WARC today released its Marketer’s Toolkit 2019, an annual report outlining the priorities of, and challenges facing, brands in the year ahead and how to address them.

The report centres on a global survey of more than 800 senior marketing and advertising professionals and dives into the implications of the challenges facing advertising from strategy, technology, and media perspectives.

“The Toolkit reports of the last two years have been dominated by technology trends; 2019 feels different,” says David Tiltman, WARC’s Head of Content.

Marketer’s Toolkit 2019

Data, analysis, interviews: Read the full report here

“It feels like a year of getting the fundamentals right, and using tech where necessary to achieve that end. Brands clearly view ‘experience’ as a form of competitive advantage – and the tech that can help them improve customer experience across channels is being prioritised.”


Marketers view improved customer experience – on and offline – as a key growth lever in addition to a route to strengthening trust in brands. Crucially, the disruption of several categories by direct-to-consumer brands comes up again and again as a concern.

Almost two thirds (61%) of agencies and 52% of brands cited CX as the most important digital transformation for business in 2019. There is still some way to go, however, as just 15% of brands say their CX is aligned across channels.

“Always go back to understand the customer,” says Uniqlo China’s CMO, Jalin Wu. “The customer is our need. We are not just presenting ourselves as apparel, we are presenting ourselves as a solution for people to have a better life.”


Voice is piquing marketers’ interest increasingly, principally in terms of voice search. Just under a third (29%) of brands named voice as a priority for 2019, up 12 percentage points from last year. “Like most big marketers and advertisers, we’re looking at the role of voice and how we can continually make that user experience a whole lot better,” Tourism Australia CMO, Lisa Ronson told WARC.

In response to the rise of e-commerce, there is also growing interest in payment technology, as more and more brands look to sell more online.

One of the biggest shifts observed in the report concerns Augmented and Virtual Reality. Just 23% of marketers named the channels as a strategic priority for the year: a drop of 13 percentage points compared to last year’s report.


The overwhelming majority of marketers (79%) expect to increase their online video budgets. Elsewhere search and mobile advertising expect to see continued investment. It is thought that Facebook’s Instagram and Alphabet’s YouTube stand to benefit from this interest. Snapchat meanwhile is expected to see cooling interest from marketers.

A key winner of the new media landscape is the e-commerce (and soon to be advertising) giant Amazon, toward which 69% of marketers expect to funnel increased spend.

The report is now available for subscribers to download now. A free sample is available for non-subscribers here.

Sourced from WARC