Keith Dawson's Analyst Perspectives

The Potential of Marketing in 2021: The Market Agenda

Posted by Keith Dawson on Feb 27, 2021 5:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2021 market agenda in the expertise area of Marketing, continuing the guidance we have offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes.

Market Agenda Logo 2021 (1)

Chief Marketing Officers are under pressure to spearhead technology investments that better align marketing experiences with their brand and optimize consumer demand for products and services. This challenge is frequently heightened by a lack of both centralized data related to customers and products that help organizations meet operational and analytics needs. Organizations need a marketing-data platform that connects applications and services; however, marketing organizations often lack awareness of the options.


To help, we craft our market agenda using our firm’s expertise on business requirements and our knowledge of technology vendors and products. Through our continuous market research, we offer insights and best practices to both lines of business and IT as well as insights across industry verticals that will help any organization reach its maximum potential. We assert that by the end of 2023, one-third of organizations will deem existing marketing technologies ineffective to intelligently engage buyers for personalized digital experiences.

Focusing on improving digital experiences will accelerate consumer engagement and, potentially, demand. Another challenge for CMOs and B2B marketing organizations is the surge in adoption of account-based marketing. This approach is good in spirit but has fallen short of its potential because often it has not been well-aligned with sales organization priorities.

Marketing maximizes brand value, as well as market demand and reach, through the use of digital technologies. Our Marketing expertise encompasses six focus areas: Digital Marketing, Intelligent Marketing, Conversational Marketing, Product Information Management, Digital Experience Platforms, and Marketing Performance Management.

Digital Marketing

New opportunities around the digital marketing of products and services are transforming organizations’ priorities and investments as emerging tools and technologies enable a more effective focus on attracting and engaging customers. Radical shifts in marketing technology have forced organizations to focus on digital effectiveness. Social media and analytics focused on PPC and SEO have helped optimize targeting and increase demand generation and inbound marketing. This year, we will conduct Dynamic Insights research on the challenges, and potential, of digital marketing.

Intelligent Marketing


Intelligent Marketing seeks to optimize marketing using insights gained through analytics and machine learning. Organizations are beginning to address marketing planning and performance efforts in a more concerted manner. We see organizations shifting to predictive and ML techniques to optimize marketing processes and performance; this, increasingly, will be a requirement to be effective. We assert that by 2025, over one-half of marketing organizations will deploy personalization and action-focused interactions as the primary means of engagement in a new generation of intelligent workflows. Predictive marketing and artificial intelligence technologies can help optimize actions and results, but these efforts must be aligned to the goals of the organization. We will conduct new Benchmark Research this year to assess demand for smarter and more intelligent marketing.

Conversational Marketing

Conversational Marketing intelligently automates marketing-related processes and customer interactions through voice and chat capabilities. Digital technologies are advancing marketing potential and improving performance by enhancing engagement. Conversational computing is transforming customer engagement and many organizations will need to renovate their digital platforms to optimize customer and product experiences or risk lagging behind competitors. Organizations must make new investments to automate and optimize marketing actions and should look for more digitally effective methods to interact with applications. We will conduct new Benchmark Research this year to assess the demand for conversational marketing.

Product Information Management

Product Information Management (PIM) is technology that enables organizations to improve product experiences by offering consistent management of product and related information to improve experiences for consumers and across the business. Marketing organizations are modernizing PIM to support digital experiences across the product lifecycle. The transition to the cloud will speed the return on products’ value and intensify the imperative for organizations to provide excellent product experiences. Also, ML and robotic process automation are improving product information quality by identifying issues and opportunities for improvement. In 2021, we will identify best practices and assess and rate technology vendors’ potential to help meet emerging PIM needs.

Digital Experience Platforms


Digital eXperience Platforms (DXPs) are tools used by marketers and service teams to create and track customer interactions that primarily occur through new, digital-contact channels. Digital customer-contact channels are increasing in popularity and usage, with web portals, mobile apps and social media beginning to rival voice calls. We assert that by 2022, one-quarter of marketing organizations will have adopted a digital experience platform (DXP) to increase the effectiveness of personalized interactions for optimal marketing results. Organizations should think about how consolidating their marketing communications applications into a digital-experience platform can improve operations and potentially rein in costs.

Marketing Performance Management

Marketing Performance Management is a set of tools used to assess the success of campaigns and of marketing efforts in general. More than basic marketing analytics, MPM looks at the overall resource allocations and provides insights to optimize efforts across audiences, campaigns and teams. It is a way for marketers to measure the ROI of the efforts they put into their programs, functioning as a core operational tool for running a marketing organization.

Looking across the marketing landscape, it is clear that while many marketing organizations are making one-off investments, it is important to select investments that are aligned with the organization’s overall digital experience needs and its market-facing efforts. Our guidance for 2021 is designed to help these organizations develop winning strategies and determine the best investments to achieve desired outcomes.

Subscribe to our Ventana Research community to stay up-to-date on our 2021 research efforts. Check out the marketing topic and focus pages for our detailed market agenda and continuously updated 90-day calendar as well as more research facts and best practices.



Topics: Marketing, Marketing Performance Management, Product Information Management, Digital Marketing, intelligent marketing, Conversational Marketing, Digital Experience Platform

Keith Dawson

Written by Keith Dawson

Keith leads the expertise in Customer Experience (CX), covering applications and technology that facilitate engagement to optimize customer-facing processes. His focus areas include: agent management, contact center and voice of the customer and technology in marketing, sales, field service and applications such as digital commerce and subscription management. Keith’s specialization is in natural language and speech tools with intelligent virtual assistants, multichannel routing and journey management, and the wide array of customer analytics. He is focused on how businesses can break down technology and operational silos to provide more efficient processes for two-way engagement with customers. Keith has been an industry analyst for more than a decade and prior was the editorial director of Call Center Magazine. There he pioneered coverage of cloud-based contact centers, speech recognition and processing, and the shift from voice to multichannel communications. He is a graduate of Amherst College.