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WARC Releases the Marketeers Toolkit for 2020


WARC Releases the Marketeers Toolkit for 2020

WARC, the global marketing intelligence service, released its ninth annual Marketer’s toolkit for 2020. The toolkit is based on a survey of nearly 800 marketers around the world and interviews with 10 leading brand marketers and serves as a guide to help marketers be aware of the near-term trends, which will help them stay ahead in the market.

The report adopted the STEIP methodology which covers the five drivers of change; Society, Technology, Economy, Industry, Policy, etc.



  • Brands are responding to two-stand out trends that are going to have a broad impact on marketing strategies in 2020. The first one is the growing concern around consumer privacy online and the second is the rise of conscious consumerism.
  • More than 75% of marketers agree that brands need to take a stand on social issues. However, almost half of the marketers also agree it is harder for brands to influence culture at scale in the current climate.
  • The potential pitfalls are,
  • Adopting a short-term approach just to jump on a bandwagon could cost a brand its reputation.
  • Ignoring the intention-behavior gap. There is a huge gap in the sustainability space between what the consumers say they want and what they actually do. Brands may have to incentivize using behavioral economic techniques to make sustainable products look desirable, affordable and convenient.
  • Falling behind the retailers. Brands providing packaged goods and should stay one step ahead of retailers in their efforts to respond to conscious consumerism.


  • After years of hype about consumer tech, brands appear more cautious about investing in new technology.
  • Artificial intelligence and payment tech will be the key priorities brands will be looking at. The latter is gaining more interest as compared to the former as a reflection of the growth of e-commerce.
  • Voice, despite the hype, will remain a minority pursuit as marketers figure out where the opportunities lie.
  • 5G is expected to have an impact as an enabler around enhanced content strategies. But there is currently a sense of ‘wait and see’ about this development.

  • Although programmatic has been transformative for some areas of ad trading, half of the respondents believe it has failed to live up to its potential.
  • The limits of audience-based buying are clear in concerns around context and brand safety and have now become more important than ever when it comes to the cost of media planning.


  • Brands are now re-assessing how they balance their spending plans for 2020. Senior marketers increasingly recognise that they have over-invested in short- term marketing tactics at the expense of their brands.
  • Adspend is forecasted to increase globally by 6% in 2020. Priority in video will be number one along with mobile and search as a means to drive growth and increase brand building.
  • Instagram and YouTube are the key beneficiaries of the focus on video, though there is also significant interest in TikTok.
  • Budgets for Google search will naturally increase but there is also a growing interest in Amazon as an ad platform.




  • Customer experience will remain an industry buzzword across the industry in 2020 and agencies and consultancies will battle to combine Customer Experience with brand thinking.
  • In-housing is happening to a greater extent in advertising technology as brands begin to take charge of their data.
    30% of client-side respondents say they already handle adtech in-house and 34% will bring more of this work in-house in 2020.
  • Agencies, on the whole, are investing to respond to the changing market by recruiting business analysis and consultancy skills. Creative agencies are also prioritising a range of specialist skills, including in-house production and experience design.


  • Data privacy is both a trend in regulation and a growing consumer demand and is one of the most important global themes for marketers in 2020.
  • 45% of marketers expect tighter regulation in 2020, with the focus on privacy.
  • Although provisions around data protection are now in place for the majority, there is still more work to do.

  • Less than half of marketers feel that the issue of brand safety is being taken seriously by marketers, and almost all would like there to be greater regulation of big tech firms.
  • Non-compliance with these regulations can be costly both financially and brand wise.
  • The problem with data usage is that it is so broad, it’s hard to audit every bit of it.
  • Brands must also ensure they do not overlook customer consent, otherwise, they risk losing trust and liable to face legal penalties.

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