Marketing 2020 outlook: Data-driven, brand-building and balance

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 18 December 2019

Personalisation and shifting budgets were two of the biggest topics for marketers in 2019.

More than a buzzword, personalisation has taken over marketing and become the new norm with more customers expecting brands to connect with them on a personal level.

Marketers have more data than ever before and the tech to help them drive this personalisation at scale but it still needs some fine-tuning to ensure it doesn’t cross into the dangerous territory of being invasive and creepy.

In our final edition for 2019, AdNews spoke with CMOs about where they are spending their budgets.

Angela Tangas, now the CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network ANZ, told AdNews that “‘traditional’ advertising’s position in the marketing mix is at risk of becoming even more vulnerable.”

Up against finance and procurement teams, marketers are under the pump to present return-on-investment from their work.

The way they are doing this differs from business to business - some are in-housing more, others outsourcing, some are moving completely online and others are getting back to more traditional brand-building.

So, will personalisation and budgets continue to pervade marketing in the new year?

AdNews spoke to local marketers to see what they thought would be the biggest trends of 2020.

Audi Australia customer marketing officer Nikki Warburton
Brands with purpose will set the agenda for 2020 with a demand for authenticity and trust through a deeper understanding. Consumers want to be a part of the journey, be listened too and feel as if they are contributing to the bigger picture. Sustainability and climate control will be an underlying theme, which is evident through recent global movements such as the September #climatestrike. This movement saw over 2,500 Australian businesses and 300,000 activists band together, in the hope of building a more responsible community. In automotive, the switch to electric vehicles will redefine the industry in order to decrease CO2 emissions and reduce our carbon footprint.

Virgin Australia general manager of brand and marketing Michael Nearhos
The year of balance. I believe the year ahead must be about achieving strong outcomes by getting the balance right. Emotion + price content. Long-term + short-term outcomes. Mass reach + targeted channels. Marketers have more data than ever before. We can link creativity to commercials. As more brands build their own decision tools, like market mix models, to supplement our expert judgment, we can better understand how to drive success. While we have all the data and tech at our finger-tips, we can’t forget the most important element of all: human connection. It’s certainly what we are striving to do with Virgin Australia’s new brand platform Feel Good Flying.

Adobe managing director for Australia & New Zealand Suzanne Steele
These days, personalisation is key to an exceptional customer experience. True personalisation is about using data-driven marketing to serve the right message at the right time, without the barriers of data silos. Marketers have long been searching for a way to streamline data for a holistic view of the customer, and we will see more of them tackling this challenge in 2020. Marketers and companies that do this well will forge stronger connections with their customers, resulting in brand loyalty and growth.

Diageo Australia marketing director Andy Oughton
In 2020 we’ll continue to see Australians seeking more balance and connection in their lives including making mindful decisions about the products and brands they purchase. Brands that understand their role in creating and facilitating great consumer experiences. Brands that deliver against this motivation will thrive. As luxury brands become more accessible to everyone mass luxury will continue to grow as a segment with consumers prepared to spend a bit more for better. Digital disruption to the retail experience and its impact on and shortening of the path to purchase won’t slow down in 2020. Digital and technology will continue to re-shape the way consumers discover, experience and purchase brands, and as speed and convenience become the norm for Australian consumers, retail experience omnichannel strategies will be the key to success in 2020 and beyond.

Luxury Escapes chief customer officer Jason Shugg
Personalisation will move beyond a buzzword to become a crucial tool for brands to build connection or relevance. Technology is a great tool for enabling personalisation without compromising on brand. Savvy marketing leaders will invest in machine learning to support scalable and customised personalisation, connecting with the highest number of consumers in the most relevant of ways. When done well, personalisation will be particularly useful for internationally-focussed brands; if your brand can customise content based on a person’s behaviours and interests you’ll be better positioned to scale and grow while also gaining valuable local insights that can inform decision-making in market.

ABC head of marketing Jocelin Abbey
2020 will see brands that demonstrate true social responsibility will be the ones that best connect with consumers and audiences. Forrester predicts consumer decision-making to evolve with a higher priority placed on purpose-led values, with customers rewarding organisations who reflect similar ideals with an increased share of wallet. Linked to this will be the critical role that transparency plays in managing consumer data. As automation and AI integration evolves, and consumers continue to understand the value of their information, organisations have to adopt a proactive and ethical approach to managing and securing data to maintain brand trust.

