Ardmore 2020 Outlook: The biggest marketing challenges for brands in 2020

With the sun setting on 2019 Ardmore’s department heads look ahead to 2020.

Picture of Paul James

Paul James

At Ardmore we are always looking forward…

… focusing on how we can help our clients grow their brands and deliver business results.

So with 2020 now upon us, I took the opportunity to ask our department heads:

  1. What will be biggest marketing challenge for brands in 2020?
  2. What are the top 3 things marketers should focus on to grow their brands in the next few years?
  3. What’s the trend you’re most excited about?
  4. What’s your ambition for the next year?

 

Here’s what they had to say…

 

Ed Henderson, Planning Director

 

1.    What will be biggest marketing challenge for brands in 2020?

Bridging the gap between how brands want to act and how they actually act. For example, sustainability will continue to be a key brand ambition in 2020, especially in Northern Ireland. Before committing to this through advertising, brands need to ensure that changes are made within the organisation first and foremost. Say as you do.

 

2.    What are the top 3 things marketers should focus on to grow their brands in the next few years?

Be brave in your advertising: Globally, 84% of all advertising is forgotten (Source: Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science). Playing safe and being forgettable isn’t how brands will stand out. There is direct business value in being brave with every new campaign.

Think about channels in terms of risk, not cost: Too frequently, great ideas are relegated to live on social media and nowhere else – traditionally driven by cost. Try to think about channels in terms of risk (i.e. what is the risk if nobody sees our idea). If you believe an idea is worth shouting about, shout it loud.  

Talent and training: Brands don’t grow on their own. They need talented people. Marketers don’t grow by doing the same thing, they need regular training to broaden their skills.

 

3.    What’s the trend you’re most excited about? 

I’m not a big believer in game-changing trends as there isn’t a silver bullet for growth – it is the sum of many things working together. But I am fascinated by the streaming wars – how the seemingly never-ending range of subscription TV services will impact our industry over the next 12 months. As people move to a more personal, ad-free means of content consumption, advertising is going to have to work harder than it ever has to capture attention and drive demand – it is the responsibility of the agencies to ensure that every brand communication for a client they represent is unforgettable.

 

4.    What’s your ambition for the next year?  

To further prove the value of strategic planning for every one of our clients. Getting it right at the start – clearly defined objectives, measurable KPIs, a deep audience understanding and why they will care about what we have to say. Nail these things early and commit to them so that everything beyond that point (media & creative) will work to have a positive impact on the business.

 

Mark Irwin, Managing Director

 

  1. What will be biggest marketing challenge for brands in 2020?

Doing more with effectively less.

 

  1. What are the top 3 things marketers should focus on to grow their brands in the next few years?

Stop fixating on digital and digital campaign measurement.

Avoid the obvious and the logical. Be brave.

Be clear on the purpose of your brand and its communications.

 

  1. What’s the trend you’re most excited about?

Discovering and working with next one!!!

 

  1. What’s your ambition for the next year?

Working in true collaboration to create world class communications.

 

Mark Thompson, Media Director

 

  1. What will be biggest marketing challenge for brands in 2020?

How can brands stimulate true loyalty?

With the rise of online buying and research, and the price factor of online, how can brand equity be truly created which translates into business?

 

  1. What are the top 3 things marketers should focus on to grow their brands in the next few years?

Build a brand on solid values. Make it stand for more than a price point.

Avoid short-termism. It is exactly what it says, short-term, it fixes nothing in the long-term.

Stop looking for the “new” for the sake of it. This decade alone has brought the rise and fall of many of the new exciting things: Vine, Google Plus, QR Codes.

 

  1. What’s the trend you’re most excited about?

The trend of nostalgia. In today’s quick fix society there is a true demand for showing the place of heritage, brand value and trust.

 

  1. What’s your ambition for the next year?

To answer the conundrum of marketing effectiveness and attribution. This resides firmly in the digital sphere but has become a stick to beat all other media. Building a recognised attribution matrix would go some way to get around this to give marketers the confidence and freedom to build growth and market share.

 

Paul Bowen, Group Creative Director

 

  1. What will be biggest marketing challenge for brands in 2020?

 Making sure they reflect what the customer demands. Brands are defined by their customers now, not the other way around as it used to be.

