Amid an ever-changing marketing landscape facing financial uncertainty, shifting customer behaviors, and new regulations to follow, marketers must remain flexible without losing their brand identity. An uncertain outlook means that the traditional annual marketing roadmap doesn’t offer the same utility.
Marketing in 2024 will require a short-term approach, using high-level goals to feed quarter-by-quarter, or even month-to-month plans. Brands must now activate short-term marketing efforts that are effective in reaching brand objectives and KPIs. This means strategizing, executing, and measuring success against completely different timelines. This level of flexibility also means taking more risks and experimenting with new media channels and creative storytelling to both improve customer experiences and reach new audiences.
The goals are obvious, but the path forward is less clear. How do marketers adapt and thrive at a time where short burst efforts are the norm, not the exception? The key comes to understanding and assessing the components needed for each push, including strategy, media planning & buying, data, and measurement – all while not losing sight of one’s larger brand goals.
Shifting strategies require careful planning
Uncertainty shouldn’t be a new obstacle to marketers. Many adopted a short-burst approach in 2023, whether they intended to or not. When planning for ’23, many brands did not commit to an annual budget, and as a result they needed to move budgets around, reforecast frequently, and adjusted as needed. While this may have felt difficult over the course of the past year, brands can take what they learned and apply it to 2024 planning.
Rather than the reactive approach that 2023 brought, brands can be more proactive in planning around these short-burst campaigns. That planning starts now, in the budgeting process. Brands need to anticipate nimble staffing and executing on tight timelines. They also need to ensure that budget is available and able to move up and down as needed. These early conversations require input from the finance teams on when and where budget cushions are available, which helps formulate a better timeline of when short-bursts are best executed.
Of course, it remains critical to monitor business results. Yet a focused short-burst approach is a great way to sustainably manage resources and plan around shifting factors.
The 4 key components of a short burst plan.
Preparation starts with understanding the core periods – pre, during and post – of a campaign that brand marketers need to own to achieve success. This includes having the right areas of focus and the right partners.
Change can force brands to deviate their strategy throughout the course of the year and consider new channels, budget allocation, creative messaging, and more. The good news is that brands don’t need to (or at least shouldn’t try to) do this all by themselves.
Agencies are perhaps more important than ever in gauging the media landscape and using media relationships to build out and execute new plans at a moment’s notice. There is also a growing market of consultants and specialists that can help brands break into new and emerging channels. In order to execute flexibility, brands need to assemble a team that can help guide them. The key is to ensure new campaigns and channels always tie back into your brand goals and identity.
2. Compliant Audiences
Easily engaging with the right audience in the right channel is more important than ever. With new data privacy laws and regulations continuously being enacted by states across the country, privacy and compliance have never been more important. Every brand needs an overarching audience strategy and policy that will guide them on an ongoing basis. But they also need the ability to flex and adapt as new laws come on the books and new enforcement measures come into view. Data and privacy are not a one-time, set it and forget it thing. Brands need an overarching strategy they commit to, while also ensuring everything from audiences, creative messaging, and policies are adhering to the latest legal requirements.
3. Media planning & buying
For years, the advertising industry has been shifting towards more flexible ad buying strategies built around optimization. This has been especially true in digital, but we’re now seeing the same strategy emerge in OOH and TV advertising. Advertisers will now need to optimize across channels, rather than simply within each channel itself. In addition to the ad-buying tools that many brands and their agencies deploy, it’s critical for brands to build closer connections to publishers, streaming platforms, and influencers as they build out their capabilities. This environment also brings opportunity to win at the negotiation table for advertisers exploring various cross-channel opportunities that the sell side is willing to discount. Pay attention to seasonal shifts and new cultural moments that arise during the year.
Of course, the key to optimizing across channels is accurate measurement that demonstrates how each channel contributes to marketing success. Measurement has always been the holy grail of marketing, but there are more options than ever for cross-channel currencies that can tie outcomes back to campaign efforts. The more that brands invest in measurement this year, the more adept they will become in executing the short burst campaigns that 2024 requires.
A winning campaign
While marketers can’t dictate the economy, they need to remember what they actually have control over. This includes pulling back on acquisition and leaning into existing and inactive customer engagement during lean times. The world at large is changing rapidly, and brands have learned to respond to those changes over the past several years. Next year will be a major test, but brands that prepare the right components are most likely to win.
Alliant is ready to help brands and agencies address these opportunities and beyond in 2024! Want to learn more about how our cookieless, omnichannel data can help you? Reach out today.