Era of Adaptation – Future Forward Strategies For Brands of All Sizes

Nielsen recently released their Annual Marketing Report, and the themes focused on performance-based media and how to measure it. While they mentioned that we are slowly moving forward, we must ask ourselves—are we really? Below are some highlights from the report:

Smaller Budgets, More Targeting

As budgets shrank in 2020, advertisers chose to tailor their experiences more and more. Top marketing tactics employed in 2020 include:

  • Audience Targeting
  • Personalization
  • Path-to-Purchase message sequencing

Turning the pandemic corner and moving into 2021, all marketers surveyed listed Customer Acquisition as their top objective.

Real-time Reallocation Response Is Critical

  • Smaller advertisers anticipate a 31% increase in investment dedicated to marketing technology, while large advertisers anticipate a 46% increase.

 Companies with agile marketing principles and strong tech are best suited to navigate the inefficiencies caused by COVID-19. Companies with larger budgets (and historically more diverse marketing mixes) adapted with more success.

If ever there was a time for robust media attribution measurement – it was 2020. One marketer said “We cut all programs that were not showing immediate benefits.”

Its Time to Re-Think Omnichannel

  • 65% of advertisers plan to spend more in digital video, but 75% of those marketers are not sure how to accurately measure ROI.

Marketers list customer acquisition and attribution clarity as main objectives, dictating significant investment in platforms providing real-time metrics. Social, search, and video (online, mobile) should continue to see an uptick. Print, out of home, direct mail and cinema – channels that don’t readily lend themselves to ROI measurement—most likely will see a decrease in spend.

CTV and Addressable are Budding Opportunities

  • Adults 18+, on average, spend 4+ hours daily watching live and time-shifted TV programming, and advancements in addressable advertising can facilitate personalized, targeted experiences.

CTV exploded during the pandemic, but marketers shared a range of challenges to adapt to this trend. The key roadblocks are knowledge gaps and organizational challenges. Larger companies are often first to explore new technologies. Traditional TV is still valuable for impact within a full-funnel strategy.

Measurement is a Universal Challenge

Many are using 2020-2021 to rethink their approach, with one marketer saying “This year, we want to revisit all our messaging, our targeting, our personas. It’s time we find and leverage all the tools and techniques that work and discard those that don’t yield results.” Full-funnel measurement and Brand Awareness are universal concerns for most advertisers, and there is confusion around measuring unduplicated reach and frequency.

First Party Data is a Good Start, but it’s Not Enough

  • 86% of marketers from companies of all sizes recognize the importance of first-party data, despite their lack of confidence in their data overall.

As marketers focus on the entire consumer journey rather than the last click, multi-touch attribution solutions will be crucial in measuring all touch points along the journey.

Despite our insecurities as marketers, we all (large and small) struggle with similar measurement challenges and share a common thirst for activating “performance media”. There is a school of thought that we may never solve the attribution riddle, as privacy evolves.

The industry, as it always does, may innovate to meet these challenges. But if adaptation to MTA measurement lags, could we reverse evolution to move to a more general model of simply saying “business is up while we are live in these channels” realizing that we can’t evaluate every last impression equally and accurately?

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