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  • Ben Portnoi

5 Considerations for consumer marketing in 2023

There is a lot of change in the market at the moment, with privacy and regulation, consumer shopping habits evolving and the social media landscape continuing to develop at pace.

On top of this, there are global macro trends, such as inflation and the recession.

However, even with the tough economic period that is forecasted, Group M predicts growth in advertising for 2023 to come in at 5.9%.

2023 provides lots of opportunity for marketers, this piece highlights 5 key characteristics we believe are crucial to recognise in order to succeed in the marketing industry this year

1. 2023: Understanding what works in your marketing mix

2. Partnerships are increasingly important

3. You need to know your audience

4. Brand work, content and storytelling is going to be essential for long term success

5. We are now in an employee driven market

Over the course of the next few days, ill be posting my thoughts on each of these.

First up; New frameworks are required to understand the impact of your marketing mix

2023: Understanding what works in your marketing mix

With the 3rd party cookie being deprecated this year, Google’s established analytics platform (universal analytics) being sunsetted for GA4 and with privacy and regulation increasingly taking hold, it is extremely challenging for marketers to really understand what has worked and why.

It is becoming increasingly challenging to judge the effect of all communications. The marketers who flourish this year will be the ones who are able to create a series of appropriate measurement frameworks to understand what is working and why.

Recommended Action

  • Develop a clear understanding of the role of all communications, at what stage of the funnel they sit and how they all tie together.

  • Have clarity over how every marketing item effects the business in the short and long term.

  • Set appropriate benchmarks for each channel and platform at all levels, with specific KPIs.

  • Develop the right analytics set up, to try and tie all results together. Make sure that your results are accurately reflected in all reporting.

  • Have a plan to de-duplicate results across multiple channels, so that your end result reflects the true impact to the business.

This isn’t going to be easy and unfortunately; marketers need to have a well-developed approach to de-duplicating results across multiple channels to have a fair representation of their impact. But it will be essential to really understand what is working, how and why.

Partnerships are increasingly important

Whilst this isn’t a new area, it is becoming increasingly important and over the next few years will provide significant opportunities for marketers to have a direct engagement with a known audience, facilitating relevancy and enabling the brands who do this properly, to standout.

The deprecation of the cookie is only going to exacerbate the challenges with performance or direct response marketing, making it more difficult to target and retarget consumers or truly understand the impact of each channel.

One area that will become increasingly important is brand partnerships and sponsorships.

By aligning with publishers/brands who with have a direct engagement with consumers and who are able to provide privacy, premium context and customise communications, advertisers will be able to stand out. Both maintaining relevance and providing advertising that is native to the environment it sits in.

Recommended Action

Publishers and first-party data holders have a unique relationship with their consumers. If leveraged, this will enable relevancy, brand building and personalised communications for the right partners.

Therefore, brands should find the appropriate publishers to align with, creating relationships where they can have access to a known audience with specific and customised communications.

A recent Mckinsey study states that 76% of consumers expect personalisation. By collaborating with partners rich in first-party data, brands are able to bring this relevance to new audiences whom they are yet to know and identify.

Alternatively, this could be achieved via sponsorship, where there is a unique opportunity for brands to capitalise on reaching an engaged audience who follow a team or entertainment business.

As a Spurs fan I am more receptive to AIG messaging (the shirt sponsor, who also regularly serve me advertising across all channels).

However, there are still very few clubs, teams, entertainment brands that are monetising the opportunity to reach their fans and followers with digital partnerships.

The right digital sponsorship agreement can pay massive dividends for both the rights holder and the rights owner. Enabling brands to drive cut-through and rights owners to provide a relevant and beneficial offering to their consumers, simultaneously building a new revenue stream.

Building & knowing your audience

Whilst this has been important for a long time, it is becoming increasingly essential and the changes in the market will only amplify its significance.

Really knowing your audience and creating customised segments to understand what works and to whom, is more important now than ever.

78% of consumers said they were likely to make repeat purchases from companies that personalise their communications. The most efficient way for brands to capitalise on personalised communications or tailored strategy is by knowing their audiences.

First party data is increasingly important in the decentralised and fractured market place advertisers are trying to navigate. This challenge is amplified by the issues of measurement and the obstacles performance marketing faces.

Performance marketing is now delivered across a series of siloed channels and the deprecation of the cookie will make it more difficult than ever to judge the impact of each channel.

The key outcome from these challenges is that a trusted and known audience becomes significantly more valuable and nurturing known audiences provides more dividends than bringing in a constant flow of new customers.

Furthermore, through email platforms, clean room tech, social media, apps and DSPs we now have the tools to upload and reach known audiences.

Brands now have the opportunity to their reach consumers via multiple channels and it’s now easier than ever to do this. The challenge is knowing what works and having relevance.

Recommended Action

Having the right first-party data strategy is increasingly fundamental to long term success.

Understanding how to build, store and manage your audience data, as well as how to use it is a moving target with all the changes being employed around data and regulation. Marketers need to invest time and funds in getting this right.

