7 Predictions: How CMO Priorities will Change After COVID-19

May 5, 2020

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the operating norms have changed for companies regardless of size.  One of the most significant changes has been in the form of how businesses are marketing their goods or services. By carefully analyzing what customers were doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, I began to look at different trends and how they will impact CMO priorities. Even though the travel, vacation rental, energy, fashion retail, and hospitality industries were struck hard during the epidemic, home improvement, grocery retail, entertainment, social networking, and home delivery industries prospered. Companies in both categories are changing up the nature of their marketing strategies, tools, and approach.

 Marketers need to get ahead of this curve, and the good news is that the role of CMOs will be at the center of these changes. Here are 7 ways that CMO priorities will be breathing new life into marketing post-COVID-19.

Prediction One: A Renewed Focus on Consumer Experience Post COVID-19

 While B2B marketing has traditionally led to more long-term success before COVID-19, we will see a shift back to B2C models shortly. This doesn’t mean that entire brands will be ignored – just that they will be treated more like costumers in terms of their digital and forward-facing experiences. CMOs are taking initiatives to personalize their brands both for their end-users and their long-term business partners. Look for organizations to focus on partnerships and individualized experiences in both their B2C and B2B efforts.

 To accomplish this,  investments in MarTech platforms will increase because the software is designed for 1:1 personalized marketing. It also allows the businesses and their brands to collect data that enables precision digital marketing and personalized targeting of ads.

Prediction 2: CMO Priorities will Double Down on Customer Behavior Analytics

 Gone are the days where marketers can simply focus on one “big picture” to gain clients. With access to robust datasets and analytics, CMOs are looking to draw in customers from a wide range of demographics by creating personalized experiences across multiple platforms. The overall marketing that was necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic was unusual, to say the least.  That is because it was differentiated depending on which country (or even within a country) the business was advertising.

 Because of this trend, there is a more substantial need to home in on target demographics when companies. Rather than eliminating specific markets, the new focus is on analyzing behavior throughout previously untouched markets. From there, marketers can alter their customer outreach programs accordingly. Additionally, this means that current one-size-fits-all advertising is risky because different areas around the world are experiencing different impacts as a result of the pandemic. Some are in the heart of it, whereas others were not touched nearly as much by it.

Prediction Three: Growth of Fractional CMOs and Gig-Economy Freelancers.

 The use of interim CMO’s was already a growing trend but took off even further as a result of COVID-19 and the need for new approaches to marketing in small businesses. A Fractional CMO is a chief marketing officer that does not act in the role of one particular company. He or she may split time between different organizations, offering perspectives and advice to fulfill their current marketing needs. Similarly, many freelancers on Fiverr and Upwork saw their business boom during the pandemic. This can be a significant boost for smaller or mid-size companies. They can’t afford or don’t necessarily need a full-time CMO or freelance marketers due to their current abilities and level of market penetration. As traditional roles throughout the business world are changing, we see new opportunities for part-time CMO’s who can provide value to multiple brands at once.

 The dynamics brought on by COVID-19 are illustrating that a more dynamic workforce model is a great new source of differentiation. By applying these fractional CMOs, businesses can utilize the talent that is crossing multiple clients and sharing their results with all of the companies they are doing work for.

Prediction 4: Increased Emphasis on Social Consciousness

 Whether executives love it or hate it, the younger generations of consumers are aware of the social programs and environmental initiatives put forward by their favorite brands. They prefer to buy from companies who participate in sustainability programs and who reward their employees for going green. Look for CMOs to make big pushes in 2020 to further their socially conscious messaging. Developing and maintaining an environmentally friendly image is likely to become the role of marketing departments in many organizations. 

Role of Marketing after COVID-19

This is especially true following COVID-19 when many have looked at their surroundings and the climate differently and with an eye on more social consciousness, not less.

 Prediction 5: Direct 1:1 Communication Will Carry the Day

 Advertising isn’t going away anytime soon, but traditional ad channels are falling out of favor with progressively minded marketers. CMOs have long been slashing budgets for television and billboard ads. I see this trend likely to continue at a higher rate as finding favor with personal outreach and direct messaging and its increased use during the Coronavirus pandemic.

 The role of marketing is adapting to COVID-19 and making it easier to communicate directly with customers than it was in the past. This is due in part to improved technology across multiple marketing channels. Using these modern platforms allows organizations to stay in touch with their customer base on a personal level rather than hoping to reach them through indirect means.  And it will enable companies to gather critical personalized data that can be used to gain lifelong customers.

 Prediction 6: Agile Marketing Automation Through the use of AI

 Manufacturing isn’t the only aspect of business that can be significantly improved by automation. Marketing automation is a significant business, and any marketer who expects to remain relevant will have already put automated programs in place. This goes along with direct communication, as specific messages and responses can be automated thanks to improvements in AI and machine learning. As these programs become more sophisticated, marketers can minimize the amount of “junk” mail and unnecessary items while providing their customers with automatic information that is relevant to their wants and needs.

 One thing is apparent, the post-COVID-19 marketing era will have to rethink what automation they really need, which ones can help them save money, and which ones can help them enhance their businesses that have been altered by this crisis.

Prediction 7: Revamped Brand Story Telling

 With brands looking to connect with their customers on a personal level, post-pandemic expect CMOs to push a model that focuses on telling stories. These can be stories about the brand or about a certain customer’s relationship with a particular product. In any case, these marketing initiatives will emphasize just how important the brand is to their customer’s lives, reassuring the client base that they have a good reason for buying from the company. When a marketer can help make a brand part of an individual’s story, they are often helping them to gain a customer for life.

The Role of Marketing and CMO Priorities Will Likely Change for the Foreseeable Future

 At the onset, 2020 looked to be an intriguing year for marketing professionals. Now that CMO priorities will be at the epicenter of the COVID-19 recovery, their role becomes vital to expanding or re-engaging their customers. This excitement will only grow as they take the reins and venture into new territory. In a profession that has stagnated in recent years, it will be the risk-takers and innovators who see the most success.

 It will be interesting to see how these predictions unfold in the days and months that lie ahead.





fractional executives


John R. Miles agrees with Sara Blakely on hiring your weakness

John R. Miles is the founder and CEO of OVESTO, the leading provider of on-demand executive staffing. OVESTO provides transformational leaders for fractional, interim or project assignments. Miles is widely viewed as an expert on digital disruption, problem-solving, and business transformation. He is a highly sought after speaker, consultant, and writer. Miles has significant business experience as a Fortune 50 CIO, ASX 10 CISO, and seasoned private equity leader in CEO and COO roles across several diverse industries. 



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