This 11th edition of The Marketer’s Toolkit brings together insights from a survey of 1,500 marketing executives, one-to-one interviews with more than 25 leading chief marketing officers, and a review of Warc’s latest proprietary research, best practice guides and case studies.
Providing marketers with a set of planning and decision-making tools for the coming year, the report is built around six key drivers of change - society, technology, economy, policy, industry and creativity.
Aditya Kishore, insight director, Warc, said, “Far from signalling a return to normal, the opening up of economies has only created a new set of challenges for marketers. Attitudes, behaviours and market structures have resulted in significant change during the pandemic, and a huge 97% of respondents to our proprietary survey believe changes to consumer behaviour will impact strategies in 2022.”
With vaccination rates rising in many countries, many parts of the world are starting to see a return to normal. However, even in these markets, consumers are rethinking and evaluating lifestyles, resulting in different behaviours, preferences and buying patterns. Marketers can benefit from these changes if they carefully adjust their strategies for this inconsistent and incomplete return to ‘normal’.
Social and environmental practices are becoming more important. Consumers are spending more time at home and becoming more concerned about their local surroundings. Personal and family health and wellness are being prioritised. Customer journeys are more complicated as consumers switch between digital and in-store channels.
73% of brand owners in Warc’s industry survey felt changes in consumer behaviours would have a significant impact on strategies for 2022. Another 24% felt these changes would have at least some impact - totalling 97% of all respondents.
Pete Markey, CMO, Boots, said, “The big lesson, I think, has been around strengthening our digital presence: investing behind that to be there when people need it the most, and also using the physical presence to provide the extra depth of interaction and a level of customer experience that I think only an in-store [environment] can really offer.”
Sustainability is increasingly becoming an important priority for organisations. With consumers holding brands up to scrutiny on their record, brands will have to ensure that they deliver not only on traditional growth metrics but also on a clearly identified framework for sustainable practices.
The ‘double bottom line’ - valuing profit and the planet - is now a reality for 46% of survey respondents who say they afford the environment and financial growth equal importance. Actions include changing manufacturing, packaging and distribution, making public commitments they will be accountable for, and encouraging green consumer behaviours in their messaging.
58% of participants agreed sustainability and purpose initiatives ought to be distinct, but there is still work to be done on measurement with 25% of respondents viewing sustainability as a “general goal” rather than using specific metrics.
Martha Velando, CMO, DeBeers, said, “Today, consumers expect brands to do what they say, have the right values, and be able to tangibly show what they're doing to make a positive impact in communities and on the environment. It's our duty to be true to our word, and to make sure that we find the right mechanisms to show the progress we're making towards those goals.”
Advertising measurement is in a state of unprecedented flux as a result of increased privacy regulation, the end of third-party cookies by Google and Apple’s opt-in to ad tracking.
The third-party data slowdown means marketers are exploring new advertising metrics, particularly more probabilistic measures, which could blur boundaries between short- and long-term measures of advertising.
Over half (52%) of those surveyed by Warc said they are looking to find “new measures of effectiveness”, while 42% acknowledge the need to invest in new technologies to measure audiences.
As advertisers focus on converting target audiences, more than half (54%) of respondents now view market penetration/customer gain as the most important barometer of marketing effectiveness, up from 44% last year.
Charisse Hughes, SVP/Global chief marketing officer of The Kellogg Company, said, “Probably the best way that we've been much more advanced is in our data and analytics, and because we have such rich data and analytics – we’re on this journey with our first-party data – I think we're able to test learn, adapt, and adjust our messaging much faster than we ever thought we could.”
Content creators on social media are increasingly becoming empowered, as their followings become important to enabling platforms.
As livestreaming and other combinations of social entertainment and digital commerce become more important, brands will have real opportunities in this space if they can find effective ways to work with these creators.
75% of brands in the Warc survey plan to increase spending, leveraging the power of creators to sell via livestreams and shoppable media.
Doug Frisbie, VP - Global Business Marketing, Snap, Inc., said, “The difference now is that creators have platforms and creative tools that allow them to reach a unique audience of customers in a way that resonates more than traditional marketing would. The industry is starting to recognise that we need to ensure that creators can build thriving businesses as part of the marketing ecosystem.”
Increased budgets are going into e-commerce, creating new opportunities to optimise brands for an e-commerce environment. This is creating a need for alignment (and in some cases integration) of marketing and e-commerce teams. This could result in a potential clash of cultures, but also presents an opportunity for marketers to play a broader role if they can identify the right strategic balance.
In the Marketer’s Toolkit survey, 78% of respondents expect to spend more on e-commerce and 25% are adopting an integrated approach by merging e-commerce and digital branding teams.
Suzy Deering, global chief marketing officer, Ford, said, “As our cars are more and more connected, the way that we think about e-commerce shifts pretty dramatically, because it's not just about the purchase at that point; it's about the lifelong relationship that we're going to build with a customer that really creates more everyday interactions.”
A complimentary copy of the global report, including full trend analysis, CMO commentary, case studies and proprietary survey data, is available to read here.