Complex Made Simple

Marketing in the 21st century: What’s in? What’s out?

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 access and ignited by the proliferation of powerful new devices, marketers have more access to consumers than ever before. We’re awash in data and should be living in a nirvana of actionable insights.

The reality, however, seems disconnected from this promise.


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“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,” says Brett House, VP Product Marketing and Strategy.

Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services are affecting the reach of traditional marketing mediums like TV and radio, and the launch of GDPR in the European Union and related privacy challenges have added complexity to the collection and management of consumer data, he says.

Combine these 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.

The Nielsen CMO Report 2018, talks about how brand advertisers are navigating today’s marketing environment.

The report makes it clear that we are in the midst of a slow but inevitable change — an evolution, not a revolution. Marketers in the U.S. are leaning into the data, tools and capabilities available today.

And while they don’t always deliver as hoped, their willingness to invest and experiment—while incorporating the tried and true — continues.


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When asked to rank the perceived importance and effectiveness of digital media channels, marketers placed search and social channels at the top of the list.

Television continues to hold its own as the highest ranked traditional media channel across perceived importance and effectiveness measures, as per the Nielsen CMO Report 2018.

CMOs also reflected on a critical piece of the marketing mix, trade spend (e.g., in-store discounts, coupons, special offers, etc.).


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They voiced a desire for a unified approach to trade and media strategy in order to correctly allocate spend ratios.

That said, there was no unanimity in planned trade investment going forward: 44% of respondents expect no change over the next 12 months, while 34% say they will increase and 22% say they will decrease their investment in trade promotions, the Nielsen CMO Report 2018 adds.