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Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

The latest iProspect study found that one in four marketers consider expanding commerce capabilities as the biggest challenge for 2021, in turn highlighting how shoppable media can help brands bridge the gap between inspiration and transaction, and the opportunities offered by the emergence of assisted commerce.


The Future Focus 2021 report includes practical advice and guidance for marketers including the suggestion that organizations try to build and maintain an accurate picture of their commerce capabilities across five key dimensions: desirability, availability, findability, buyability and repeatability.


It also advises that in the battle for attention, brands should consider factoring attention into their media optimization and measurement efforts to elevate the impact and efficiency of their media investment. On the data front, companies should embrace the new privacy-conscious world by re-evaluating the value exchange they offer to their audiences and anticipate technological changes to minimize business disruption.


Of the marketers polled (over 200 globally), 61% believe building a highly convenient experience for the consumer is the most powerful lever to generate business growth, with assisted commerce as one of the most efficient ways for brands and retailers to engage with online shoppers. Ultimately, the tactic helps advertisers hone in on a true in-store experience through conversation, listening to the consumers, and iterating on their needs.


The problem? Although marketers want their ads to receive undivided consumer attention, Dentsu’s research shows that more often than not the opposite is true. The report indicates partial ad exposure at best, with so-called peripheral viewing making up the majority of consumer ad attention, making a strong argument for context.


For example, the report states that when compared with in-feed social videos and pre-roll videos on mobile, commercials seen on TV deliver the most volume of attention in terms of most seconds played. Alternatively, they also have a higher avoidance rate – people walking away from the TV – than pre-roll and in-feed videos on mobile.


Data usage is also prominent, with the report stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed disparities between brands when it comes to data maturity. There are clear differences between industry categories able to leverage their customer data and the ones with deficits in direct access to customers due to intermediation.


As a result, according to a Dentsu COVID-19 Global Client Survey, more than 40% of respondents in the finance and insurance sector have increased their CRM activity to respond to the consequences of the crisis. Only around 20% in the FMCG and food and beverage categories have done the same.


Data protection is high on the list of factors to focus on. According to iProspect research, about six out of 10 marketers believe they will need to invest long-term in their ad tech (57%) and data (61%) capabilities in the aftermath of the pandemic. Used improperly, data can backfire and seriously hurt the brand credibility and business: 65% of consumers whose data were compromised in a data breach declare they stopped doing business with the company involved.


iProspect’s Future Focus 2021 report is based on the proprietary omnibus survey: iProspect, 2020 Global Client Survey of 202 marketers from Oct. to Nov. 2020.


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Published in Media in Canada on April 12, 2021