20 marketing thought leaders share insights for 2020

Heather Tang / February 2020

It’s the start of a new year — and a new decade. For marketers, it’s also a time to think big. We asked some of Canada’s marketing thought leaders to share what’s top-of-mind for their teams in 2020.

Taking a personal and more inclusive approach

“The biggest opportunity for 2020 is inclusive marketing — understanding who your customers are and then representing them in your campaigns. For us, it means showcasing women of all ages, ethnicities and sizes on our website, in our advertising and the staff at our retail stores, so our customers see people representative of them. Thanks to digital media, companies are no longer reliant on a single mass message to convey their offering, but instead have the opportunity to tell an array of customer stories."

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“In a time where the average attention span is four seconds, personalization, relevancy and human connection wins. Helping our customers feel more confident starts with connecting with them on their terms — and in many cases before they even express their need.”

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“More than ever, brands need to meet consumers on their TERMs— offering brand Transparency, Empathy and Relevance at the right Moment.”

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“Over my marketing career, I've proudly claimed to be a responsible brand 'custodian.’ We're fiercely proud of our 56 years of heritage and want to maintain the magic that has made us one of the most trusted brands. Yet we’re also undergoing a transformation. We want to be the brand that inspires healthy habits for everyone. We're seeing that what resonates most, is when we invite others to tell their story. The more we relinquish the narrative, the more relevant we become. You can call it diversity, authenticity, credibility... all we know is that when we invite ‘non-custodians’ to tell their story, the magic continues.”

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“Make it personal and make it easy. Today’s consumers don’t just want their products fast — they want to be able to get information about them quickly. A special focus for marketers in 2020 will be on taking care of consumers post-purchase, so loyalty programs must be front-and-centre to help build lifetime value with customers.”

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The future of privacy and data

“Savvy marketers are thinking about integrating martech and ad tech, plus underlying data, to support more intelligent resource allocation and marketing mix optimization.”

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2020 is going to be all about using our rich customer data to inspire more personalized, human content and spot-on media placement.”

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Data. The ethical use of data and how it’s acquired by brands, publishers and marketers to ensure a true value exchange with the consumer to drive business results.”

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“How will the trend towards user privacy evolve and how will it affect marketers, advertisers, publishers and consumers?”

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Finding the right voice for the future

“The battle for voice rages on. Brands need to rethink everything. Voice search is now replacing keyword data.”

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“By 2020, half of all searches will be made by voice. With voice searches varying greatly from text searches for the same query, marketers will be reconsidering their brand-building and SEM strategies.”

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“The app economy has rapidly changed the way people get entertainment and information. Marketing planning has not changed significantly enough to reflect the consumer shift. In 2020, there is no choice. Keep calm and advertise on is, simply, not an option.”

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Meeting your customers in the moments that matter

“The customer is in charge and marketers must earn every interaction. Customers now expect things like same-day delivery and instant access to brands through social channels. In 2020, the most successful brands will view direct-to-consumer marketing as a mindset, not just a business model — enabling them to think about their relationship with consumers in more nuanced and innovative ways.”

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“Purpose. Big and small. Small as in knowing the purpose of a video we post. And BIG, as in does this work have purpose? We aim to deliver more economic benefits to more people in more parts of Canada. That is a purpose I can jump out of bed for.”

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"In 2020, we’re fully embracing the potential of personalized video ads. The days of ‘one-size-fits-all’ advertising strategies are in the past. Consumers now expect personalization, not only in the content they're served, but also in their ads. Digital platforms do this best, giving marketers the data and insights we need to send the right message to the right audiences, at the right time."

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“As we move from the age of FOMO (fear of missing out) to JOMO (joy of missing out), we’ll see people being more decisive about how they spend their time. As more consumers look for real connections, it could mean the beginning-of-the-end of the influencer trend. Marketers will need to understand where consumers want brands to participate, and the roles they should be playing.”

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“Personalization continues to be a driving force within the digital ecosystem. Consumers are increasingly disengaged and need relevant, meaningful content provided at the right moments. In the fast-moving consumer goods industry, it can be difficult to find ways to connect with consumers and add meaningful value exchange. Brands need to be purposeful in their conversations and measure growth. It’s essential to find ways to inform our decisions through multi-touch attributions, both internal and third-party.”

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Disrupting for digital innovation

“Brands need to think beyond 2020 and position themselves for the future by investing in digital transformation and data. Leaders must ask if they have the right people in place, the right platforms to enable growth, and the right processes to connect them all. If not, it’s time to take action and clear the path to digital maturity.”

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“Rejecting a broken marketing culture to drive relevance and growth at the speed of now.”

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“Moving from data to intelligence, winning marketers in 2020 must refocus efforts to become the voice of the consumer in their organizations. When brands are focused on ‘total experience,’ the trade-offs between awareness and performance become mute. By shifting the conversation to ‘attention’ and ‘loyalty,’ lifestyle becomes paramount. Our consumers expect businesses to value them as individuals and members of a community versus as simply transactional buyers of products.”

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