My Top 10 Marketing Learnings from 2023

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The last year in marketing was indeed very instructive for me and it also brought up some pure surprises like the new perspective on the ad wear out topic, that basically replaces with strong evidence a decade long believe in advertising. There were a lot of discussion during the summer between the UK and Australian marketing minds about differentiation vs. distinctiveness that were going almost wild. But in the end somehow piece was made and concluded that brands need both in order to be successful. Another big story was coming from Unilever, that reported to opt-out with some brands from the purpose-driven communication trend. That was no surprising for me and I really support that move, as the entire purpose topic got so loaded up over the last years into a nidicolous sphere.

So here is my best of:

  • Purpose only where it makes sense. Unilever backed up on putting purpose on all brands. Their past research was bogus and broken (Unilever researched top brands where they applied it and of course they grow but NOT because of purpose). A purpose correction will happen to brands as purpose need to have something to do with the brand and the category. (TheDrum)
  • IPA: purpose driven marketing is 30% less effective. (Les Binet)
  • The Power of Creativity. Creatives are considered for 60-70% effect of the ad
  • Wear out of ads doesn’t exist. The top ads perform also well after some time eg. coke – holidays are coming spot for Christmas. This applies mostly for brand ads as product news of course wear out. (Mark Ritson)
  • Low attention span of digital ads -> creativity is the solution to overcome it. And to create creatives tailored to the platform (Tom Roach)
  • Category context is critical. To outperform your competitors you need to get higher SOV (share of voice) and better creatives.
  • Pre-testing of creatives is not really predicting effectiveness. rarely both matches (Les Binet)
  • Best advertising is popular advertising (Les Binet)

And some more general statements about the current state of the marketing industry:

  • If a formula works, others will copy it and it will stop working
  • Adland and loosing connection to the people that advertising is trying to serve
  • 2024 should be a year where we get the basics right. Not focus so much on innovation

2024 is already in full affect and what I observe that besides everybody going crazy about AI, that are severe cost cuttings in the industry ahead and huge pressure on the agencies to deliver cost efficient services. There are tough times ahead for all of us in this industry but I hope that this year holds also some great opportunities for us all.


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