Survival as a chief marketer in 2016 and beyond will depend on being highly adaptable and maintaining a deep understanding of today’s capricious customers.chameleon700x400_905622

The CMO of 2016 and beyond is a chameleon. Survival as a chief marketer will depend on being highly adaptable, having the ability to blend with changeable surroundings, and maintaining a deep understanding of today’s capricious customers. If that sounds like a tall order, it is. Still, it’s the reality for the chief marketers of today and tomorrow.

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Evolving technologies and strategies—from programmatic to performance marketing—could have marketers poised to shift their budget allocations this year.

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Winterberry Group predicts increases in marketing spending on the majority of marketing channels this year. But expect some of that spending to be fluid. Several evolving technologies and strategies—from programmatic and video to performance marketing and campaign management—could have marketers poised to shift their spending as 2016 unfolds.

During his keynote at the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s 2016 Annual Outlook event, Winterberry Group senior managing director Bruce Biegel examined eight trends that the strategic consulting firm predicts could impact marketing spending in 2016. They are:

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Winterberry Group predicts increased spending on nearly all marketing channels.

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Where will U.S. marketing spending grow in 2016? The more expedient question, perhaps, is which channels won’t see spending increases in 2016. Winterberry Group predicts increases in marketing spending on the majority of marketing channels—the exceptions: marketing spending on cinema, insert media, and radio will stay flat; magazine and newspaper spending will decline (by 1.9% and 6%, respectively).

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I was recently honored with a Silver Apple lifetime achievement award in marketing. Here’s what I had to say.

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The Direct Marketing Club of New York hosted its annual Silver Apple Awardslast night. The lifetime achievement award honors those who have contributed greatly to the direct marketing industry over the course of their careers. I was fortunate to be among this year’s honorees.

I’m so ecstatic about receiving the award I want to share the moment with all of you. So, here, my acceptance speech:

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CMOs and CIOs speak different languages; taking time to translate each other’s priorities goes a long way toward accomplishing them.

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CMOs have a relationship problem. They need to win the hearts of their CIOs, but when it comes to communicating, the two are more like cats and dogs than colleagues. In fact, only 9% of marketing leaders surveyed think that IT understands what they do, and just 19% of IT leaders polled feel understood by the marketing leaders they work with—according to the Rackspace study “Marketing and IT:Overcoming a Cats and Dogs History to Create a Seamless Customer Experience.”

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Digital disruption is here; customer insight can help companies be disruptors instead of being disrupted.

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“Digital disruptions are threatening business norms,” Shar VanBoskirk asserted during her keynote at Sailthru Lift 2015.

But far too many businesses are unprepared for this new digital reality, said VanBoskirk, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research. According to Forrester, 79% of e-business professionals surveyed think that their CEOs have a solid plan in place to become truly digital businesses. “What keeps us from being digital is that we don’t know how to disrupt ourselves,” she said.

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CX brings a focus on the customer that CRM had always intended to, but for many organizations, didn’t quite achieve.

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Customer experience. You can’t go to a marketing or CRM conference these days without being inundated with content about it. In fact, at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit, customer experience (CX) is, not surprisingly, a central theme—not only in sessions, but also in the hallways.

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Forrester Research finds an alarming decline in CX scores—or perhaps customers have gotten too tough to please.

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Customer experience has a direct impact on loyalty. That impact isn’t always positive. Too much email that’s impersonal or irrelevant—that’s a marketing-driven customer experience that could lead to churn. Spot-on targeting with contextually relevant messaging can surprise and delight customers and get them to stay longer, buy more, and advocate.

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Brands that are digital humanists will get further with customers than those who are digital machinists.

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Airbnb. Kickstarter. Task Rabbit. Uber. All of these companies have been hailed for being innovative or disruptive. What do they know that you don’t? Don Scheibenreif asked that question of attendees during his keynote at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit. His answer: They know that technology and customer experience are almost inseparable.

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