Marketers, and particularly those in the CMO positions will be forced to deal with the changing nature of the field in 2013. In addition, many marketing departments in all industries will need to become much more technically sound.

That's one of the conclusions Rich Vancil and Kathleen Schaub, analysts at IDC, came up with in a recent webinar on 2013 CMO predictions. It was a great session, and Schaub and Vancil, both long time marketing practitioners and consultants, were blunt about the jarring changes going on in the marketing world.

Organizational Dynamics

Marketers need to become masters of data and technology, Vancil said, and that's because the last year has seen more changes than maybe the last 30. B2B buying has totally changed and vendors have lost the power they had over buyers. Companies cannot ignore this anymore.

Says Schaub:

A shattering transformation has taken place in buyer behavior because of digital communication.

Vendors used to control what and how much information got out to potential buyers, and because that is not true anymore, marketers are gaining influence at the C suite level. In pre Internet times, CEO's didn't have to pay much attention to marketers because they were often simply left to their own devices, Schaub said.

But now, customers are using the Web and social media to become self educated, and participating in all that digital media leaves lots of fingerprints, she said. 

Buyers are never, ever, ever offline; I don't care what industry they are in."

The most advanced CEO's are now realizing marketers are not playing a Webby, Twittery, Facebooky game, Schaub said. Buyer behavior has been forever changed, and it is fundamentally altering how business is conducted. It's not just a risky time for CMOs but for CEOs too. There is even a widening performance gap between the companies that get it and those that don’t. The winners are using more technology.

Technology may be taking away some of the power of vendors, but it is starting to give it back in the form of marketing automation and data analytics, Schaub said. 

CMO's 2013 Agenda

CMOs were asked about what marketing challenges they are facing, and while some are things CMOs have been saying for a long time, others are more specific to the transformational times we now live in. CMOs will be under more scrutiny than ever because of the power of the self educated buyer. Analytics and automation will compound this because they will increase the expectations of accountability, Vancil said.