January is a busy month for the marketing and tech industries, hosting a bevy of annual preview events that set the stage for the year to come. Alliant was on the move across the country, connecting with partners and industry leaders at CES, IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting, and the MCNY Annual Outlook, among others.
Unable to make it to all these events? Well, you’re in luck: here are team Alliant’s five biggest takeaways on the topics and trends impacting marketers and advertisers in 2023.
1. Bullishness, with an awareness of challenges
While headlines in recent months have been strewn with news about significant tech layoffs, an overall sense of optimism underlies discussions and strategies moving into the new year. This sentiment is a marked change from mid-to-late 2022, where a general feeling of worry and hesitancy about a looming recession put most in wait-and-see mode. While growth won’t be as significant as recent years, the Winterberry Group is projecting a 5.9% increase in US marketing and advertising spend, for a total of $509B. This is further supported by the International Monetary Fund’s upgraded outlook for the global economy in late January, citing several factors.
Yet, geo-political and macroeconomic situations remain a threat to the overall stability of markets, including advertising. For now, those seem to be under control, but marketers and advertisers must be prepared to shift in response to any changes.
2. Doing more with less
C-suites are pushing marketing teams to increase customer acquisition, improve engagement and retention with existing customers, and prove ROI across efforts – all with the same or less budget and headcount as 2022. Pair this with the proliferation of online and offline channels most marketing teams manage, and it can quickly feel like an insurmountable task. However, marketers can focus on an audience-first approach, geared towards interoperability, to improve all aspects of their campaigns from planning to measurement. Additional value can be found by breaking down barriers that create resource inefficiencies.
3. First party data, for real
After a few years of emphasis, first party data use cases are actually starting to scale. Any industry vets may feel reminiscent of the “year of mobile”, which similarly ended up being a multi-year ramp process. Today brands and agencies are enriching first party assets, going beyond basic audience segmentation and becoming more creative with applications across channels. Things are still just getting started though, and for a lot of brands, collecting and scaling first party data is still a challenge. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Collaboration is key, but the how remains hazy
Vital to competing with, or reducing reliance upon, walled gardens is data collaboration. One of the most prominent and privacy-preserving ways of collaborating is via clean rooms. Yet, no one seems to be as far along as everyone believes the overall industry to be. There is rightfully a lot of buzz, but scalable activity will come in time. In the interim marketers and advertisers will need to keep interoperability top of mind, figure out how to navigate the many existing and emerging identifiers, and how they can best leverage each to hit their goals.
5. Growth will come in new channels
Rising customer acquisition costs in social and programmatic are forcing marketers to find new paths to growth. Connected TV (CTV) and direct mail are two channels that, while more expensive, can deliver strong ROI. The convergence of linear and CTV will make strides in 2023, with more bundling of linear and CTV inventory from providers and increased investment in measurement. All of this should smooth buying path complexities, increasing interoperability in TV buying, and help address issues around fraud and frequency capping.
Direct Mail never really went away, but it continues to prove value in a marketing mix. Digital management of direct mail for all delivery points, and the increase of triggered/programmatic direct mail will support more strategic integrations of direct mail into the marketing stack.
Our team is always on the road. Meet us out there!