Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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2018: A year of forces pulling in opposite directions

  1. Digital passed TV in share of ad dollars. Mobile alone is almost as large as TV. And digital is bought totally differently from linear TV or magazines…over 80% is placed programmatically…real time targeting of segments and moments…DATA-DRIVEN.
  2. The rise of retailers as MarTech. As I predicted, Amazon is reported to have become #3 in US digital ad revenues. And other retailers such as Walmart and Ali Baba are right behind.
  3. TV is moving towards addressable.  My sources tell me that addressable TV ad calls are up SEVEN-FOLD vs. last year.
  4. Mobile now accounts for 40% of online sales, growing 20-25% per year, so consumers are transitioning out of the “shop on phone but buy on desktop” pattern.
  5. AI and machine learning is giving vast amounts of data meaning and actionability. In fact, AI is everywhere…in Alexa, chatbots, (re)ordering suggestions, etc.
  6. GDPR (and the Cambridge Analytica mess) led to reduced data flows as publishers responded with more restrictive practices. This delivered body blows to MTA (needs linking of user level ad serving and conversions) and to 3rd party data (Facebook no longer allows targeting based on 3rd party data).
  7. Marketers are getting increasingly concerned about brand-building. Marketing effectiveness is mostly measured by short term, in-campaign results, encouraging greater emphasis on performance marketing tactics. Ad Age published an article questioning if Amazon is undermining brands by its featuring practices. For this reason, the MMA is setting up a major research project to understand the long-term performance effects of brand-building in order to level the playing field.

Four top priorities for 2019

Winning with data

With marketing going towards addressable tactics, there is nothing more important than getting a cogent data strategy in place (something most marketers still lack).  Main components of a data strategy are:

  • Unified IDs. Most marketers still do not have a unified ID backbone, instead using cookies which means multiple devices are usually not linked to a user and any user knowledge evaporates as cookies get refreshed.  Not good enough when there are options in the Ad Tech marketplace.
  • Amass needed data assets. Leverage first party data for ad serving as well as CRM, personalized to each customer’s stage in the relationship with your brand.  Constantly search for new data sources that can be productive throughout the Ad Tech ecosystem adding more scale to your programmatic reach.
  • Marketers would want visibility into Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. ad serving, Amazon and physical stores sales AT A USER LEVEL, but this data sharing will not be available.  There are aggregated data streams and independent data sources that can “see into” walled gardens, What is your strategy?
  • Mastering the science of targetable segments. You need to do something with the data and #1 is creating high performing segments. Nothing can turbo charge marketing ROI more than targeting (based on my white paper The Persuadables, up to 16X!), while driving new customer acquisition in smart ways (otherwise, a real sink hole, if done via mass marketing.)
  • Validate your data.  One example: some marketer-side analytics leaders have told me some MTA models using their own tagging systems can have 50% variances vs. ad server log files.  No one will believe an analysis that has such discrepancies. Develop a clear plan on what quantities need to reconcile and search for MTA providers that work best for you.

(I was lead author on a series of data strategy acceleration tools available to MMA members.)

Reinventing the brand marketing playbook

The media landscape is so different now. TV’s share of advertising is at its lowest levels in 30 years and is about to be passed by mobile. “Retailers as AdTech” is going to pass NBC-U in ad revenue in the next few years. The next great force in video advertising will be addressable OTT (led by Netflix?).  In light of all this, how can the brand building playbook stay the same? Marketers should begin experimenting…how can you build brands via mobile? How can you build brands via Amazon? (Yes, I DO believe this is possible).

Marketing research 2019 will have to battle its former self.

There really are 3 stages for marketing research value-add…describe why things are the way they are, predict the future, and make success happen. Most research is still locked in the description stage where all the data we use comes from the 20-minute survey!  Some descriptive research is needed but this is least valuable.  Even predicting the future is not enough.  You need to aim higher…deliver something that causes success to happen based on fully integrated data strategies (surveys and digital data). If you are still using descriptive brand tracking and segmentation research a year from now, you are failing the enterprise you serve.

Media planning needs to catch up to media practice

Media planning is still mostly about reach and frequency at efficient CPMs, based on profiling data.  This aligns to the old top down world and is a disconnect in today’s reality where 80% or more of digital display is placed programmatically. How will you evolve your media planning practices?

Fade to black…imagine it is December 2019.  How did you do?

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2 Responses to “Hot topics for 2018 and 4 top Marketing and Research priorities for 2019”

  1. Great article.. Agreed to most… Having worked for Nielsen… I am not sure the medium is the message applies as it once did… Top of mind brand recognition unaided?

    Still need less intrusive ways to gather VOC insights… Concerns that Big Data is missing the mark by itself… Still need customer reactions.. to predict future behavior…

    Thanks for sharing.