There are lots of ways to do this, whether that is using one of the many SAAS platforms out there that help manage and order data, implementing the right CDP, developing appropriate segmentation with a data warehouse or just understanding how to build your audience and scale it.

It is unrealistic for a brand advertising in the UK to have 67 million unique strategies, however the best way to get cut through is to be able to segment and order audiences, creating relevant communications to sub groups.

Brands need to develop a strategy to reach each audience group in the right environment, but also need to align all communications, so that’s its clear that comms (no matter which group consumers are in) clearly come from the same organisation.

Maintaining a strong brand, with values that are relevant to everyone, whilst also having customised and relevant content for each consumer group is the target and those who do it well, such as Nike, or Apple will succeed this year.

The good news is that increasingly the tools that were only available to big brands with big budgets, are now accessible to businesses of all sizes. SAAS platforms and tools that were once extremely expensive now have far more malleable costs. There are also a plethora of new or start up businesses who are facilitating capabilities that were once the remit of the biggest brand, but now are open to all businesses.

In short, every brand should be concentrating on;

  • Understanding who their audience is

  • Having the right platform to build their audience

  • Knowing how to segment audiences & build our personas models

  • Having a plan for how to use all channels to reach existing customers

  • Developing a strategy to identify and grow core segments

  • With an aligning comms plan that serves relevant communications

  • Roadmap to grow core segments

Brand work, content and storytelling is going to be essential for long term success

Marketers in the digital age have long relied on behavioural marketing, retargeting and bottom-of-the-funnel results to justify marketing spend. This has largely been to the detriment of brand work.

Performance marketing and judging the impact of all channels will become more difficult in 2023 due to multiple factors effecting the advertising ecosystem. Therefore great storytelling only becomes more important.

All businesses need to make money and drive sales.

However, the organisations that can embrace this focus in the short term and simultaneously implement a long term strategy based on engaging consumers with great stories and nurture brand equity, will reek the long term rewards.

This is not a revelation and has always been the case.

But the proliferation of digital advertising, tracking and short term focus has made this disparity more pronounced.

Recommended Action

Marketers should be focussed on how to engage new and existing customers with great stories served in the right place.

In a landscape where cut through is difficult, scrolling is endemic and the average consumer can see up to 10,000 ads in a day, the appetite for storytelling has diminished.

However performance marketing will be harder than ever post cookie, silos and data regulation.

The 2 biggest impacts are that

1. Storytelling and brand work is going to be more important

2. Knowing your audience and understanding what they will resonate with, is central for all comms

This can be seen in how AirBnB are negating low hanging fruit, implementing a longer term strategy where they commit to great stories

This brave and bold approach, if done right, will pay dividends in the long run, bringing in a lot more new consumers and evolving the positioning of the brand.

Brands need to be very tactful over how and who they engage. Doing all the appropriate due diligence to tell the right stories to the right people. They need to engage their known audience, go through a lengthy research process of appreciating the right way to engage their consumers, whether that is through utilising known audience insights, using semantic research tools and social listening, or relying on qual or quant support.

The right brand activation can enable a brand to build scale, but most importantly can take a lot of the pressure currently building on bottom of the funnel and performance marketing, such as paid search or retargeting.

If there is one key takeout here, its that marketers have a great opportunity to tell interesting stories. Now is the time to focus on this.

The right brand approach has never been more important and aligned with a refined performance strategy can build the platform for both short and long term success.

The employee driven market

Pre-pandemic the market was largely driven by employers as opposed to employees. With brands and agencies deciding between many candidates when they had an attractive role open.

With furlow, lockdown, the great resignation and the unprecedented growth in digital and data roles the pendulum has swung the other way. There are more jobs than people and great talent is hard to find and keep.

Agencies and brands are struggling with this in equal measure.

There are some key trends appearing

  • There are more roles in digital and data than there are people

  • Therefore, quality candidates are in massive demand and are subsequently over paid

  • The high demand and availability of job makes it hard to keep good talent (unless you can afford to over pay staff)

  • This has impacted loyalty the length on employees’ tenure with businesses

The transient nature of the workforce, make it very challenging for agencies and brands to plan for the long term with any certainty.

Recommended Action

The cost of doing business in digital and in data will only increase as the demand continues to rise.

The recommended action, is to identify where there is a long term need in your business, hire and train well. Build out a core team and develop the right culture internally. Brands will need to be very clear over what is needed in their business and have a thin team who can clearly articulate the strategy and direction.

Whilst selecting the right partners, agencies and consultancies to help bring in incremental skills and services that complement the core offering.

There is trend to ‘in-house’ and this will continue. The best businesses will identify the core areas they want to grow and will have the foresight to integrate with experts where they need short term assistance or require specialist knowledge.

Those who try and bring everything in house, will struggle. They will also realise quickly, the value in external support and bringing in fresh ideas and innovation.

Brands should own core specialisms that are in demand consistently, however having a support network of trusted partners who can be brought in for other areas that require deep expertise, but are not always on (for instance CRO or creative asset development).

The premise of flexible and malleable support, providing deep expertise on an ad hoc basis, is the focus of the Hybrid House business model. Working side by side with brands and agencies to supplement their team with all specialist support.


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