How can Advertisers stay afloat in today's market

1:55 PM, 12 May 2017

What were the advertising challenges addressed during Global Marketer Week?

WFA President David Wheldon gives his State of the Union address in Toronto

On 26 April 2017, WFA President David Wheldon gave his annual State of the Union address during Global Marketer Week in Toronto, commenting on current advertising challenges.

During his speech, Wheldon wanted to reassure advertisers that it was acceptable to feel overwhelmed by the new challenges emerging seemingly every day. Whether it was the introduction of new platforms or new concerns about brand safety, the current landscape of the industry could be perceived as rather daunting.

Wheldon reminds us all to keep it simple. No matter the advancements in technology, the same basic fundamentals of marketing will not change. As advertisers, we will continue to build great brands.

What has changed, however, is the way we communicate with consumers and the way that we interact and collaborate with our partners, both agency and media owners. By realigning ourselves with our core principles and rethinking current obstacles, we are able to move forward and maintain our presence in the industry.

These are the five key areas Wheldon discussed as focal points for a better advertising future:

1. Protect your brand

"We live in a world of populist, partisan politics, fake news and alternative facts. That's not an easy place for brands. If marketers want to select just one aspect of programmatic to understand, then brand safety should be it.

Brand safety means not only ensuring that your ad isn't a pre-roll to a jihadi video but also that you are not centre stage on divisive content in a way that makes it appear as if you are taking sides. Social media can be the easiest place to lose friends if you aren't careful.

Brand safety also means knowing where your budget is going. This means putting the tools and processes in place to ensure that potential buyers, not bots, are viewing your ads. In the era of zero-based budgeting, ad fraud is more than just a waste, it's ineffective and, more often than not, avoidable."

2. Build your brand on the basis of business impact

"Metrics are too easy to mess up but, frankly, hugely simple to get right. Find the ones that have a direct link to business outcomes. Getting our house in order means getting our metrics right so that the numbers we seek to move are reflected in our bottom lines.

That might mean reverting to "old-fashioned" brand metrics, but the reason we still measure these things is that they have been proven to make a difference."

3. Rebuild trust with agency partners

"There is clearly a lot of work to do to rebuild trust between clients and agencies. The digital ecosystem -- the salami-slicing of budgets through the ad:tech supply chain -- needs to be less opaque and open for all to understand so that every participant proves the value they add to the people who pay them, the marketers.

I believe that collaboration with our partners is a prerequisite for success. But the current ecosystem has to change before we stand any chance of improving our relationship with those that matter most, namely consumers."

4. Deserve people's attention

"Today too many brands are churning out content to the detriment of creativity. The pity is that it doesn't have to be that way. There are more smart people in our industry than ever before. There are lots of great professionals who can make meaningful connections with people in almost every agency and brand.

The danger is that too much poor-quality content, poorly placed and delivered in irritating formats is just turning people away. 11% of the global internet population now blocks ads. Adblocking is enjoying 30% year-on-year growth. Our online audience is actually shrinking rather than growing!

But the good news is that great content will always find its way to consumers. It's easier than ever to share great content with friends. Truly creative brands will always find a way to win people's attention."

5. Put people first

"The latest Havas Meaningful Brands research found that consumers wouldn't care if 74% of brands disappeared tomorrow.

It gets worse. Not only do they not care about brands, they often blame them for some of society's problems: be it obesity, binge-drinking, indebtedness, gambling, over-consumption...

We need to be self-aware and humble. We need to be mindful of the behaviour we seek to encourage through our marketing. We must remember that great brand marketing works by building connections that appeal to our very human and enduring needs.

As the late, great Bill Bernbach put it, "a communicator must be concerned with the unchanging man, with his obsessive desire to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own." Only through knowing what is of meaning and value to people will you truly find a way into their lives."

What are your thoughts on the WFA State of the Union? Have all current concerns been addressed? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to

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