CMOs will harness customer energy in the coming year, Forrester predicts, using cultural disruption as fuel for short-term growth. In the long-term, however, building a brand with emotional impact will rely on enhanced customer experience (CX) and trust that goes beyond mere provocation.

Forrester has released its CMO predictions for 2019, drawing attention to the trends and challenges that will face marketers in the new year. Disruption will take multiple forms, Forrester predicts, as innovative CMOs create value both real and perceived.

Nike’s provocative Colin Kaepernick ad tapped into existing customer energy to explode into the public conscious. The risk paid off, opening the door to other brands hoping to repeat the performance. While societal division can inspire companies to take a stand, any resulting success may be a flash in the pan.

Forrester predicts that in 2019, CMOs will look to exploit such division for short-term gains, but notes that new long-term growth can be achieved if a large enough audience is motivated. Between this month’s US mid-term elections and the 2020 Presidential campaign trail, brands should have ample fuel.

Tech-fueled disruption, meanwhile, will continue to put pressure on CMOs to innovate on the go. When this happens, Forrester predicts that CMOs will have to galvanize the C-suite around a collective vision—breaking down organizational barriers to deliver on brand promise. “The smart ones” never lose sight of their essential purpose and brand promise, Forrester noted.

Marketers experiencing a downward trend in CX quality will reflect and return to their roots next year and some may go so far as to rebrand completely.

“Driven by an understanding that brand vision and purpose must serve as a base for building and articulating a CX vision, we expect a deluge of companies to undergo brand transformations, which will presage alignment with future CX efforts,” Forrester said.

Customers will remain at the center of all strategies in the coming year, with CMOs assuming the role of an ally for data privacy and trust. To better communicate with audiences, marketing chiefs will shift their focus from marketing tech stacks to consumer tech. Tools, coordination, conversation and emotion will be emphasized to meet consumers where they are—on apps, devices and personal assistants.