Four theses: What the future holds for marketing

From storytelling to chatbots: CMOs and CDOs reveal what will be important in marketing.

Four theses: What the future holds for marketing
Philipp Markmann, CMO, L´Oréal Deutschland

1: Storytelling for top consumer target groups

Delivering the right message at the right time: L´Oréal is confident that the digital revolution is first and foremost a consumer revolution. “Our first priority is to offer consumers messages that resonate strongly with their interests and needs at the right time.” Instead of focusing on mass in socio-demographic target groups, CMO Philipp Markmann banks on storytelling tailored closely to the audience in question. Thanks to digitalization and the amount of data associated with this, the CMO knows a great deal about customer needs. “We gear ourselves 100 percent towards the consumer. The insights we have about our consumers are translated into data-driven plans for the individual departments.”

2: Chatbots will become the first point of contact in the customer journey

For T-Systems, the focus is on the customer’s points of contact. “We are currently experiencing a real storm of innovation, the end of which is not in sight,” says Sven Krüger, CMO of the Telekom subsidiary. “The new possibilities offered by technology affect almost all business models.” Customers have not only changed their expectations, but increasingly their behavior, too. Equipped with smart devices, they are connected with the inexhaustible possibilities of the Internet wherever they go. This is also changing the course of their customer journey substantially. According to Krüger, marketers have to adapt to this and take a holistic view of the customer journey. Digital should be integrated more than before. With chatbots, the next revolution in the customer journey is already just around the corner: “Chatbots are the killer app because they are consistently becoming the first point of contact and redefining the automation of customer contact.”

3: Encourage exchange, look for partners

For Henkel, the digital transformation is on the 2020 agenda – not only for marketing, but for all units of the FMCG company. Chief Digital Officer Rahmyn Kress is banking on partnerships. “With the open innovation platform HenkelX, we are driving digital transformation forward,” he explains. This centers on a mentorship program that motivates employees to work with industry drivers, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Once a month there is a “Show & Tell” event, which brings together start-ups and other industry players to hear new, innovative approaches. These are then to find their way into day-to-day business.

4: Keeping a cool head

AR, VR, AI and chatbots – in recent years literally every new craze has been put in the marketing arena. That’s a good thing, because the trends have to be discussed and tried out. Not always in major “open heart” surgery, but in small field tests. Then it becomes clear quickly and without burning much money whether a technology is any good or not. Kirsten Brückner, CMO at, advises keeping a cool head: “In view of the many new trends, we must be able to integrate all communication channels intelligently.” What counts in the end is that consumers are met where they are and at the right time. Consistency and relevance in the messages helps: “The brand is a company asset that must be well managed by marketing to continuously generate added value.”