Despite weathering the pandemic and initially seeing the green shoots of recovery, the worsening global economic situation will likely see many CMOs once again fighting hard for every penny of spend. Three-quarters of advertisers say their 2023 budget decisions will be influenced by the recession and for a third, this will mean a decrease in spending this year, while around 40% will only maintain a similar level of spend.
But as the pandemic showed, blindly cutting ad spend in a crisis does not help brands in the long term. Brands will need to tread a fine line in order to successfully navigate the 12 months – and potentially longer – of financial crisis, balancing savings cuts with the need to reach consumers.
For this tightrope walk to succeed, brands will need to be agile with their media spend, and with a watchful eye monitor its performance. And for this they need clean data.
Digging into Data
Data is the backbone of all marketing decision making. While creativity is rightly prized, when it comes to the crunch – marketers need to be able to rely on data in order to make the most effective decisions on their media spend.
The issue for global brands is that this data can be hard to reach. Collected from local teams spread all over the world, media data is stored in various systems, with varying taxonomies, languages and currencies.
When this is ingested by global teams, data becomes a tangle of spreadsheets, leading to data loss, duplication and separation in silos – ultimately muddying any potential insights. Answering even the most simple questions – such as exactly where the budget has been spent – can become a time and labour consuming task, often taking weeks.
No global brand can afford to face down the incoming financial storm without fingertip access to clean media data. But with so many moving parts, achieving a birds-eye view of media data is not simple.
Local is King
The power of local teams is often overlooked within global brands. With their in-depth market knowledge and understanding of local nuances, the insights these teams gather are invaluable.
However, the desire from global teams for standardised data can result in top-down implementation of data practices. Not only can this lead to loss of valuable data, but the friction caused by this can cause tensions between local and global marketing teams.
To combat this, the involvement of local teams should be prioritised. While some standardisation is always necessary, data collection should focus on the preservation of local taxonomies to ensure information is not lost and local teams can work in the way that suits them and their market.
With the power of personalisation particularly important for effective targeting, the granular data these local teams offer is invaluable. Culture is the core of all media planning and should likewise be reflected in data. Being able to preserve local culture, through things such as taxonomies, and map these to a global umbrella is the holy grail.
Who, What, Where
As more and more consumer data points have become available, the temptation has been to collect and store as much of this information as possible. The mantra is that data is the new gold.
There is, however, such a thing as too much data. A glut of stats can slow analysis, hiding truly relevant insights buried in the numbers. Data needs to help teams within a brand to build a bigger picture of their effectiveness whether that be data on marketing intelligence, supply chains, staffing or sales data.
Media data is unique in its fragmentation across devices, platforms, channels, countries and more. This adds complexity and nuances that set media data apart from other data sets a brand may hold.
Media audits can be useful in understanding what data is held where, thus increasing visibility, but ultimately brands need to decide what they want to understand from their data, and which different teams need to access and draw insights from it. Start your data journey with the end goal in mind.
Even after an audit, media data can still be left out of touch and obscured for marketers. With the volume of data coming from local teams, it can be lost in silos and data lakes. Data can be hard to access and ever harder to view side-by-side, making it difficult to compare results in different markets.
At the same time, the more hands that this data touches, the harder it is to have clean media data. Data cleaning needs to start at a local level, and this means where possible – Ingesting media plans directly from data sources.
Media data needs to be viewed holistically if its power is to be unlocked. Harmonisation can aid this, allowing both global and local marketing teams to have rapid access to real-time information. The technological power of data management platforms is a vital tool in this task, with their ability to ingest data from a wide range of systems and offer a truly singular view of global media data.
Good media data management is never static. If global brands are going to stay agile, spend their budgets effectively and make cuts while still reaching consumers, constant and rigorous updating of management solutions is vital.
While the impending recession will affect every brand, a clear line of sight on media data can help brands with decision making, better planning and unearthing the marginal improvements that will maximise the effectiveness of marketing spend globally and help campaigns soar.