Marketers Agree: Brands Have Over-Invested in Performance

December 11, 2019

The majority of CMOs and a fair number of others within the C-suite believe that marketing’s strategic focus is most often short-term. This is backed up by a new survey from WARC, which has found that marketers view this short-term outlook as a top issue in their industry.

Seven in 10 marketing and agency executives surveyed either agreed (38%) or strongly agreed (32%) that there has been over-investment in short-term, performance marketing at the expense of brand. In response, two-fifths (40%) say they expect to increase their investment in brand next year, compared to one-third (32%) who think they will increase their investment in performance.

Increasing investment in brand does have its benefits. A separate study from the CMO Survey found that as marketers increased their investment in their brand, brand value metrics have increased.

CX Most Important Element of Digital Transformation

Thinking in the longer term, brand trust has been shown to not only affect consumers’ decisions to buy a product but also whether consumers will stay loyal to a brand. Customer experience has a lot to do with this trust and likely as a result, half of the survey respondents say that customer experience will be the most important element of digital transformation for them or their client’s business in 2020.

Another element of digital transformation that will have more importance to respondents next year is the restructuring of marketing teams. About one-quarter (26%) of respondents and their clients believe this aspect will be most important to their business, compared to 16% in 2019. Part of this restructuring may involve deciding how they manage creative services. One-third (34%) of respondents say they will be bringing more creative services in-house in 2020, compared to one-quarter (25%) who say they will be outsourcing it more.

Data Privacy Vital

A full 87% of marketing and agency executives say that aspects of data such as privacy and consumer control are societal topics that are either quite (41%) or very (46%) important to their own or their client’s marketing strategy next year. As such, two in 5 (40%) respondents say that data organization and management will be an important element of digital transformation in the coming year.

Slightly more than half (52%) of respondents feel that advertising and marketing regulations will stay the same, while 45% believe they will become more strict in 2020. Although more than one-third (35% share) of respondents say they have a comprehensive, ethics-based, data protection strategy, another half (52% share) say that while they do have some data protection in place, they have plans for further provisions.

Other research shows that more than half of CMOs are confident in their ability to keep the promises they make to customers in regards to data privacy. But it’s not just their own companies respondents hold responsible for data privacy and protection. They also place some of the onus in the hands of tech companies, which they believe have dropped the ball: only 37% agree that digital platforms are taking the issue of brand safety seriously. The majority (86%) of respondents say that big tech firms should be subject to greater regulation.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of nearly 800 client and agency-side executives around the world following WARC’s STEIP (society, technology, economy, industry and policy) ‘drivers of change’ methodology.

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