 

  1. What are the top 3 things marketers should focus on to grow their brands in the next few years?

 Don’t presume last year’s audience is this year’s: Culture, politics, economy, environment, all and more influence change, ignore that – and you ignore your audience.

Have a conscience: Loyalty will be tested if your audience doesn’t trust you and doesn’t see evidence of what you stand for from a social or environmental perspective.

Have fun: It’s a new decade, regardless of the massive political shifts afoot, people will seek out the positive.

 

  1. What’s the trend you’re most excited about?

Social detox: The growing trend to limit social media use will change the conversations we interrupt, the platforms on which we do it and what we choose to replace it with.

 

  1. What’s your ambition for the next year? 

Perform magic: Rory Sutherland’s book ‘Alchemy’ hit the nail on the head – all data and research come from one place: the past. Look for creative solutions that make no logical sense but somehow, make complete sense.

 

Nicola Cadogan, Digital Marketing Director

 

  1. What will be biggest marketing challenge for brands in 2020?

The widening remit of marketing and the role it plays in everything we touch, including customer experience, privacy issues, technology experience and sustainability challenges.

 

  1.  What are the top 3 things marketers should focus on to grow their brands in the next few years?

Lifecycle marketing: We often see brands investing heavily in building brand awareness around the early part of the customer journey and then treating customer retention as an afterthought. It’s more important than ever to connect with your customers at all points on the customer journey.

Building Trust: Consumer trust creates loyalty and advocacy, powerful drivers for brand success. To develop trust, a brand now needs to demonstrate their values with more purpose-driven activities so that they are living and breathing the values, rather than making empty statements.

Keep up with the Algorithms: It’s important to monitor algorithm changes across digital platforms and adjust your marketing and content strategies in-line with changing algorithms. Often people view changes such as Instagram’s move to hide ‘likes’ as a negative, however with change being a constant it’s important to move with the times and look for opportunities in change.

 

  1. What’s the trend you’re most excited about?

Voice search is particularly exciting; it’s taken off among consumers due to the convenience and popularity of home voice assistant devices, including Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.

“Six out of ten smart speaker owners (60%) have used them to make a purchase in the past year. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) said they have done so within the past week”. (Artefact UK)

It’s changing the way people search for and engage with brands, I think we’ll see more brands incorporating a voice search strategy within their wider marketing plans.

 

4.            What’s your ambition for the next year?

Continuing to build strong partnerships with our clients, meeting the demands of their evolving business needs and having fun on the way.

 

Miriam Moertl, Client Services Director

 

  1. What will be biggest marketing challenge for brands in 2020?

In a previous life CSR, and very much a secondary, sometimes throwaway marketing claim, brands now need to find their way in communicating their genuine commitment to sustainability in everything they do. Consumers, particularly 15-25 year olds, want evidence and accountability from a brand in their purpose and how they operate; economically, environmentally and emotionally. 

 

  1. What are the top 3 things marketers should focus on to grow their brands in the next few years?

Understanding your audience: using search, data and research to get under the bonnet of your target consumer, way beyond demographic, to gain insights into their wants, needs, motivations – thus engaging them on a deeper level.

Not new but we can’t forget about the power of compelling, emotional storytelling. The way we consume the stories might be changing, as might the technology used to create the stories, but the fundamentals remain the same.

The experience: How consumers see the brand, enjoy it, buy it, use it, are spoken to by it. We all must think beyond the transaction in order to add value and achieve standout.

 

  1. What’s the trend you’re most excited about?

 It’s not a new trend but I’m excited to see how brands further evolve their content strategy. Content really is king for 2020. But content is pointless unless it’s relevant, meaningful and adding value.

 

  1. What’s your ambition for the next year?

The understanding of value. From creative output, to pricing, to working in partnership with clients. We as agencies must continue to prove and deliver value in everything we do, but I enjoy working with clients to ensure they respect and appreciate how we can help them succeed.

 

Ready to discuss your plans for 2020 and beyond? Give Paul a call on 028 9042 5344 or email paul.james@ardmore.co.uk.

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