2017 is expected to be the year that influencers of the C-suite matter. Josh Steimle, author and CMO, predicted that companies will turn to popular business authors, speakers, podcasters, and executives who have built large and engaged followings and offer them freebies to hawk everything from invoicing software to consulting services (see prediction here).
So who are the top influencers of CMOs? To find out, I turned to Leadtail, a leading social media insights research company, who tracks over 1,300 North American CMOs who are active on Twitter and analyzed over 680,000 tweets published by these CMOs during calendar year 2016. The analysis included unique hashtags, links shared, mentions, replies, and retweets. The following includes: 1) the list of top influencers, 2) the hot topics CMOs are talking about, and 3) predictions from some of the influencers regarding the topics CMOs will be most interested in 2017.
The Top 20 Influencers of CMOs
The top influencers of CMOs are a combination of C-level executives, authors, and professional speakers. The methods used to create impact vary across the influencers. As Carter Hostelley, CEO of Leadtail indicates, there are four general paths that top influencers use: 1) leverage insight gained from their position (e.g., @BrianSolis is a principal analyst at a Prophet company), 2) leverage domain expertise about a specific topic (e.g., @chiefmartec tweets extensively about MarTech), 3) create and curate compelling content (@JayBaer who writes about CMO-related issues), and 4) build influence through engaging everyone (@TedRubin and @TamaraMcCleary). Typically, the most influential use some combination of these different approaches.
The Top Topics CMOs Talked About in 2016
What are the top topics most shared among CMOs? The usual hashtags are among the favorites (e.g. #Marketing, #SocialMedia, #BigData). However, in addition to event related hashtags (e.g. #Olympics, #Brexit, #DebateNight, etc.) and phenomena (e.g. #PokemonGo) there are some that became much more important in 2016 relative to 2015: #AI, #Innovation, #VR, #Digital, and #CX. These represent some of the hottest, “new” topics that are increasingly important to CMOs.
What the Influencers Predict Will be the Hot Topics CMOs Talk About in 2017
1. CMOs will Continue Focusing on Leveraging Technology to Build More Human Brands (@TamaraMcCleary). In destination digital, CMOs in 2017 will harness the power of technology to increase the human feel of their brands. What I’m seeing from the companies I work with is a return to building a deeper level of engagement with customers through high-tech tools. Savvy brands are looking to AI and big data analytics to support them in owning the customer journey.
2. AI will become a Priority for Marketers (@KimWhitler). Artificial Intelligence will begin to take prominence as CMOs across industries think about how to leverage AI for everything from decision making to creating better customer experiences. While AI is well known for advising medical procedures and helping other functions make decisions, 2017 will be that year that marketers learn how to embrace AI to make better decisions regarding media, content, pricing, and innovation.
3. Marketers will Leverage Technology to help Drive Digital Transformation (@ChiefMartec): Marketing technology management has become a core discipline for the modern marketing organization. In 2017, marketers will be leveraging that foundation to contribute to the digital transformation of the entire firm – including the roll out of new kinds of digital customer touchpoints, such as chatbots and virtual reality content.
4. Social will Incorporate Live Video (@BryanKramer). Social with the main attraction of live video this last year will finally settle into itself and we will begin to see more business use cases. Video content will also continue to target based on deeper video analytics enabling a much higher level of personalization. Our definition of entertainment will share air time with more online channels. And the dichotomy of all these areas will share the spotlight with the newest up at bat…virtual reality. VR will steadily step into our lives and will quickly grow as a brand new marketing channel.
5. CMOs will Continue to Prioritize Consumer Experience Design and Management (@ValaAfshar). In the age of the connected customer, where personalization, immediacy, and intelligence are the currencies of success for both consumers and business buyers, marketing organizations will lean into the technology and recognize that customer experience is the new battle ground for competitive differentiation. In 2017, digital savvy marketers must focus on three important marketing initiatives: customer journeys, precision marketing powered by CRM platform, and intelligent sales and marketing alignment.
6. Live Streaming + All Content = Increased Sharing (@TedRubin). What I see being huge heading into 2017 is live streaming, and the ability to share all video, AND “all content,” in so many more ways, via more apps, with story-telling and engagement at the core. You need to try these platforms. You need to jump in. You need to see how you can tell stories, create narratives, build relationships, communicate with consumers, and create learning for your organization. And CMOs cannot simply stand on the sidelines, they need to truly understand what is happening and how best to leverage. Why do I think it’s gonna be huge? Not because I’m using it or Millennials and GenZ are using it…it’s because it’s making video social. Because they’re not just streaming what’s happening live. They’re allowing you to engage with those streams…you are now able to be a part of the conversation.
Join the Discussion: @KimWhitler #CMOInfluencers
Methodology: Leadtail analyzed 682,135 public tweets from its panel of 1,372 CMOs that were active on Twitter in 2016. We ranked the results by calculating the number of unique panelists that mentioned or retweeted a given handle in the report period. Where ties existed, we broke them using the gross number of times a handle was mentioned or retweeted by our panelists in the report period.
This article was written by Kimberly A. Whitler from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.