Marketing Company news South Africa

The future of marketing in the AI era

In a recent discussion, Toby Jenner, CEO of Wavemaker Global, and Ruth Stubbs, CEO of Wavemaker EMEA, shared their insights on the rapidly evolving marketing and communication landscape. They also looked at the implications of AI and the unique challenges of the media environment across the region.

“Even though I only have anecdotal growth of retail media across the EMEA region, we should be looking at 15% of total global ad spend over the next three years. Retail media is not just a lower-funnel tactic but a dynamic, full-funnel solution, reflecting a significant shift in budget allocations and strategic planning,” says Jenner.

According to Stubbs, the confluence of social and commerce is transforming social platforms into retail destinations. “The US is playing a pioneering role in this domain and companies are finding innovative ways to use data and technology to optimise social shopping experiences. For example, the collaboration between Meta and Amazon has been pivotal development, enabling seamless shopping from platforms like Instagram directly to Amazon,” says Stubbs.

Both Jenner and Stubbs agreed on the ongoing importance of data in client conversations. For Stubbs, the need for a data-agnostic approach, integrating various data types to achieve specific objectives is especially important. This strategy is crucial against the backdrop of increasing privacy legislation and the introduction of technologies like Google's privacy sandbox.

Toby Jenner, CEO of Wavemaker Global
Toby Jenner, CEO of Wavemaker Global

“There is a need to reset media fundamentals in the face of changing consumer behaviours. This is especially the case when it comes to TV viewership. Scenario planning becomes critical in this regard. With fewer people watching linear TV, challenges emerge around its effectiveness while still managing the high costs associated with this platform compared to alternative options. The use of AI-driven tools like Architect for scenario planning can be a solution to this by providing users with more targeted and efficient reach strategies,” says Jenner.

The role of AI in transforming marketing cannot be ignored.

Jenner believes the integration of AI in search strategies and its impact on traffic, visibility, and credibility will become critical. Meanwhile, Stubbs feels that AI is revolutionising the way brands interact with consumers. For example, the Royal Navy’s recruitment assistant and synthetic voice IA for L’Oreal.

“Even so, there is a need to mitigate challenges arising from economic issues and audience proliferation. It is important to embrace new solutions, measure all aspects of campaigns, and value data not just for efficiency but also for impact. In today’s cancel culture, it is vital to focus on brand values and social responsibility. For our part, Wavemaker has been committed to creating awareness of diverse communities through impactful campaigns like Colgate's Change Please in the UK,” says Stubbs.

Ruth Stubbs, CEO of Wavemaker EMEA
Ruth Stubbs, CEO of Wavemaker EMEA

Both Jenner and Stubbs believe that AI is changing the nature of marketing jobs. They feel that it has become deeply embedded into back-office productivity tools and client communication processes. Marketers must embrace AI, highlighting its potential to create new roles and enhance engagement effectiveness.

The marketing industry will see AI and data-driven strategies become central to success. But it comes down to being willing to adapt to and thrive in an ever-evolving digital landscape while leveraging innovative technology with strategic human insights.

Stubbs said: “AI is not just about liberating our workforce from mundane tasks, it has the potential to empower them with new ideas and possibilities. It is a magnificent tool, but let’s not forget, we’ll always need human creativity in the mix. Instead of replacing them, AI can help our people focus on what really matters – channeling their creativity to generate exceptional work for our clients. Finding the right blend of art and science is an essential part of making the most of any new technology.”

Wavemaker remains at the forefront of this transformative era in marketing, harnessing the power of AI and data-driven insights to redefine the landscape. The company’s commitment to adapting and thriving in this ever-evolving environment, coupled with its focus on impactful campaigns positions it uniquely to help brands navigate these changes.

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