Welcome to 2015: The Year of the Predictive Marketer.

In the year ahead, CMOs will need to not only build and foster teams that are data-savvy, but they will also need to embrace advancements in data analytics as core to their strategy and decision-making.

It’s not an option -- it’s a need for survival.

The latest shift in marketing is one that we may not have anticipated when we all decided to become marketers: marketing teams will actually need fewer marketers as we build out our plans for the year ahead. Yes, it’s a bold statement to make, but as data gathering and analysis grow in marketing practices (and become more and more a requirement by our CEOs), the value of data is quickly surpassing that of traditional marketing capabilities.

Now, let me take a step back. We have all seen an explosion in data growth and availability over the last few years. But the question that remains is: How can we process and act on all of this information?

The answer is four-fold:

1. Modern Marketing = Data

CMOs have come to realize that access to data poses endless possibilities. That’s why it’s paramount that CMOs employ a strong data analytics team to accurately make sense of this influx in figures. This year, CMOs will need to recruit team members with pure data and analytics backgrounds -- data scientists, statisticians, data operations, and machine learning -- and have an innate understanding of A/B testing, modeling and analytics.

2. Real Time Begets ROI

The 2015 CMO needs to understand trending topics in real time and be positioned to immediately react. Accurate, instantaneous forecasts will be the primary source to optimize interactions.

Think about it: the marketing office will look like a trading room floor with screens streaming with data on leads, campaign performance, web activity, open rates, etc. If CMOs and their marketing teams don’t have that level of access, they are already starting off the year behind.

3. Content Remains King

As content consumption continues to increase across all modes of technology, clever CMOs understand the need to use content analytics to measure engagement and inbound traffic. The ability to measure and analyze video and other content consumption will provide a solid foundation for producing future content.

Once CMOs and their marketing teams have robust data on how their target audiences interact with videos, blog posts, white papers and more, they can create content that is tailored to each specific customer.

4. The Digital Now, Digital First Reality

Today, we spread our attention over a host of different digital mediums. Savvy CMOs will need to shift toward digital engagement to find the best strategies to reach customers based on analysis from their team of data scientists. For customers that have a history of viewing particular content from their mobile devices or from social channels, marketing teams will be able to offer them a unique experience with content that they will enjoy, value and share.

Put simply, traditional marketing as we know it is dead.

In order to stay relevant and drive true ROI for their companies, CMOs have to build a marketing team and establish processes that prioritize data and analytics. It’s time to forge ahead further into the world of big data and real time analytics and channel it into interactions that make true impact -- with more precise targeting, personalization and engagement.

After all, it may be the year of the predictive marketer, but we’re living in the age of the customer. And they know exactly what they want, when they want it. The sooner we embrace that and shift when they shift, the sooner we’ll see true ROI on our marketing efforts.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Anthony Quintano