Is the Marketing Pendulum Swinging in the Right Direction?

By Mitchell Gordon

Today, it's no question that brand marketers and advertisers recognize the value of smart digital advertising. In fact, digital advertising is well on trend to exceed 60 percent of global ad spend by the end of this year, according to Zenith Media. Although performance marketing is all the rage, it hasn't necessarily been hitting its stride in the way it once did.

Riddled with obstacles like a looming recession and high inflation, performance marketing is being challenged in ways not seen before, especially since customer acquisition costs are up and digital advertising effectiveness is down. For the first time in a long time, there's an opportunity for the marketing pendulum to swing away from digital and back toward the traditional advertising efforts — like billboards or truckside advertising — we all knew and loved from the Mad Men era. The industry is at this unique inflection point in which there are now smarter measurement tools at advertisers' disposal, ones with the power to gather insights on customer behavior and buying patterns, no matter the form of advertisement.

Preparing for the Intersection of Old and New

Whether a digital or physical advertising-focused media plan, what matters is if ad spend is profitable. The issue is, in 2022, digital advertising spend increased by 20.9 percent to $143.55 billion and will likely surpass $300 billion by 2025, according to eMarketer. Performance is getting more expensive and less profitable as time goes by because of the high prices on strategies such as paid search and paid social.

Basically, brands are flooding the marketplace with performance marketing efforts that are extremely expensive, and don't result in the same customer acquisition return rates that they once brought in. There's now an urgent need for advertising alternatives to the expensive precedent of the overcrowded performance marketing route.

It's time for a resurgence of marketing efforts that work. Because of innovative new tech, 2023 is the unique intersection of time that will likely see brands combining old-school marketing tactics with new-school technology into campaigns. New-school tech can be used with traditional advertising tactics like billboards or print ads to provide profitable, measurable data on advertising effectiveness, which is something that hadn't been an option before.

Can't Argue with Data

Regardless of if strategies reach target audiences through contemporary approaches such as influencers or TikTok, using classic ad methods, or incorporating in a mixture of both, data must be at the center of all advertising plans. Data is the best way to determine if marketing and advertising spend increases overall return on investment (ROI).

Convincing clients to make the change to update media strategies is difficult, but it's hard to argue with the data.

Data is the future of advertising because data measurement tools have evolved to the point where even physical advertising can be tracked and analyzed and performance marketing trends and tactics change so quickly that a strong digital advertising strategy today isn't one that will garner results next week.

Whatever the advertising approach, marketers must still think creatively. Ad budgets are already tight so advertisers must plan accordingly to combat inflation prices and the threat of recession, especially in advance of this holiday season where inflation rates have risen 9.1 percent since last year, as reported by Bloomberg, which is the largest gain since 1981. No ad spend should be wasted on strategies that don't work.

Enhancing Attribution and Impact

The key to a campaign's success is to enhance attribution and impact. The simplest way to take it to the next level is through finding that sweet spot at the intersection of new school technology and old school, traditional advertising efforts.

So where do we go from here? Don't get stuck with ad budgets that only incorporate digital advertising — Think creatively and use data to back up your claims. New school tech and old school advertising methods offer the sweet spot to get your brand in front of consumers in an authentic way that increases ROI.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Mitchell Gordon is the CEO of Adgile Media Group.