WARC, the global authority on advertising and media effectiveness, has released Marketer’s Toolkit 2019, an annual report outlining the priorities of, and challenges facing, brands in the year ahead – as well as guidance on how to meet them.
The report is centred on a survey of more than 800 senior marketing and advertising professionals from around the world and takes an in-depth look at strategic priorities, technology and media challenges.
Also included are interviews with nine leading marketers, such as Fernando Machado (Burger King), Freddie Covington (APAC Visa), Mark Evans (Direct Line) and Lisa Ronson (Tourism Australia) as well as examples, best practice guidance and a round-up of what this all means for brands, media owners and agencies.
Major insights highlighted in WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2019 are:
Strategic Priorities: ‘Experience’ will drive the marketing agenda, and shape tech investment
Marketers see improved customer experience – both online and offline – as key to kick-starting growth and restoring trust in brands. In particular, they are responding to disruption of their categories by so-called ‘direct-to-consumer’ brands. This agenda means tech investment is focused on data, and in particular how data and machine learning can be used to drive relevance and personalisation in communications.
WARC key data: 61% of agencies and 52% of brands cited CX as the most important digital transformation for business in 2019. Only 15% of brands say their CX is aligned across channels.
Jalin Wu, Chief Marketing Officer, Uniqlo China, says: “Always go back to understand the customer. The customer is our need. We are not just presenting ourselves as apparel, we are presenting ourselves as a solution for people to have a better life.”
Technology: Voice and payment tech are gaining traction, but there is less interest in AR and VR
Compared with the results of last year’s Toolkit survey, there is more interest among marketers in voice – principally, voice search – and also more interest in payment technology as brands look to expand in eCommerce. There is less interest in areas such as augmented and virtual reality, where arguably there is still need for a ‘killer’ marketing application.
WARC key data: 29% of brands named voice as a priority for 2019, up 12 percentage points from last year’s survey; 23% named AR/VR, down 13 points.
Lisa Ronson, Chief Marketing Officer, Tourism Australia, says: “Like most big marketers and advertisers, we’re looking at the role of voice and how we can continually make that user experience a whole lot better.”
Media: Video and search platforms are set to benefit from spending shift
Video, search and mobile are set to see continued growth in marketing investment. Instagram and YouTube are set to benefit from the shift to video (though marketers appear to be cooling on Snapchat). Marketers also appear to welcome the emergence of Amazon as a search platform, with a majority planning to increase spend on the e-commerce site.
WARC key data: 79% of marketers expect to increase their online video budgets; 69% plan to increase spend on Amazon.
Summing up, David Tiltman, Head of Content, WARC, says: “The Toolkit reports of the last two years have been dominated by technology trends; 2019 feels different. It feels like a year of getting the fundamentals right, and using tech where necessary to achieve that end. Brands clearly view ‘experience’ as a form of competitive advantage – and the tech that can help them improve customer experience across channels is being prioritised.”