Before the Great Recession, marketers worked on a handful of core principles: differentiation builds brands; advertising enhances differentiation to build long-term, sustainable growth; discounts provide an immediate incentive to consumers by signaling an opportunity to purchase below "market price." During the Great Recession, consumers learnt to shop smarter and, out of necessity, started leveraging all available sources of information to best align their needs with benefits offered by product choices with the best available price. In response, large-brand marketers relied more on promotions and discounting to sustain consumer engagement.
Today, many of these smart shopping behaviors persist, and marketers' heavy reliance on promotion and discounting is still very much in play. Excessive (and growing) promotional spending has brands locked in a cycle of commoditization, and margins are being squeezed to near extinction. At the same time, media fragmentation continuously presents marketers with tough investment decisions that make it necessary for them to better understand the efficiencies and value propositions of their decisions.