, I do hope that for several of these predictions I am completely wrong, as I hope – but not ready to predict – that 2015 becomes known as the breakout year for those in B2B marketing.

shutterstock_206950111Prediction 1:  Marketers Will Continue to Struggle to Show the Value of Their Efforts and Investment

This is one of the predictions I do hope I get completely wrong, but given the last few years and some of the research from this year, I don’t think I will be.

  • Only 8% of those in content marketing say they are highly effective with their content – Content Marketing Institute
  • Only 2.8% of those in B2B Enterprises who are responsible for Demand Generation state they are highly effective in reaching their goals – ANNUITAS
  • Only 13% of vendors that were reviewed passed the “B2B Customer Engagement Test” – Forrester

While this is only the current years research, this is actually a decline from the previous year, which is obviously does not bode well. 2015 must be a year where marketers begin to show demonstrable value to their organizations and the investments that have been made. A lot of investment and trust has been put into marketing from their organizations, this will not continue if marketers continue to struggle in showing what that investment is yielding.

Prediction 2:  The Gap Between Vendors and Customers Will Continue To Grow

As mentioned in the previous prediction, according to Forrester, less than 15% of B2B organizations are connecting with their customers with effective content.  However, many organizations still do not realize that the buyers are not just outpacing B2B marketers in terms of sophistication; they are also doing the same to B2B sales people. According to VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, Laura Ramos, this is an area where many organizations are still playing catch-up, “Companies need to help salespeople understand the narrative that has been going on between marketing and prospects, so they can carry key points, survey results and other information, and put it into person-to-person conversations.”

It is imperative that both B2B marketing and sales reps understand that they no longer lead the conversation, direct the “sales cycle” or move the buyer through their funnel. The buyer is in full control and desires dialogue and discussion with their vendors. If this is not done, and let’s hope that 2015 is the year that organizations begin to understand this and apply it to their strategy, otherwise, then the gap will only widen.

Prediction 3:  The Full Scope of Transformation Will Not Be Realized

While it is safe to say the investments in technology and content will again increase in 2015, I believe it is equally safe to predict that marketers will spend 2015 thinking these investments will yield positive results. While their may be some positive, incremental impact as an outcome of these investments, what marketers must begin to realize is that unless there is a true realization of Demand Process – the alignment of People, Process, Content and Technology to that of the buyer and their buying process, any outcomes and positive impact will be minimal at best.

Too many companies only focus on a part of the whole and the lack of buyer insight, end-to-end process and how the organization is aligned to the buying process are often the some of the greatest failure points in an organization. CMOs must address this in totality or else risk another year with minimal improvement.

There are many more predictions that could be made heading into 2015, however, as with all predictions, only time will tell. As we head into 2015, I do truly hope my three predictions are way off. I hope that 2015 is seen as the year where marketers make great strides, advance their skills and lead in value creation for their organizations and if this happens, we will have a much different set of predictions in 2016.

Author: Carlos Hidalgo @cahidalgo is CEO/ Principal ANNUITAS

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