Navigating Uncertainty: A Media Expert's Guide to Success in 2024
2024 will be pivotal for media advertising as the world deals with significant changes in the societal landscape. Brands, now more than ever, will focus on maximizing efficiency as they navigate this period of uncertainty. Media teams that recognize this shift and can take advantage of it will enjoy outsized results, gain traction with clients, and usher in a new era of productivity. This article provides insights and predictions for media experts to help them maneuver their way to success against the backdrop of a potentially turbulent year.
Forecasting for Uncertain Times
Media professionals find themselves uniquely positioned to address their clients' and stakeholders' growing concerns about the economy, not just as service providers but as strategic advisors. To do this, you'll need to understand the larger media picture, from industry to industry, and know how to adapt and reinvent strategies in response to changes in the economic environment.
Addressing Client Concerns
Let's start with this: Knowing how industry sectors respond to economic shifts (i.e., which become more bullish or cautious) enables media experts to build tailored strategies that address specific concerns. Having that kind of subject knowledge instills confidence in clients by demonstrating awareness of market forecasts, historical data, trends, and the ability to shape a resilient path forward.
Want to know what else people appreciate from their media partners when the economic landscape changes? Adaptability. Because concerned clients prompt sudden shifts in focus, redirection of efforts, and reinvention of strategies. Embracing change becomes an essential piece of not just weathering hard times but thriving in them.
Most [brands] kept their budget flat in 2024 instead of the typical 15-20% annual increase. Melissa Chase
For the technology B2B space, traditional media strategies will face challenges this year. We’re already seeing it. This sector is facing the cascading effect of a hesitant client base, limiting media budgets and necessitating a more nuanced approach. To that end, emphasize testing and learning as a necessity to navigate the challenges you'll run into during this period.
Other sectors, like banking and healthcare, will also experience a pullback as uncertainty looms. It’s worth mentioning that one area that has stayed steady is higher education. However, this sector will likely remain flat in the face of economic shifts, so it’s not likely to grow either.
The All Important E Word
Efficiency will take center stage this year as industry leaders discuss how to continue driving client programs despite the precarious environment. With such a spotlight on it, you'll want to confirm your strategies for efficiency align with client benchmarks and deliver results that, ideally, exceed expectations.
Driving Efficiency for Clients
Remember that these strategies often change between B2B to B2C verticals. So, resist the urge to employ a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, consider the user journey and industry specifics every time. You also can't neglect how much premium content plays into efficiency. Of course, you ideally strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and the value you get from exceptional placements. But you can't deny that premium content has the unique ability to elevate a brand and drive qualified leads, improving efficiency along the way.
Speaking of leads, consider diversifying your strategic approach to lead generation. Do so by challenging yourself to understand — and build a media mix that supports — the whole customer journey beyond just when they become leads. Recognize the value of different types of touchpoints. This allows for continuous prospecting that keeps your pipeline full without hitting a point of diminishing returns on your efforts. Adopting this holistic perspective that looks beyond immediate returns should improve customer engagement.
And you’ll do that learning about your customer through acquiring first-party data. There are plenty of managed service partners you can work with — based on the audience niche you want to reach — that offer valuable audience insights, especially in an era dominated by cookie-less browsers. Their data will show where your clients are when you want to engage with them.
Insightful Media Buying
When building the rest of your media buying strategy, continue using a research-driven approach that emphasizes understanding customer conversations and market dynamics. Plenty of tools like Meltwater and NetBase provide media professionals with the insights to spot that needle in the haystack prospect and serve them up the right message.
You also can't have a conversation about efficiency without touching on budget optimization. And where you'll want to start there is aligning your marketing and sales goals. Make sure they're measuring lead quality the same way. When that happens — collaboration between those teams — you paint a more comprehensive picture of what is and isn't working, giving you a better sense of where to optimize.
Spend more to place ads in locations that really match the premium image your brand is aiming for. Melissa Chase
Strategies to Pursue
Now that we’ve addressed ways to improve efficiency for your clients let’s switch gears to discuss strategies worth exploring to help your advertising efforts have an impact in what is bound to be a loud and crowded year.
