It’s clear that the loosening of restrictions is having a positive impact on both last quarter’s spend and forecasts into next year and beyond, but we recognise the caution from some brands with ‘lingering uncertainties’, especially as we head into winter and Christmas with ongoing supply chain issues.
The key to beating uncertainty is agility, and that agility must be supported by timely, robust and reliable data to help brands make confident decisions about where to channel spend both strategically and tactically.
There are numerous ways data can support decision-making, from monitoring and forecasting macro and micro trends, at a market, category and consumer level, and simulating multiple scenarios to narrow your options and identify a series of potential options, to long- and short-term marketing measurement using econometrics, attribution and experimental methods combined to set both the budget and marketing strategy.
Each method alone has its shortcomings, but by triangulating multiple methods, and, most importantly, developing a common framework for measurement and analysis, all decisions can then be taken within the same context.
Making data available for use in models can be a huge challenge, as can ensuring you are set-up operationally and culturally to use it. Things like a shared language throughout the business are critical, for example, ensuring when we say what our ROI is, it means the same thing to everyone.
But with a solid foundation in place, you can be more confident in what the data is telling you and consequently more confident in your decisions, ensuring optimal use of budget.
In a world of ongoing change, increased competition, new and different ways of working, doing business and shopping and a Christmas looming with supply chain worries, it’s essential brands are able to respond quickly and with courage backed by assurance. Without data, agility can become flip-flopping based on gut feel.
You don’t have to start big, or wait forever for the perfect solution either. So if data isn’t already at the heart of your marketing decisions, it can absolutely take the heat out of uncertainty and avoid the traps of short-termism. All businesses take punts, it’s about making sure they’re the right ones.
The burden of an annual plan must become a thing of the past. The last two years have tested marketers’ ability to respond quickly to changes. Brands must invest in forecasting, scenario planning and analytical frameworks to make sure they are better protected and more able to adjust as needed, whether that’s to the ongoing impact of hybrid working on OOH advertising, global market disparities, or the technological changes in digital advertising.
Read more about how to use data to support agility in our whitepaper, Beyond Uncertainty.