Top 5 Trends For Marketers And Entrepreneurs In 2018 [Marketing]


This article was published by Forbes - CMO Network and curated by Closer Spot. Be sure to check out other Closer Spot news and advice to help you win more business.

There hasn’t been a year in recent memory packed with as much change as we have witnessed in 2017. This groundswell of disruption stands poised to continue into the year ahead as the lines between culture and commerce, and the public and private sector, continue to evaporate. As our new age of business continues, the CMO function continues to rise in importance due to a confluence of factors ranging from digital transformation to purpose driven business.
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Emotional engagement is proving to be more critical to achieving winning results.
As plans get underway for 2018, what follows are the top 5 things CMOs should be aware of as we inch closer to the new year:

1. We are in an experience economy. Antiquated rules of engagement no longer apply.
The old rules of business were ruled by what was dubbed TQM, or Total Quality Management. Winning companies would win or lose based off of their ability to deliver a quality product seamlessly and consistently. This, in their view, would drive customer loyalty and assure a category or market leadership position. Today, and for the past decade actually, largely in a Jobsian shadow, we have rapidly left that notion behind in lieu of the age of TEM, or Total Experience Management. As commodification has been rampant across industry sector, with offerings based on price point becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate, winning experiences have become paramount, and the ability to drive true engagement has become the Holy Grail, whether you are selling apples or automobiles.

Consequently, marketers are being tasked with crafting interactions with customers instead of mere transactions. To do this, they must not lead the customer journey with the “sale” but rather the carrot that will drive to it. That carrot must be translated into the ability to transform storytelling into a vital business competency that takes the why and who of the brand and translates them into experiences that create lasting emotional connections. This type of thinking will without question help define distinction and competitive advantage in 2018.

Emotional engagement is the sister to rational engagement. Rational engagement is based on the stimulation of the mind, whereas emotional engagement is based upon the stimulation of the heart. In today’s age of brand experience, it seems that emotional engagement is proving to be more and more critical to achieving winning results and effective storytelling and digital marketing are at the heart of this movement.

In order to be able to master the new art of emotional engagement, you can no longer tell customers what you care to, or create the experiences you desire them to have. You must tell them the stories they crave to hear, and provide the moments that they seek to feel connected and emotionally engaged. This significant paradigm shift has led to an economy predicated on engagement and experience and has paved the way for an era of digital marketing driven by strategic, digital marketing analytics rather than naked creativity.
When thinking about how to gain competitive advantage in the marketing realm in the year ahead, think about capturing key insights and then use those insights to transform storytelling into a strategic business competency that generates content experiences that bring the brand to life.

2. In the age of experience, EVERYONE is a customer.
Today, organizations that use artful storytelling to create winning experiences are the ones who are leading our new era of collaborative commerce forward – and moving product, improving engagement and retaining employees. The key to their success is realizing that today, everyone, inside and outside of the organization, needs to be viewed as a customer. The following is a framework to use for experience design through a B2B, B2C, and B2E lens for the coming year:

B2B Experience
Pivoting from a product centric approach to one that is experience-based, B2B companies are harnessing creativity and technology to tell winning stories that will help educate and inform on the new age of business transformation upon us. To do this, they are using storytelling to optimize the customer experience through the following spheres: economic, innovation, agility/transformative ability, future aspiration and brand engagement.

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