6 Brand Leaders Offer Their 2020 Predictions

Throw a brick and you’ll hit a 2020 marketing prognosticator, but in a way there’s only one cohort whose predictions matter in this industry: the marketer, who sets strategy and writes all the checks. So we asked six leading brand marketers the following question:

"What will be the biggest challenge and opportunity for marketers in 2020?"

Click below or scroll down for their answers.

Ed Macri, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Wayfair

"Biggest opportunity for marketers: personalization and machine learning. Biggest challenge for marketers: personalization and machine learning.

Marketers have an opportunity to further embrace machine learning techniques, for example, integrating computer vision into traditional recommendation models to create highly personalized and relevant experiences for shoppers. This will help customers discover items that match the looks they love with style-driven recommendations, bringing a personal touch to the shopping journey. This is particularly important for categories such as home and fashion, which are visual in nature and driven by inspiration.

The challenge is to not only build and integrate the different recommendation models, but also to deploy them outside the scope of traditional product recommendations, and across all platforms and channels. Neither of these is a small feat from a technology standpoint. By integrating computer vision powered recommendations throughout the entire customer journey, brands can create both a helpful and inspirational experience for shoppers at every step."

Charisse Hughes, Chief Marketing Officer, Pandora Americas

"Today, brand identity is non-negotiable. As marketers in 2020, our biggest challenge and opportunity will continue to be staying relevant to consumers we want to connect with. Brands need to be credibly engaged in culture and also lead with a higher purpose – a reason to exist in the universe beyond tangible elements.

Consumers are no longer looking for just quality products. They are buying into the purpose, experience and lifestyle that reflect their passions and values. When we as marketers lose sight of that, we are set up for failure."

Joshua Nafman, Head of Global Media Buying and Operations, Diageo

"The biggest challenge for marketers in 2020 will be navigating the tension that exists between the desire for personalization at scale and an individual's right to control where, how and by whom their data is used, going beyond legislative requirements and into ethical ones. Key topics will be diversity in media, bias in algorithms/keyword-based lists and value exchange for consent in data usage.

The biggest opportunity for marketers in 2020 is to clearly define their ethical standards in media and then hold the tension internally and with the largest and most powerful platforms, publishers, technologies and data providers. Driving these organizations to do the right thing by the people that are the life blood of their business is good business because responsible media performs."

Trace Rutland, Digital Hub Director, Ocean Spray

"2020 won’t see any of the big problems, such as ad fraud, the cookie crisis or the disparate privacy laws, solved. All those will still be huge challenges for marketers. Though if I were going to bet, the combination of the economy and the election might throw the biggest wrench into 2020.

Streaming video in all its forms will open up the biggest opportunities. Fragmentation should peak and then resolve itself, the audience will grow bigger and faster in 2020. I am thinking the player that will surprise us will be Pluto TV. It is very likely that we will see Amazon’s Prime Video pull out ahead of Netflix."

Belinda Smith, Head of Global Marketing Intelligence, EA

"The challenge for 2020 is getting back to collaboration. 2019 was the year of the controversial headline. Abusive pitch RFPsIn-housing as the agency antidotePublic shaming of the walled-garden platforms. Women and minorities being systematically excluded. Total bullshit. We all need each other so let’s figure out how to make it work.

The biggest opportunity for 2020 will be: To Tell the Truth®. We finally have a tipping point of marketers who are questioning our obsession with 1:1, addressable, everything, hourly campaign optimizations and partners with infinite scale and inexhaustible inventory. This year, let’s just be honest about what works and what’s hype. Have we learned nothing from the Fyre Fest pitch deck?!"

Josh Palau, VP, Media Strategy, Platforms and Creative, Bayer

"In-housing continues, but evolves. Companies that are trying to go all in will really assess if that makes sense as it is a tremendous amount of work. However, many will adopt a model that brings in senior experts with tactical experience that will develop operating frameworks, educate their organizations, and hold partners more accountable. On the creative side the need for more custom creative at scale will push companies to develop a model that is integrated with brand teams and delivers creative faster and more cost effectively. This may not require hiring creative talent but finding a way to get the right talent on site and embedded.

More people at the table. Companies will look to move faster at uncovering opportunities and increasing digital expertise and will want to either have direct relationships with external platforms or bring them to the table with their agencies. They want to understand the data that’s available and figure out how to use it vs. relying on a black box solution. Companies will demand more transparent collaboration across partners to deliver against their business objectives."

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