Marketing changes in 2021 require a big picture view

Mar 31, 2021
Media Strategy

If you have been following the world of media lately you will see a large amount of change within the platforms. Apple has announced IOS14, which puts new privacy measures in place to give more control to people over the data that apps and platforms have access to.

Google announced that it will no longer track individuals across the web and will be anonymizing data. And, wrapped around all of this is the end of third-party advertising cookies in Google’s Chrome by the start of 2022. This piece of text sent to your browser by a website allowed it to collect information about you is going away. 

The challenge now is for marketers to understand the options replacing universal personal identifiers that track people across multiple websites. An additional challenge is ensuring that marketing leaders are making sense of all the net new jargon in place, the new adtech to come, the overwhelming emphasis on first party data and the effect on how success is measured.

The CMA Media Council believes this is a watershed moment to go back to the foundation of your marketing operations and really build something stronger in its place. This is a marathon not a sprint and it is one that you can and must run.

Here are eight steps to start addressing today’s changes in media:

  1. Ensure your marketing vision is sound. Define the desired CX, including for media. The foundation of the experience needs to be clearly articulated so it can be easily actioned by everyone involved. Where do you want to be in two to five years as a brand and as a business?
  2. Build a team. Bring in your cross functional experts who are agnostic to tech but are representative of all facets of marketing. The team should have experts in data, strategy, adtech/martech and marketing sciences as well as agency partners involved. They will design the roadmap you need to manage the year ahead and adjust as more privacy and data shifts happen during 2021 (please note: they will change again).
  3. Rebuild your measurement framework. The key performance indicators and metrics you have been chasing might have changed in their value. This is the moment to go and see what is and isn’t working. Are you evaluating too much? Are you evaluating too little and don’t truly understand how your brand measurement drives your media performance? Map the metrics that matter to the experience.
  4. Consider first (and maybe second) party data. The power of your owned data is well documented, but the means by which to gather and manage it is not. The strategy cannot be to run endless contests in the year. You may also need to partner with others to make your data more powerful and better understand who your customers are. You will need to see what partnerships you need to forge in the coming months.
  5. Carefully select your tech. There is no adtech/martech stack that doesn’t want to capitalize on this moment and sign your brand up to a long-term investment. Do not rush this process. Create selection criteria based on your business, CX and data needs with appropriate scoring. Understand the roadmaps and the partnerships that adtech companies are exploring. In other words, don’t dive in headfirst, pause and dip your toe into the shallow end.
  6. Commit to a test and learn agenda. There is no agency or expert that knows exactly what will happen. You need to have a strong test and learn agenda that falls out of your measurement framework. Understand audience, channel and tactical ideas you will need to have in place and don’t be rigid with the agenda.
  7. Anticipate planning and buying timing changes. Your agency is going to need more time to evaluate campaign performance. This means you will need speed up your creative briefing process to buffer. Be prepared for digital media costs to increase with the need to focus premium advertising inventory, as contextual advertising historically has a higher CPM because everyone is chasing the same context in your category.
  8. Shift your reporting expectations. Help your organization and people understand that what worked before isn’t going to work now, that the way performance media reports are presented is going to be very different. Appreciate that there may be some unfamiliar data points from the analytics team and know that the measurement framework will be the guiding tool for what is and isn’t measured.

This is a big year for media. If you are a CMO, be bold and ask questions. Create a plan, but plan for uncertainty, and take the opportunity to revisit your current strategy and take it to new heights.




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