With nominations for WFA Global Marketer of the Year 2022 open until October 16, members of the expert jury were asked to share their views on the single biggest challenge facing the marketing function today.
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Clockwise from top left: Mikimasa Hamamatsu (Nissan), Alyssa Fenoglio (Sanofi), Ron Lund (ACA), Eloísa Moscardó (Santander), Matt Scheckner (Advertising Week), Riikka-Maria Lemminki (Marketing Finland), Robin Seasock (Decideware), Bobby Simborio (PANA).
The marketer to-do list gets more complex and more challenging every year. After the pandemic, global supply chain problems and increasing demands for action on the climate crisis, the macro picture now includes an imminent economic downturn.
All of this sits on top of the ongoing day-to-day challenges of running creative and effective campaigns that reach the right people and managing the rise in digital spend in a way that complies with new regulatory requirements and meets consumer demands on privacy and ethical behaviour.
So what is the biggest challenge facing the function? We put that question to the judging panel who will help select the 2022 WFA Global Marketer of the Year.
Reconciling creativity and effectiveness
Mikimasa Hamamatsu, General Manager, Global Brand Engagement & Global Brand Experience at Nissan, says the challenge remains combining creativity and effectiveness.
“How we can find the intersection of creativity and effectiveness (and data), creating experiences that are meaningful for our consumers in the age of ‘winning for attention’ (a world with an explosion of content).”
Balancing the short and long-term goals
Alyssa Fenoglio, Global Head of Marketing Excellence at Sanofi, argues that the priority should be finding the right balance between short and long-term goals.
“Attaining the optimal balance between delivering short-term results, expected by organizations vs. equipping our brands and marketers for long-term growth through multifaceted topics such as sustainability, creativity and advanced digital/data."
For Ron Lund, President of the Association of Canadian Advertisers, it is also about reducing the emphasis on short-term strategy. “Brands should invest for the long term."
Securing C-suite buy-in
Eloísa Moscardó, Head of Marketing, Santander Bank, was one of the many to highlight the need to ensure that marketing is positioned - and recognised - a driver of growth and business advantage.
“Connecting marketing with the corporate strategy of companies and making it a key aspect of our competitive advantage. Data-driven marketing forms a key aspect of this change."
Matt Scheckner, Global CEO at Advertising Week, echoed this and highlighted the need to educate the C-Suite.
“The ongoing battle – irrespective of technology as a driver of change – is to ensure CEOs and CFOs understand and appreciate the positive impact of marketing as a growth driver. Building and growing brands and deploying the amplifier of marketing across channels is what creates long-term value and short-term boosts to business.”
Riikka-Maria Lemminki, Managing Director, Marketing Finland, took a similar line, arguing that the big challenge is to resist cuts to marketing budgets and make the case for growing share in a declining market.
“In many companies, CEOs are looking for savings by cutting marketing budgets when it should be just the opposite. Decreasing markets offer brands the possibility to grow their market share; if you don’t act, your competitors will.”
Too much data
Robin Seasock, CEO of Decideware, argues that getting your strategic approach to business intelligence right will lead to faster, smarter decisions.
“The biggest challenge facing marketing today is being able to use business intelligence to inform strategic and operational decisions. There is so much data everywhere… in fact, there is too much data for enterprises to get their arms around. Savvy marketers are taking a strategic approach to being able to use business intelligence to make more informed decisions faster.”
A world of uncertainty
Bobby Simborio, Executive Director of PANA, which represents advertisers in the Philippines, says the biggest challenge is to identify the opportunity in adversity and ‘chaos’ of the current situation.
“Pivoting to the changes that the current adversities brought and are still bringing. Marketers should embrace these changes and focus on enabling human connections, online and offline. They should start thinking about the opportunities these years of ‘chaos’ can provide to their brands.”