Rakuten Marketing managing director of international Anthony Capano
Whilst economic, political and environment conditions are forecasted to yet again be turbulent, I remain optimistic working in the performance marketing industry. Ours is an industry viewed as a safe, secure and reliable marketing option, even in the most uncertain times and we will continue to see it gain popularity. Ongoing innovation in the reward and loyalty space are bridging the gap between online and offline, and as consumers continue to demand a seamless experience, more marketers will adopt O2O technologies. Connecting online and offline has always been a challenge but 2020 will see major advancements in this space.

Verizon Media director of brand and marketing Anny Havercroft
I believe 2020 will be the year that marketers can finally begin to activate a multi-channel campaign through digital means. This is a significant step forward towards more robust cross-channel planning, buying and reporting. Whilst the disparate elements have been coming together for some time, the digitisation of out-of-home inventory and TV ad buying have until now, been the missing part of the puzzle. These advances mean delivering genuine digitised multi-channel messaging should be within the grasp of most marketers. This will offer brands an opportunity to build more effective communications through a mixture of integrated data, platforms and creativity.

Lotame CMO Adam Solomon
No publisher (or marketer) is an island. The most used word in 2020 will be “partnership.” Brands and publishers are starting to come around to the notion that no one can afford to be an island and expect to compete. Publishers will begin to see each other as collaborators, whose connected and combined datasets can generate a greater return for their clients and themselves. The same will be true of brands and a growing openness to not just one partner but a range of partners who can collaborate and connect easily. One real example of this partnership-palooza will be around the notion of a 360 view of the consumer. In order to achieve that holistic view, you need to work with others who can round out what you know about your customers and fill in the gaps of what you don't know because of business limitations or consumer relationships.

Powership interim CEO Catherine Anderson
I believe we’ll see a continued return to simplicity driving marketing and communications decisions. A sort of back to basics approach that works alongside consumers. One such example may be the resurgence of friend referral programs. At Powershop, we see huge success in our program where friends refer their friends and get a great deal on their electricity and gas, but also land with a power company working hard to be different. A trusted word from a trusted friend gives a service provider undeniable clout that money doesn’t buy.

Linktree co-founder & CMO Alex Zaccaria
The social internet is increasingly fragmented, with consumers spread across more social channels than ever before. Audiences now span Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, websites and so much more, with marketers facing the herculean task of not only delivering valuable content, but also a succinct and defined brand story. In 2020 we’ll see marketers move towards a more simple internet. Despite producing more content than ever, brands are facing higher levels of competition for consumer attention. 2020 will see brands shift away from maintaining – and directing their consumers to – overstuffed company websites, turning instead to aggregator tools to streamline their messy online ecosystem and hold consumer attention longer.

IntelligenceBank CEO Tessa Court
Change-ready compliance. Compliance without automation currently slows down other business functions by 92% - a hindrance unacceptable if marketing teams are going to have to innovate and deliver for an increasing range of platforms and purposes with immediacy. Regulatory changes will be the norm, and competition is only increasing. Marketing teams need to self-assess marketing compliance - so they can move quickly.

Sendle global CMO Eva Ross
Building a community around your brand is not a new concept but, as we head into 2020, I think we’ll see marketers evolve their approach for doing so — as well as add new growth channels. Community is the best way to build evangelism and brand affinity but it doesn’t just appear overnight, you need to allow customers to form connections with one another and create avenues that support the organic growth of those relationships. A great community strategy requires an in-depth understanding of what matters to your customer — what they’re talking about and where. So much direct feedback from the community allows you to take these insights, iterate and continue to build for them.

86 400 chief product & marketing officer Travis Tyler
Brand evolution will move at a pace never before seen. Armed with an arsenal of integrated tools delivering real-time data and insights, marketers will have a broader remit across the customer journey and brands will be more responsive than ever to changing customer needs. This evolution though will need a strong organisational purpose to pivot around and those who can define and deliver their purpose every second of every minute of every day will stand out from the crowd in 2020.

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