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Have you heard the one about the weatherman who broke both his arms and legs in an accident? He had to take a leave of absence because he was having trouble with four casts.

With three quarters of the year remaining, some CMOs are still trying to predict the rest of the year. While participants at PAN Communications’ 3rd Annual CMO Predictions Series had differences of opinions in many areas, nearly all agreed on four priorities.

The Four Priorities

The 20 CMO and marketing influencers who presented agreed that two of this year’s top priorities are carryovers from the previous year. They continue to be content overload and customer data with 70% of the participants also citing data as the key component in evaluating customer experiences and content.

Advocacy rose up from earlier years to become a higher priority. Marketers who identify causes and audiences that align with their brand have great opportunities awaiting. Participants felt that brands have a better chance of standing out if they utilized Voice of the Customer (VoC) and Voice of the Employee (VoE) programs to help build trust.

VoC and VoE programs consist of both qualitative and quantitative research steps. Results can be captured in many ways. The latest is through online insight programs, while other avenues include focus groups, contextual inquiry, individual interviews, and ethnographic techniques.

Personalization emerged as the fourth priority largely because it was associated with assisting content overload by helping cut through the daily clutter marketers often encounter. Participants said brands need to insert more empathetic messages that touch consumer pain points to truly be perceived as personal.

Other Observations

Citing a Cisco Index Report, Brian Fanzo, Founder & CEO of iSocialFanz said, “82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. He said that there is a growing need for brands to be transparent and authentic. His observation is that customers will be more demanding for this and that brands will have a challenge balancing the demand for more conversations with consumers to balance the need to measure them.

Marketing the company to employees with as much passion as a brand’s customers was a suggestion of Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He cited getting the entire business on board with storytelling and weathering sustained calls for ego-based promotions as their top challenges.

Elena Filimonova, Senior Vice President at Global Marketing, CGS, identified her top challenge as one many marketers also agonize over. She said that the challenge is convincing internal stakeholders that marketing is everyone’s job.

The author of “The Age of Influence,” Neal Schaffer, offered up a different perspective. He saw the top challenge today as data. He explained that the reason is that with all the data collected, brands will be trying to make sense of it while trying to move their marketing plans forward.

Two participants concurred that earning trust is critical in today’s marketplace. Amanda Bohne, Vice President of Marketing at AppNeta cited new regulations like GDPR and CCPA as well as the increased use of ad-blocking technology as strong reasons for brands to put together campaigns that give consumers more reasons to opt in and participate.

Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing added that today’s consumer is also overwhelmed with information and distrustful of ads. Brands that co-create content with peers, experts and influencers will improve their reach.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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