This article was originally published by Forbes.
As we move into 2023, the world could face another challenging year. With a multitude of macro and geopolitical issues to navigate, constant uncertainty and disruption are the new normal. As a result, every organization should reevaluate the path to success.
The constant disruption creates an array of new challenges for leadership to navigate. For CMOs, this presents an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership and not shy away from continuing to innovate and drive change. The physical and digital worlds will continue to evolve. Increasingly, I believe digital will dominate, with hybrid and ultimately virtual worlds becoming commonplace. And marketing teams should be cognizant of the changing landscape. So, let's dive into the elements that I believe will impact the trifecta of talent, tech, and tactics in 2023 and beyond.
Employee turnover will likely be an evergreen issue, and finding great people will continue to be challenging. Increasingly, culture and evidence of executing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy and a strong sustainability strategy could be key to attracting and retaining marketing talent. CMOs should ensure that this remains a priority irrespective of any economic headwinds they might encounter.
Some companies are exploring flexible work options, including four-day work weeks. This is a big shift for traditional companies that expect their employees to commit to 40 hours or five days per week. This shift, especially for companies experiencing a scarcity of skilled full-time marketing resources, could increase the dependence on contract workers. Teams that are flexible in how they harness talent can reap the benefits.
In the clamor to acquire more digital skills, I believe savvy marketing teams will increasingly turn over the keys to digital natives rather than following the traditional hierarchy model. The demand for digital could drive a rush to reskill within marketing teams. This could be both a top-down imperative and an individual directive as marketing team members look to fast-track their careers.
The race to adopt the best technology
Despite the hype around the metaverse, I believe CMOs will focus on mixed reality in 2023 before shifting their focus to monetizing the metaverse. Expect to see a mix of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications deployed across various industries, including business, healthcare, aerospace, and defense, to bridge the physical and digital worlds and provide a unique experience. According to a report from Technavio (via PR Newswire), the AR and VR market size could grow by $162.71 billion between 2020 and 2025.
The technology arms race will likely continue as brands look to reach customers wherever they are in the buying journey. Technology that supports delivering personalized experiences at scale is already common as marketing teams look for ways to thrive despite the new normal of constant change. AI's ability to learn and predict outcomes based on data sets could play an increasing role in making this personalization at scale possible.
In 2023, the pace of automation could accelerate significantly, helping remove much of the admin-related aspects of marketing roles. This, in turn, would alleviate some of the pressure on recruitment. I expect to see an array of robotic process automation (RPA) solutions specifically tailored to marketing teams, such as RPA for digital advertising. There are already solutions on the market for tasks like updating CRMs, creating quotes, and running SEO audits. These could automate many of the time-consuming and tedious aspects of advertising while reducing errors and driving up margins.
CMOs who find the perfect mix of brand and performance marketing will set their organizations up for long-term success. It will be vital for them to continue to test and adjust the mix of tactics throughout the year.
In 2023, I believe account-based management (ABM) programs will continue to be a priority. According to Foundry research (via GlobeNewswire), "96% of marketers have a documented ABM strategy. In addition, the study shows that 94% rate ABM as extremely or very important to their overall marketing objectives, and 84% feel their ABM efforts have been either extremely or very successful."
The popularity of user-generated content (UGC) could soar as authenticity becomes foundational for every brand. As part of this shift to being authentic, employee advocacy programs could grow in importance and help validate a brand's promise.
Every CMO should be cognizant of the evolving landscape and ensure that their teams are set up to survive and, hopefully, thrive in 2023. For those contemplating how to proceed, it's good to recall the infamous words of Henry Ford: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." The message I take from this is to continue to think big and make bold decisions, which is the mindset my team and I are embracing as we welcome in 2023.