There has never been a more dynamic and challenging time to be a marketer. Since the advent of the internet, fueled by available high-speed broadband and ignited by the proliferation of smartphones, marketers have more access to consumers than ever before. We are awash in data and should be living in a nirvana of actionable insights.
The reality, however, seems disconnected from this promise. Over the last 18 months, some of the largest and most influential advertisers in the world have spoken up about their concerns with digital advertising, calling the supply chain “broken” and pointing to high incidence of fraud and lack of brand safety. Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services are decreasing reach of traditional marketing mediums like TV and radio. The launch of GDPR in the European Union and related privacy challenges have added complexity to the collection and management of consumer data. Combine this with changing consumer preferences and zero-based budgeting and it’s clear that the job of the CMO has become a more delicate and dangerous catwalk.
At Nielsen, our job is to provide the science behind what’s next. So we kicked off the first in an annual series of CMO reports with a focus on global brand advertising and a simple goal: to learn from and give voice to how brand advertisers are navigating today’s marketing environment. And do to it, we applied a quantitative approach to gathering the voice of the CMO (e.g. an in-depth survey and one-on-one interviews) to understand what’s happening now and get a sense of “what’s next.” I’ll leave our detailed findings to the report, but overall, we came away with a sense that we are in the midst of a slow but inevitable change—an evolution, not a revolution. Marketers are leaning into the data, tools and capabilities available today. And while they do not always deliver as hoped, their willingness to invest and experiment—while incorporating the tried and true—continues.