Sales and Marketing Top Trends: Top Consulting Firms
A desire for better customer experience and digital transformation, the talent gap hindering operations, agile marketing are some of the top trends surrounding sales and marketing consultancies.
The Trend — Customer Experience and Digital Transformation
- Augie Ray, the vice president analyst at Gartner, argues that “CXM is the next category in the brand evolution. Whereas 20 years ago much of brand strategy was focused on positioning and communication strategy, today we use the tools and processes of CXM to understand how experiences—what our brand does and not just what it says—help to craft the brand perception in the mind of the customer.”
- A global survey of roughly 13,000 marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creative, and IT professionals unveiled that 64% consider Customer Experience (CX) and digital transformation a priority. Furthermore, 55% of marketers prioritize audience segmentation and targeting.
- Enterprises that distinguish themselves as advanced at CX are nearly three times more likely to have surpassed their top 2018 business goals by a significant margin.
- According to John Zealley, senior managing director at Accenture, the reason behind the CX’s growing popularity is the new tools companies have nowadays to “fundamentally change their relationship and engagement with the consumer.”
- A successful CX strategy requires analysis of data to produce insights into the consumer journey. Companies that want to implement exceptionally transformative CX need customer data that is “real-time, intelligent, and predictive.” That makes choosing the proper marketing technology vital for successful CX execution.
- Two-thirds of Global 2,000 companies are shifting their focus from traditional, offline strategies to digital strategies aspiring to improve customer experience, while 34% believe they’ll fully adopt digital transformation by 2020.
- Digital transformation is yet to reach maturity. As reported by McKinsey, only 26% of worldwide sales were made through digital channels; 31% of operations volume was digitally automated; and 25% of interactions in supply chains are digitized.
- McKinsey's research also suggests that customer experience is one area where corporations are failing, concerning their digital transformation, mostly due to a lack of effective management.
- Deloitte’s CMO Survey showed that CRM is the place where companies are investing their marketing budget, beating brand spending, new service introduction, and new product introduction. Developing the necessary capabilities inside the organization to design, deliver and monitor the customer experience was the most common challenge.
- With CX and digital transformation becoming priorities, the collaborative CMO is gaining more space, as 96% agree that their organization meets its customers’ expectations compared to 77% of traditional marketers.
- Successful, customer-centric, collaborative CMOs are more inclined than traditional marketers to collaborate with consulting firms; in fact, 91% see external/third-party partners as a critical part of their customer experience strategy.
- When it comes to digital transformation, The Big Four - Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — emerged as challengers to other services providers, such as IBM.
- They are not only capturing a significant share of the digital transformation marketplace but also the consequent managing services market arising from the digital transformation.
- As natural orchestrators of other services and technologies due to their substantial footprint, they are in a position to relegate their competitors to a less-influential role.
- Over the past few years, Deloitte focused on creating an “As One” marketplace, rather than regional fiefdoms. The company built capability in the digital space, ranging from some of the “leading talent in digital transformation to offshore talent factories to support that.”
- In 2019, the company was selected by Gartner as a leader in CRM and customer experience implementation services.
- E&Y is following Deloitte’s footsteps to create a substantial, sophisticated digital transformation and service structure.
The Trend — Talent Gap
- As previously reported, data-driven decisions are known to result in better productivity and profit rates. Advancements in AI, machine learning, and data analytics are transforming how brands and consumers interact, yet many companies don’t have the technical expertise to stay competitive.
- Marketing analytics spending continues to grow slowly but expected to increase by 61% in three years. Companies use marketing analytics in decision-making 39.3% of the time, on average, representing a 29.3% increase since 2013.
- In a recent survey of 1,200 global firms, more than half acknowledged that a shortage of digital talent is affecting their business. Marketing departments are particularly struggling to fill digital roles.
- The average marketing professional’s ability to leverage digital marketing stands at 38%, as reported by the Digital Marketing Institute. Moreover, only 8% of marketers today have digital skills adequate for an entry-level position.
- The talent shortage is a global problem affecting multiple industries. Research conducted in the UK discovered that 32% of senior marketers said their teams lacked the skills to deliver proper brand work, while 54% said talent was in short supply.
- The CIO Survey conducted by Deloitte showed that 64% of participants are looking for talent with expertise in analytics, data science and business intelligence. The professionals considered it as the most challenging skill to recruit.
- Accenture claims that current education and corporate learning systems are not planned to address the demand. The company predicts that the USA could lose up to $975 billion in the next years if it doesn’t meet future skills demand.
- Companies are looking for talent that is creative, has cognitive flexibility and emotional intelligence. The talent gap opened space for consultancy agencies, as 58% of CIOs reported leveraging talent from external partners and service providers.
- CMOs, especially in B2C services, are investing in marketing consulting services, with Banking/Finance companies making it a priority.
- Companies bellow $1 billion in sales revenue are more likely to outsource their marketing efforts. Although most companies prefer to build marketing capabilities, garnering 53.8% of responses, the number was higher in 2017 (59.8%). Partnering with marketing agencies and consultancies is on the rise.
The Trend — Agile Marketing
- According to Deloitte, “agility is both a framework and a mindset. When an organisation can structure internal operations in a manner that empowers rapid content production and real time interaction to drive engagement in moments that matter.”
- Agile marketing means improving the cross-functionality and proximity of teams, restructuring marketing teams to function like newsroom operations.
- Companies need adaptive models that enable them to follow the speed of culture, conversation and digitization. For that, they should build "if/then of campaigns", meaning batches of marketing content ready to be rolled out in 48 to 72-hour windows if trends or live events change courses. They should also act quickly and support real-time customer engagement.
- Brands are distinguishing themselves from the herd by being more “purposeful and hyper-focused,” which requires a different way of working for their marketing teams. Marketing functions should be restructured, leverage the power of real-time data obtained through digital platforms, and quickly gain insights to design "more personalized, human experiences in an agile manner."
- Agile marketing pushes companies to move beyond content creation by offering an organizational model for businesses to swiftly design, create and launch campaigns. An agile model can enable companies to verify assumptions based on customer interactions and timely insights.
- A 2019 survey revealed that 50% of marketing officers in traditional organizations are looking to embrace more agile ways of working, and 32% are already on the journey.
- The Agile approach challenges marketers to shift from conventional content to "new, tech-enabled, moment-centric ones." Large consultancy agencies are prepared to deal with those needs, as they began to experiment in their own marketing departments.
- Both Deloitte and McKinsey developed agile marketing pilots. Deloitte has remodeled its in-house marketing team to work in a more agile way, while McKinsey has set out an approach that focused on "cross-functional collaboration and iterative experimentation."
To determine the top trends, the research team leveraged information from news articles, industry reports, and executive surveys. We also examined the largest consultancies in the world to see what they offered, where they shine and struggle.
Initially, we were skeptical about the inclusion of customer experience and digital transformation as a trend, given it is not a new topic. However, after careful examination, both topics are a priority and a pain point for most companies. Considering the multiple efforts companies are employing in these areas and the rise of consultancy agencies as challengers, we felt confident it was a worthy inclusion.
Regarding the talent gap trend, during our research about other trends, it was a current topic of discussion related to all technological advances. Further examination showed that it is a trend that companies and agencies are focusing on, which is why it was included. Talent is also one of Deloitte's top marketing trends for 2020, as well as Agile.