For advertising, 2020 has been a rough year: the economic imperative to defend revenues has ushered in a tendency to short-term measures, as has the consumer tendency to e-commerce – across the industry, digital transformation has truly taken hold.

For brand owners, and the agencies that serve them, the agility called for by the crisis will likely remain necessary. As WARC’s Future of Strategy 2020 report found, with necessary changes to client plans, the role of strategists is stronger.

 “It feels like we are closer to the client's financial decisions, more visibility into internal processes and understanding of the weak spots,” said one European strategy partner.

This goes beyond the solely advertising needs of brands in the field – it’s much deeper:

  • Routes to market are changing, hastened by technological and social factors.
  • At a media level, audiences’ much greater digital intensity changed the media investment landscape, and was the subject of a Guide to planning for attention.
  • A direct-to-consumer offer is now a key priority for established as well as newer brands, changing what we think of as branding opportunities at the doorstep, and more fundamentally, how it can lead to more sustainable business models.
  • Alongside the growth of digital media during the pandemic, has been the onset of a deeper trend toward first-party data, hastened by the forthcoming phase-out of the cookie.
  • In-housing of agency capabilities continues apace as 38% of marketers that responded to WARC’s Toolkit survey agree they will be bringing more in-house in 2021, as the need for speed becomes a constant. 

Sourced from WARC