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Smarter ways with your marketing budget

09 January, 2023 Reading: 2:51 mins
Sarah Reakes

By Sarah

There is no doubt that advertising and the way we reach prospects has changed in the last five years. I don’t want to be the Grinch here, but could this be the end for traditional approaches to marketing, including the Big Christmas TV Advert?

Smarter ways with your marketing budget

On the one hand, TV-industry fears seem justified: two-thirds of the UK’s biggest advertisers recently confirmed that they are once again cutting back significantly on traditional TV advertising. To us the writing has been on the wall for linear TV for years, so this isn’t a surprise. But there are other factors at play here.

Firstly, we all still watch a lot of TV but of course most of us watch on demand, so a lot of these big advertisers are actually increasing spend where all those eyeballs have migrated in recent years: platforms such as ITV X and All 4. So all may not be lost for the Big TV Ad.

Secondly, while there is strong research showing brands that keep overall spend up weather recessions better and emerge stronger, (30% of these advertisers seem to agree and say brand building campaigns remain a priority) budgets may be shrinking overall for some. This may mean big, single-audience or brand campaigns that are months in the planning become be an endangered species as the budget razors come out.

Thirdly, and this is the big one: for years now there have been smarter ways to spend marketing budgets. Media targeting and measurement have of course become far, far more precise in recent years. As everything from your phone to your TV to outdoor billboards has got smarter, lots of channels now offer marketers much tighter targeting and more rapid feedback than they could previously: a huge leap in accuracy from that big ad on traditional linear programming, and of course the big-brand marketing teams know this. As a client these newer media buys combine well with quick-response and social-driven campaigns and give clearer, more rapid data on whether your message is being seen and more options for two-way engagement than you could get even five years ago.

We’re big fans of clear KPIs and measurement, and these other platforms offer that. They are also quicker to respond to changes, and 2022 showed us a lot can change in a year: it’s hard to believe that this time last year Boris Johnson was PM, there was no war in Ukraine and the Bank of England base rate was below 1%.

So what does this all mean? Well, some things never change: marketers need a clear strategy and a stable budget, and there will always be a case for broader brand-building campaigns especially in a recession. But budget pressure and other factors mean more than ever, marketers need precise data on who you wish to reach and why, and should demand rapid, granular feedback on how effective campaigns are.

Once upon a time the Big Christmas Ad was smart marketing. In 2023 unless you are John Lewis or another huge consumer brand, I think the era of the Big Christmas Ads is over, but the era of smarter marketing is just getting going.

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