What a strange time it is to be a marketer. Last year, Forrester fielded hundreds of questions from brands and tech partners alike about the revelations that rocked our worlds: kickbacks, tech consolidation, opacity of even decades-old partnerships, measurement screw-ups from the world’s second largest digital advertising player and the possibility of a single tweet sending share prices tumbling. And yet…
The increasing importance of content—especially video, both live and otherwise—is driving a renewed dependence on agencies. Facebook had an absolutely insane Q4 and Snap went public. Advertisers didn’t shy away from Super Bowl buys even with declining NFL ratings; they’re just going cross-platform, even if they won’t be able to measure its effectiveness.
What is going on? Are we so optimistic that we’re ignoring the data in front of us that seems to say we should be taking a cold, hard look at our strategic planning? Is it that given the greater world context over the last year we no longer know if we can trust the evidence in the first place? Is it as simple as marketers following the eyeballs, proof of efficacy be damned?
Look, the marketing sky isn’t falling; but if we want to keep it that way marketers need to have the difficult conversations within their own companies and with outside peers. P&G and Coca-Cola are paving the way by going public with their renewed concerns about throwing money into digital without accountability. And Budweiser is facing its increasingly polarized customer base by trying to explain that its Super Bowl ad was never intended to be political.
Your own stance doesn’t have to be quite as bold or as public as these brands’, but you do have to have one to protect your brand reputation and relevance in these strange business times.