Brands and agencies are not totally aligned on what they see as the top challenges in the year ahead, but digital transformation will continue to feature and within this agenda both agree that customer experience and data will be paramount, according to a WARC report.

As part of the Marketer’s Toolkit 2019 report, WARC sought the views of 800 brands and agencies around the world and found a misalignment of priorities between the two groups: the top three challenges for brands in the year ahead are the bottom three challenges that agencies expect their clients to be focused on.

Marketer’s Toolkit 2019

Data, analysis, interviews: Read the full report here

For brands, growth, data management and ensuring consumer trust were each selected by 42% of respondents. These might be regarded as ‘business as usual’ challenges for marketers focused on process, consistency and backend innovation, rather than communication, innovation and experimentation with emerging tech and media.

In comparison, more than half of agencies perceive digital transformation to be an important challenge to their clients in the year ahead. The top three challenges selected by agencies all centre around brand change, in terms of digital, culture and purpose.

Building for purpose is clearly more of a priority for agencies than for brands. Brand purpose is seen as a way to drive long-term sustainable business growth and in some ways is a response to the trust issues brands say they face, the Toolkit suggests.

It adds that misuse of this technique and the ‘over-rewarding’ of these ideas in industry awards have led some brands to question whether the industry has reached ‘peak purpose’. This could explain the difference between the agency and brand response here.

Digital transformation may not rank as highly in brand agendas, but both brands and agencies broadly agree that customer experience and data are key components for success, selected by more than half of both client-side and agency respondents.

The organisation and implementation of data was mentioned by almost all of the CMOs interviewed for the report by WARC.

“No marketer worth their salt can survive without data these days,” said Lis Blair, CMO of easyJet. “Whether it’s about simple campaign evaluation through to performance marketing and econometrics, marketers have to use insight to drive strategy through to performance.”

Sourced from WARC