Marketing will be determined by the customer in 2019 as CMOs and digital agencies adapt to “The Emotion Economy,” IBM Watson predicts. IBM Watson Marketing identified nine trends to look out for in the coming year, including the continuance of personalization trends and the dawn of data mastery.

Not surprisingly, IBM places emphasis on artificial intelligence, of which it offers solutions. Other observations, however, mirror recent analyst predictions that brands will strive for customer trust, agile marketing and use GDPR to one’s advantage.

Marrying Emotion With Data

Consumers are largely driven by how they feel when making purchases and this is especially true for young generations.

“When customers are engaged emotionally, they are much more compelled to take the actions that drive business,” writes IBM Watson Marketing. “If a brand wants to sustain that growth, it must pull these emotional triggers again and again.”

Those triggers could be standing for or against a hot topic, as demonstrated by Nike, or coming together for the greater good. A recent study by Accenture Strategy found that 62 percent of customers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues such as sustainability, transparency and fair employment practices.

Likewise, customers appreciate it when a brand “gets them.” Customer experience (CX) is the new funnel—strengthening existing relationships and creating lifetime value rather than focusing on single transactions.

2019 will be the age of the tech-savvy marketer, IBM Watson Marketing predicts, and fate will favor the AI-powered strategy. Predictions, tests and deep customer history dives will allow CMOs to make educated decisions, balancing personalization with agility.

“If a brand wants to sustain that growth, it must pull these emotional triggers again and again.”

Enter The “Martecheter”

Between ever-changing consumer landscapes and GDPR, it’s no wonder that “director of marketing data” is this year’s hottest new role. This leadership position will take on the role of a bridge between data integration, collection and analysis.

In short, marketing leaders must be fluent in both marketing and martech. Single-skilled marketers can no longer function in today’s fast-paced, digital world. IBM cited a gap between digital and corporate marketers—General Assembly marketing assessments found that digital marketers outscored their corporate counterparts by 73 percent.

“Operational nimbleness combined with cross-disciplinary marketers” can support a growing ecosystem of purpose-built marketing tools, IBM Watson noted, placing an emphasis on the uniqueness of every business model and customer base.

As technology continues to advance, CMOs have to do the same, Equinox CMO Vimla Gupta told AList in a recent interview.

“This job is changing on a dime every single day,” said Gupta. “It is becoming increasingly technical. Understanding how the technology can help you and how to use it, how to invest in it, recruit the right people or partner with the right agency is critical.”