With a new year just over the horizon, biz and comms execs are preparing to face the changes ahead—and hoping to get a strategic jump on some of the key issues. Considering the wild election-charged year in store, execs are naturally nervous about how the market—and the world—will shake out in the aftermath.

With that in mind, research and advisory firm Forrester has released its new report, Predictions 2020, identifying key market dynamics that will impact companies’ growth in the coming year.

2020 will be the year that moves leaders’ attention to adaptability—the ability to understand and anticipate market dynamics, and rapidly exploit opportunities, both big and small. Factors like heightened values-based consumer activism; the lack of clarity around Brexit; automation, Artificial Intelligence and robotics moving deeper into the organization; and recessionary fears due to sociopolitical uncertainty will make 2020 a raucous year, forcing leaders to embrace adaptability.

The report’s forecasts:

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

Companies will need to pay careful attention to authenticity—both in the values they choose to express and how they express them. The results will be mixed. Some companies will provoke ire by making surface-level commitments. Others will misjudge how to best express values. Companies that do succeed will co-create values-driven experiences with customers and employees.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

To establish a successful ecosystem, CMOs must find a way to thread the needle between employee experience, customer experience, brand purpose, creative, and technology—imbuing all these crucial areas with customer obsession.Smart CMOs will begin pulling back on strategies that drive short-term gains at the expense of customer affinity, including dark patterns—design patterns that manipulate customers against their own interests. Meanwhile, spend will flow back into creative as the

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

Smart CIOs will become trusted advisors and partners to employee experience and HR teams to help with changing workforce dynamics, including working with new emerging technologies or interacting with robots.And they will actively work to ready their firms for automation (and all of the technologies the term encapsulates) to minimize growing pains and truly unlock the power of their digital transformation.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

IT will need to follow the broader organizational future of matrixed, shape-shifting organizations that form and morph to changing priorities.One such challenge is islands of automation. Eighty percent of enterprises will recognize the threat of automation islands and determine that they are no longer sustainable.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

Firms that have made the least headway just might cut their programs in frustration. Meanwhile, companies that have started realizing the benefits of CX will double-down, simultaneously shoring up their fundamentals and innovating.While one in four CX professionals will lose their job, the number of CX executives will paradoxically grow by 25 percent.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

2020 will be a wake-up year for many, as the total cost of getting data wrong will become apparent.Enterprises looking to push more into the cloud and exploit edge computing are staring at a new reality where the transactional cost of data processing and movement will outstrip storage, and advanced firms will double their data strategy budget.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

In 2020, ransomware incidents are sure to grow, as attackers learn that holding data hostage is a quick path to monetization. AI technologies like natural language generation and video AI will be used to generate fake audio and video designed to fool users.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

Marketers will no longer be able to rely on aggregated third-party data to target consumers. As a result, marketers are expected to move away from laborious and often-unwanted personalization efforts. Instead, they’ll seek to authentically connect with customers through group-targeted experiences.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

Automation is poised to change the composition of the job market and raise global economic issues of income distribution and wage stagnation. But very few firms have invested in prepping employees for the future of work—what it means to be working with, alongside, and potentially for automation.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

Regulatory bodies such as the UK’s ICO and the Federal Trade Commission will gain steam, impacting and shaping markets, in a very real way, in 2020. Regulators will also take action against firms using dark patterns, which will earn several brands fines, remediation, and bad press.

11 huge changes await businesses in 2020—Forrester’s eye-opening report reveals all

In 2020, venture capitalists will increase their scrutiny of startups.Overall VC funding will plateau, but not every market will fall flat. The blockchain bubble will burst, an early victim of the mindset shift in Silicon Valley. Despite high levels of investment, the world of blockchain (and especially cryptocurrency) remains highly speculative.

Download Forrester’s complete report here.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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