Matthew Keegan
Jan 19, 2024

How marketers will manage spend in 2024

2024 is expected to be another year of tight budgets. In an era of volatility and recession concerns, Campaign asks how will marketers do more with less?

How marketers will manage spend in 2024
It seems that marketers are always expected to execute more tasks with less resources nowadays. But given that most businesses are beginning to feel the pinch of economic realities and that inflation is still expected to remain persistently high, it's logical to assume that marketers have been and will continue to operate on restricted budgets in 2024.
 
Furthermore, the pandemic's ominous cloud continues to loom over the marketing sector, bringing with it high interest rates, ongoing inflationary pressures, and an overall worsening global economic picture. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. According to WARC research, 61% of marketers are optimistic that business will improve in 2024, despite economic concerns.
 
The platforms that are anticipated to see the largest gains in marketing spending in 2024 are TikTok and YouTube. While fewer marketers (only 11%, compared to 47% last year) expect to increase investment in the metaverse, a third of marketers (31%) expect to decrease investments in X (formerly Twitter).
 
Will things like Google phasing out third-party cookies this year have any impact on spend plans? Will certain areas feel the pinch more than others? Or rather than cutting back spends, will some continue to invest in building capabilities to ensure growth in the long term?
 
Campaign spoke to marketers across the region to find out how they will control spend in the year ahead.
 
Paul Waller
Chief investment officer APAC, MAGNA
We have no plans to cut back but, as ever within IPG Mediabrands, there will be a review of the optimal media mix—as wherever consumer eyeballs go, advertising spend follows.
 
Video will continue as the dominant media format, it’s just which device being used for the communication that is up for grabs. Connected TV, OTT and retail/commerce media offerings will grow, as they offer an intrinsic connection with personal behaviors and addressability. Powered by digitalisation, OOH will continue its bounce back. But the streaming wars will be the main battlefield, as advertising inventory and opportunities expand, and it seems likely to see a spate of M&As in this space.
 
As for things like Google phasing out third-party cookies, as the rollout is planned to be gradual, it may only have a limited effect on ad spend first of all. However, it will likely be transformative in years to come, with the Privacy Sandbox initiative appearing to favour the success of (or collaboration with) large platforms.
 
Many media vendors are adopting a watch and wait policy. But what is critical for all marketers is a constant appraisal of targeting, outcomes and a relentless focus on identifying the hardest working media, as new behaviours and interoperability materialises. 
 
Jan-Paul Jeffrey

Head of marketing, SEA, Spotify
Our focus remains on optimising our marketing campaigns by leveraging our Marketing Mix Model. This guides us in making data-driven decisions, enabling us to allocate our resources more efficiently across various media channels based on impact on the business. We aim to have a “Kaizen mentality" (a strategy in which all employees work together to create a strong culture of constant improvement) as a team to enhance our campaign effectiveness continually. As a team, we thoroughly review all spending areas and challenge ourselves to solve business challenges in more efficient and creative ways.
 
Meanwhile, the digital advertising landscape has undergone significant changes lately, such as Google's decision to phase out third-party cookies. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers, who must continually adapt to these changes. At Spotify, we leverage first-party data and contextual targeting to reach our audience effectively while exploring privacy-compliant options such as clean rooms. This is a chance to innovate and explore new ways to engage with our audience, ensuring that our marketing efforts drive meaningful business results.
 
Gereld Khoong
Head of strategy for Havas Media Network Singapore
Rather than cutting back spends, we will be continuing to invest in building capabilities, while taking an approach of marketing agility and nimbleness in all that we do. In such times, we need to be ever-ready to adjust and adapt at speed to the market realities and opportunities as they unfold.  
 
In spite of challenges & volatility, we will still continue to see advancements in technology and a rise in the attention economy. With these opportunities in place, our goal in 2024 is to remain focused on investing aggressively behind specific growth pillars that will drive a meaningful difference to brands and businesses such as Havas Play (a culture-forward specialised solution that harnesses the power of fans, passions, entertainment, influencers, experiential marketing & activation), Havas Market (e-commerce and omni-channel retail solutions), and Havas Converged (building a strong data solutioning to help marketers navigate around data privacy and continue to augment marketing precision).  
 
For Google's phasing out of third-party cookies, while some brands might predict a need to increase their spending to achieve the same goals, the reality is that the phase-out just requires a little out-of-the-box thinking. In that vein, we’re adopting a approach we call PUSH:
 
Partnerships with data brokers—supplement a client’s existing first-party data
Unification of data—provides a secure space for the sharing of data
Sharing sessions (on Privacy Sandbox)—hosted jointly by Havas and Google
Harness new product and services—lean into contextual targeting and A.I.
 
Interestingly, doing away with the reliance will push marketers and advertisers to stay innovative and get creative in the wake of this disablement. From that perspective, there are many opportunities to help bring about greater value for our clients and partners alike, ensuring we consistently help achieve win-win situations for both. 
 
Richard Brosgill
CEO, APAC, Assembly
While there is no intention to cut back, we will be more deliberate in our spending priorities this year—ensuring that we continue to invest in the areas that will allow us to best help our clients navigate through change in the competitive, consumer, tech or economic landscape. This has led us to three key areas of investment:
 
Continued investments in strengthening our data and consultancy teams: As more brands look towards strengthening their first-party data capabilities, we continue to grow our data consultancy team and solutions across the region to better support our clients on their journey towards data maturity. Furthermore, brands have a growing appetite to understand their customers on a deeper level which has triggered a need for more advanced data solutions that allow them to explore various aspects of the customer journey in greater detail. 
 
Extending our tool suite: 2023 was a landmark year for our tech development with significant strides made to further advance our proprietary technology, STAGE, as we built many more applications on top for our clients and teams to leverage. Our appetite is larger than ever to continue in this direction and extend our suite of global and local tools. 2024 will see a new version of our tech with continued exploration in AI and how we can leverage the tech as an enabler for our talent.
 
Increased commitment to developing our people: Underpinning all of this is the necessity to continue to inspire, develop and support our people, especially in times of uncertainty. We look to ramp up our talent development through continued investments into new L&D programs, expanding our Assembly Academy program and improving our employee engagement initiatives to ensure that our talent remains the best-in-class to help our clients navigate change.
 
Meanwhile, we have been pre-empting and preparing our clients for the eventual phasing out of Google’s third-party cookies over the past several years since it was announced. With visibility and measurement at risk, we have been proactively working with our clients to ensure they understand the alternative solutions available to address this gap, therefore securing their confidence in Google. The true impact is still being assessed but this alone will not determine our spending changes, our focus remains on prioritising for impact in line with our clients' strategy and their overarching business objectives.
 
Pankaj Nayak
Managing director, media group, dentsu Singapore
We have been focused on investing in key areas such as product, talent development and measurement since early 2023, and 2024 will be no different.
 
People are our key asset and we will not compromise on investing in their development. Growth will also come from boosting our capabilities, and as such, we will continue to invest in product development, research and data to enhance the integrated offering that we take to our clients. 
 
We do expect clients to double down on delivering maximum impact for their spends this year through investments in measuring impact and long-term value creation. This will translate to long term investments centred on Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM), multi-touch attribution and lifetime value creation. Therefore, we will be working closely with our clients to maximise business value by regularising the use of AI, machine learning, as well as retail digital media.
 
Nikita Mishra contributed to this story.
Source:
Campaign Asia

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