Findings from the Nielsen Annual Marketing Report

January 13, 2020 Anne Curtin

Digital Has Turned Your Marketing on Its Head. What Now? 

The customer journey is longer and more complex than ever. We’re long past the time when a purchase could be traced back to a single point of contact: a mailed-in coupon, in-store discount, or even TV campaign.

But how do marketers perceive the effectiveness of new digital channels? Are insights driven by measurement data they can trust? How does perception influence budget decisions?

We surveyed marketers at more than 350 brands and agencies around the globe and found that investments in media are often driven by a sense of effectiveness that isn’t entirely grounded in reality—a scary proposition when hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of your marketing dollars could be at stake.

> > Download the Nielsen Annual Marketing Report: The Age of Dissonance < <

Inside the Minds of Marketers

Knowing which channels will reach consumers along an increasingly fragmented purchase path—and measuring their performance—make it difficult to create the marketing mix that works best. But these aren’t the only challenges facing marketers today.

In this year’s edition of the Nielsen Marketing Report, we studied the psychology of the modern marketer. We asked how they perceive the effectiveness of all of those channels, even when ROI measurement isn’t very clear, and whether this new multi-channel environment is changing how they see their role as marketers.

What we found provides a powerful view into the current state of the industry and the dynamics at play. For us at Nielsen, these findings are a stark reminder that the measurement
industry—while evolving in leaps and bounds—still has a lot of work ahead to help you unlock the full potential of your marketing campaigns.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the key findings:

  • Marketers hold digital channels to a different standard than traditional channels, despite lack of confidence in ROI. Digital channels are perceived to be effective and invite more spending, even when that effectiveness cannot be readily verified.
  • Data quality is a top priority for just 28% of respondents. Despite the benefits of using high quality data, data quality ranks low on the list of marketing priorities—well behind targeting, ad creative and reach. 
  • Marketers place a much higher priority on advertising than trade promotions. Most marketers discount the value of trade promotions, despite opportunities to use them to learn about their customers’ in-store purchase behaviors. 
  • Marketplace challenges are slowing the adoption of over-the-top (OTT) TV. To capitalize on the promise of OTT, brands must overcome internal knowledge gaps and partner with vendors to address measurement and media planning efficiency/ transparency concerns.
  • Marketers prioritize new customers over old. Despite the value of existing customers, the majority of marketers are focused on acquiring new customers and increasing branding awareness, with just 8% of marketers focused on reducing churn.

<< To learn more, download the full report here. >>

A Way Forward

Developing a marketing budget can be difficult. Faced with steep competition and an increasing number of ways to reach consumers, you need to spend every penny wisely. While our research showed that marketers are bullish on relatively new digital channels, some are justifiably getting nervous that the payoff might not measure up to the enthusiasm.

So what does this mean for marketers? 

While it can be hard to detect which of your marketing activities are changing consumer behavior, relying on assumptions isn’t the answer. The first step is to acknowledge that your media decisions today are to some extent driven by perceptions rather than hard data.

Then take ownership of it. Partner with industry experts to climb the learning curve and seek our measurement solutions to confirm that your decisions are paying off. Only then will you have confidence – and proof – that your investments are paying off.

Learn More

For more key findings and recommendations for marketers, download the report: Nielsen Annual Marketing Report: The Age of Dissonance

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