- The Power of Authentic Marketing
This may seem obvious, but your go-to marketing strategy should revolve around being real. Making your marketing authentic may require a fundamental reimagining of your value proposition. And that can be frustrating. But it's just as frustrating for potential customers who encounter empty, emotionless, and jargon-laden ad copy. So, start with passion when developing your marketing materials to ensure your messaging aligns with the core values you ardently espouse.
- Gaining Mindshare in a Political Storm
Now, there's a lot about how the economy will perform in 2024 that we can't be sure about yet. But, what we can count on is the political landscape making a lot of noise in media and advertising. To combat this, you should continue to emphasize the importance of emotional connections and, you guessed, authentic marketing because breaking through the cluttered online environment demands more than just optimization. It takes content that invokes genuine passion for your brand. In a world of news, connecting with authenticity becomes your best tool.
- Embracing Creativity
In an era where campaigns are meticulously optimized for incremental gains, the real game-changer becomes creativity. The right creative deliverables in the market can outshine the most optimized campaigns, creating a 100% increase in impact. So, what's the secret to getting your hands on quality messaging and design? We recommend embracing creative iterations and speaking to your audience individually. If you do that, you should see your advertising efforts soar.
What's more, as the industry anticipates shifts in the cost of advertising, the power of creativity remains paramount. Creativity not only defies stagnation but also renders generic campaigns flat. Again, the takeaway is for a dynamic approach that prioritizes creative iterations, audience segmentation, and a commitment to testing and measurement.
Now, a handful of strategies and tactics get overlooked for more common ones. But exploring these oft-neglected options is worth exploring because they can access untapped potential out of your advertising efforts.
- Looking Beyond the Bottom of the Funnel
Ever feel like you're overly fixated on the bottom of the funnel, pouring resources into the least populated area? If so, you're not alone. It's a common pitfall that many advertisers fall into. The truth is, your Cost Per Mille (CPM) is likely soaring down there. As you navigate how to improve your advertising efforts, consider broadening your perspective.
- Rethinking Prospecting
Start with prospecting. It might seem like an old-school approach, but it's a foundational strategy often overlooked. Allocate resources to creative prospecting, strategically placing ads, enticing people to your website, and then remarketing to them. This will expand your audience base and ensure a more cost-effective approach to engagement.
- Harnessing the Power of First-Party Data
We started to touch on this earlier in the article, but it's worth further discussion: In a media environment where the power of cookies continues to depreciate, knowing how to leverage first-party data becomes an invaluable asset. And that is what's happening. So, if you're wondering whether you're currently doing enough to tap into the power of first-party data, that probably means there's more you can be doing. Whether with internal teams or agency partners, start the conversation of how you can unlock this goldmine of client data, set milestones, and watch it strengthen your results.
- Prioritize Collaboration
While we're on the topic of starting dialogues, don't let collaboration take a back seat to the rest of your planning and strategizing. There's no overstating the value of minds coming together, sharing insights, and collectively brainstorming. Again, whether this happens with your internal teams or agency partners, the synergy created by this collaborative 'mind-melting' approach enhances the effectiveness of your advertising.
Full funnel matters. So many advertisers pump money into the the bottom of the funnel where there are the least number of humans and the most expensive CPMsBrooke Weller
Overlooking the Basics
When you work in media and advertising, it's easy to get caught up in the allure of innovation and grand ideas. But don't forget about or underestimate the power of mastering the basics. Checking off the boxes of best practices is fundamental before trying out new strategies. If you are guilty of overlooking the basics in the name of exploring groundbreaking ideas, take a step back, ensure your foundation is solid, and watch how seemingly small moves can make a big difference.
As 2024 unfolds, the world of media advertising sphere stands at the crossroads of societal shifts and economic uncertainties. Brands are primed to maximize efficiency, recognizing the pivotal nature of this year. It will take foundationally sound media experts who embrace research and a holistic approach to their craft to successfully navigate this time. But as is often the case during these periods, there's plenty of opportunity amidst the changes to our industry.