Identifying Marketers' Biggest Challenges and Tackling Them Head On

Partner Content

Capture d’écran 2021-10-12 à 14.00.49

By any metric, the last 18 months will be a turning point in history and the fodder of historians, social commentators and children’s textbooks for decades to come. In this time of great flux, where ethical consumerism, privacy and irreversible shifts in buying behaviour have led to “new normals” - there may never be a more prescient time to take a magnifying glass to marketer’s biggest challenges and how to tackle them head on.

That is what week 1 at Signals21, the marketing award winning content series, is all about - dealing with the fallout from the death of the cookie, privacy shifts in advertising, and meeting the customer where-they-are.

Here’s the recap of an explosive first week.


Building honest, and meaningful relationships with consumers through permission-based marketing

Bill Ingram, Cheetah Digital’s president, sounded the starting klaxon for Signals21 and 5 weeks of unmissable content with some thoughtful and timely opening remarks.

His words were anchored in building honest, and meaningful relationships with consumers through permission-based marketing, delivering real moments of value and personalization that went beyond a first name. In this digital world, real-time, immersive moments are more important than ever before, and brands that get it right are benefitting from consumer attention, trust, and revenue.

All of this points to the importance of engaging with consumers on an individual level. This human approach to personalization is critical in this day and age, where consumers will easily switch providers if they don’t receive the experience they were hoping for. In order to maintain their customers and continue to grow, brands need to foster personalized relationships through showing empathy and an understanding of likes, interests, history, and preferences and deliver in the right moments.

“Digital transformation leads to tons of digital interactions, tons of data, and tons of insights, but just because you can capture all sorts of anonymous and known insights around consumers, that you should.”

Clarity in an Uncertain Future: Cookies, Privacy and other Marketing Roadblocks

As Google cements plans to comprehensively curtail third-party cookie tracking within the next couple of years, and Firefox, Safari et al. scramble to follow suit, the way in which marketers connect with consumers is undergoing radical change.

66% of consumers think retargeting ads derived from cookie tracking are creepy, not cool

Although these behemoth browsers' privacy pivot is a win for consumers, it’s a headache for marketers wedded to third-party cookies to power their advertising. There isn’t going to be a magic replacement for the cookie, so what do marketers do next to deliver more personalization, and also more privacy?

These sweeping changes to the martech and adtech industries reinforce the need for marketers to shift to a first- and zero-party data strategy to power their advertising and marketing initiatives.

In the privacy legislation era, zero-party data is the next step in rebuilding trust and engendering lasting and meaningful connections with consumers. A class of preference data that a consumer proactively and intentionally shares with a brand to improve personalization — never collected by cookie tracking. Zero-party data empowers marketers to get ahead of these inevitable changes and build direct relationships with consumers, including their competitor’s customers, to better personalize their product recommendations, services, and content.  

51% of marketers are investigating how to reduce their reliance on cookies

Rise of the Ethical Consumer

Countless consumer surveys show that consumers care. Even in these times of economic flux, ethical consumer spending continues to rise, as modern consumers use their wallet to let brands know they care about its corporate footprint, stance on environmental issues, where they spend advertising dollars and political associations.

58% of consumers have rejected a brand either because of its environmental, corporate, or political values

If brands are over reliant on social media platforms it’s a perilous game. Brands need to shift to owning customer journeys, and compliantly collecting and actioning data to build more meaningful relationships with consumers - so they should invest in social advertising to merely get consumers off those channels and into their own ecosystem. 

“We’re moving into an era of ethics, where brands are standing out and competing on their brand differences, in areas such as sustainability and diversity .”

The Power of Humour to Drive Organizational Change

This session was a hit. Tom Fishburne is one of the funniest men in marketing, and as founder of Marketoonist, he brings a little levity to a sometimes quite corporate industry. His session did not disappoint.

We’re in that awkward adolescent stage of marketing that makes things painful, with too much data and creepy personalization as a result. QR codes in areas with no Wi-Fi or network coverage, disruptive, shouty ads, and harassment by marketing automation.

A key takeaway was that humour is one of the greatest assets in any organization, and to demonstrate this Tom launched a caption competition...we’ve included some of the wittiest answers below.

Identifying Marketers' Biggest Challenges

“This meeting could have been an email, Dave”

I know what to do with our third-party data suppliers.”

“When times are tough we have to cut our margins.”

Click To Tell It On The Mountain: The Evolution of Cultural Marketing Signals

The marketer’s job specification is to eternally find ways to better understand their customers. In recent years the refinement of their messages has been aimed at attracting a diverse body of consumers.

Pierre DeBois, founder of Zimana, capped off the day with a thought-provoking session to look at the rise of digital marketing strategies, and solutions used to create stronger bonds with black consumers. Chiefly how the innovations that have emerged have not always met consumers' expectations or aligned with their values. By leveraging analytics properly, marketers can adjust and finesse messaging and make better, more meaningful connections.

“What marketers should do when you think about customers is think about history and technology and how they blend together.”

What’s Next?

Signals21 is happening every Wednesday until November 3rd. Upcoming themes are Innovate, Understand, Activate and Engage.

Whether you're looking for a new way to build relationships in the post-cookie era, deliver personalization that goes beyond a first name and past purchases or just want to be entertained and motivated by expert and engaging speakers, there is a session for you.