As we approach 2020, I asked seven tech CEOs to identify the top marketing trends. Below are their insights.
D2C companies will abandon email as their primary customer communication channel. Leore Avidar, cofounder and CEO, Lob
“In 2020, direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies will see email unsubscribe rates grow toward 40% and reach all-time highs. With platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Google becoming increasingly expensive, brands are going to be forced to find alternative channels to communicate with their customers. Brands will need to reassess their marketing strategies and modernize more traditional engagement approaches in order to maintain customer loyalty while creating unique and meaningful ways to reach their customer base. In an era of extreme testing and personalization, this leaves D2C brands with limited options and they must adopt new channels that create a direct relationship and drive engagement.”
AI is about to get even noisier, but 2020 isn’t the year that AI changes the world, Sudheesh Nair, CEO of ThoughtSpot
“If you thought the marketing noise around AI was loud in 2019, prepare for it to get deafening in 2020. Private companies, especially startups, will increasingly tout themselves as AI companies in a bid to capture VC dollars, regardless of what they actually offer. Similarly, we’ll see companies, especially public ones, repackage their offerings with some sort of AI spin to impress shareholders hungry for stories of digital transformation success. 2020 is shaping up to be a tough year for AI with people getting disillusioned with the distance between marketing and reality. Companies will need to continue to invest in infrastructure that can handle AI capabilities and a rash of APIs to connect data together to train and feed algorithms.”
Retail Trend: Hyper-local, Tom Buiocchi, CEO, ServiceChannel
"‘Hyper-local’ will be a trend for retail and services of all kinds. Big retailers are shifting from the mega-super-store to local outposts that look and feel more like part of the community. Location matters more and more, and with ubiquitous delivery of anything, some stores will simply go to where the shoppers are. Healthcare is no exception: expect to see more and more core medical services offered at pharmacies or even purpose-built locations. In doing this, retailers can provide shoppers with a convenient and efficient experience."
Financial governance becomes the #1 cloud priority, Ashish Thusoo, cofounder and CEO, Qubole
“The cloud provides huge benefits for agility and speed of innovation, but enterprises have recognized that costs can spiral out of control if they are not carefully managed. Next year, we will see an even greater emphasis on financial governance in the cloud as CTOs seek to understand their cloud ROI and hold departments responsible for their cloud usage. This means there will be a focus on tools for calculating the costs of cloud storage and compute, as well as chargeback mechanisms for individual BUs and departments so they are held accountable for their usage.”
Customers will lean on software vendors to ensure compliance, Gregg Johnson, CEO, Invoca
“New regulations like CCPA and GDPR along with increasing consumer demand for data privacy will change the way companies approach compliance in 2020. It will no longer be a checkbox for IT to tick off during the software selection process but a feature that’s front-and-center in their marketing. Software vendors will tout compliance as a service as end-users lean heavily on vendors to stay ahead of an ever-changing regulatory landscape.”
Product usage metrics will become bellwethers for the most highly-valued companies, Todd Olson, cofounder and CEO of Pendo
“Product usage metrics like adoption, retention and stickiness will rank alongside financials as indicators of a digital business’s overall health and growth potential. After a year where many tech companies failed to measure up to expectations, delaying IPO filings or choosing not to file at all, numbers that can often be inflated will be checked by metrics that are easily quantifiable and able to determine whether customers are engaged and happy, or frustrated and likely to churn. The sooner investors can uncover these trends, the sooner they can invest or know when to walk away.”