January 14, 2021

by Mike Campbell, Head of International Effectiveness

The proliferation and rising popularity of a myriad of digital channels over the past decade has made the measurement of media effectiveness increasingly complex.

Over the next 10 years, we’ll begin to see a real shift to an effectiveness-led media planning strategy, incorporating both online and offline channels. As we likely head into a recession at the start of the decade, we’ll see a greater demand for, and investment in, analytics – something that traditionally happens during times of uncertainty.

Typically, most media agencies, and therefore advertisers, have focused on audience-led advertising. But as we see a renewed focus on media effectiveness, brands and their media agencies will begin to consider which media channels are the most valuable and how that effects strategy.

There are a number of things that need to be considered about a potential new target audience to make marketing truly effective.

Does the existing audience consume the same? If so, how do you best balance spend between the current core buyers and your new target? Consider an old-fashioned retailer with an average age of current customers being in their sixties, how can you best reach them?

The obvious answer is mass analogue media and not digital. But if your new target is much younger then you need to be diverting investment into new (potentially digital) channels. The big question is now how much investment behind current and new target consumers and ultimately what does this mean for your marketing mix?

Building the right team

Although the past decade has seen a shift towards in-house teams – developing internal planning capabilities and digital offerings – the next decade is likely to see the reverse in the name of effectiveness. Internal teams create a pressure for the business to fully utilise those teams to reduce costs, but this can bring its own inefficiencies if the internal teams then plan and buy too much of the media channels they control.

As we head towards 2030, brands that are truly taking an effectiveness-led approach to the marketing mix will increasingly look outside their own organisations for the skills needed to make the best campaigns and understand the data.

The million-pound question

As budgets constrict in the next few years, there becomes a greater need to qualify investments and to calculate the most efficient and effective marketing mix. This is where we’ll see effectiveness take the lead in planning. Data provides the insights that are needed to truly understand the value of the current marketing mix, as well as making forward-looking decisions.

For example, it is often wrongly assumed that to increase ecommerce, the most effective marketing channels will also be digital. However, you only have to look at some of the largest online-only brands to see how much they are investing in offline advertising to understand that digital channels aren’t necessarily the most effective option.

Data-driven effectiveness

We’ll also likely see many companies fall at the first hurdle as they all rush to implement analytics, without considering the wider picture.

True success will be reliant on having the right analytics framework in place – and we’ll see some agencies and brands excel at this in the next decade, while others continue to struggle.

The digital media dream of catching the right people at the right time and right place doesn’t always translate to the end goal of improved ROI. As this realisation sinks in, we’ll see a push for data to be combined to provide the context needed to fully understand the value of the marketing mix.

 

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