A CMO focus on customer value, extreme bifurcation of customer experience (CX) and a surge in privacy class-action lawsuits are what marketers have to look forward to in 2020, according to Forrester’s Predictions 2020 report.

This sweeping assessment of the future business environment takes in everything from consumers’ search for deeper meaning to the role of regulatory bodies in shaping markets; subtitled “on the precipice of far-reaching change”, it suggests the coming year could see 2019’s prudent investments lead to breakout growth, but another scenario envisages the breakdown of the global economy.

While there are big picture uncertainties, Forrester is more firm on some of the issues that immediately impact marketers. “In 2020, the top CMOs will be responsible for all that surrounds the customer,” it asserts.

“They’ll recognize that the best mechanism to drive growth is a strategically planned ecosystem that delivers value to customers throughout their lifecycle.” That will require them to “thread the needle between employee experience, customer experience, brand purpose, creative, and technology, imbuing all these crucial areas with customer obsession”.

A the same time, Forrester sees CMOs re-balancing their strategies away from an emphasis on short-term activation and putting more money into creative that builds long-term brand differentiation.

On the issue of customer experience, the report anticipates that CX professionals will be under pressure to quantify their business impact. Those that have been able to show benefits will be able to invest more and keep getting better, it suggests, while those that have underperformed will cut budgets in frustration – with “unintended, detrimental consequences as customers bestow their loyalties elsewhere”.

Data is of course an important part of delivering on CX and there are numerous aspects of this that firms will need to address, from machine learning and AI to the risk of data breaches.

2020 will be a good year for marketers who take consumer privacy seriously, says Forrester, as it predicts privacy class-action lawsuits will increase by 300%.

And as privacy concerns grow, smart marketers are likely to reappraise their personalisation efforts, reducing reliance on third-party data and moving towards “targeted experiences” instead.

“Organisations will shift 10% of their budget to influencer marketing,” Forrester adds. “Values strategies will become more prevalent, and five Fortune 500 brands will seek B-Corp certification.”

Sourced from Forrester; additional content by WARC staff