The Rundown: CMOs take back control — but why did they lose it in the first place?
CMOs love a good talking point.
Over the last year, it’s become en vogue for top marketers to pick an issue they believe is broken in the marketing ecosystem — whether it’s Procter & Gamble’s Marc Pritchard on fraud and cleaning up metrics, HP’s Antonio Lucio on diversity or Unilever’s Keith Weed on just about anything. The loudest narrative thread running through this has been “taking back control.”
“This new level of transparency is shining the light on what’s next — marketers taking back control of our own destiny to accelerate mass disruption — transforming our industry from the wasteful mass marketing we’ve been mired in for nearly a century to mass one-to-one brand building fueled by data and digital technology,” Pritchard said in a transcript of prepared remarks during an earnings call in March.
But the fact is most issues in media can be traced directly back to the clients: They cut costs and pinched pennies, arguably leading to murky agency practices. They put so much emphasis on digital’s measurability that they forced publishers to drive clicks in unhealthy ways, and they looked the other way with fraud issues too many times. If you broke it, you fix it.
It’s not that marketers haven’t known about the problems in media or with agencies for a while. More than two years have passed since the Association of National Advertisers report alleging widespread kickbacks among agencies in the U.S., which was widely seen as a turning point and wake-up call for marketers. At the time, the ANA released guidelines putting the onus on brands to clarify expectations and double-check contracts.
It was a common argument among top marketers at the Cannes Lions festival last week: Marketers said that whether by design or by accident, they all felt they’d lost control — they’d ceded it to agencies; they’d ceded it to the platforms. They’d lost it, as GlaxoSmithKline’s chief digital officer Marc Speichert said, to direct-to-consumer companies talking directly to the consumer “in the most real way.” “We have people in the middle that diluted our customer-centricity,” he said.
Many are now looking to do more in-house, and those unwilling to take that path yet are ensuring there are, to quote one marketing chief, more “hands on keyboard” and that they’re checking agencies’ and platforms’ homework more diligently. Witness Weed’s recent comments on widespread fraud in influencer marketing — something that has been known for years in the industry, but only seems to be a big talking point now.
Of course, these are important issues. And there’s no doubt that for them to be fixed, those with the money and power, aka the brands, are in the best place to fix them.
Even as marketers choose to act like parents who have been disappointed by their offspring a few too many times, “taking back control” is a theme at odds with the reality of the situation: It was their fault for losing control in the first place. “Many marketers trend toward momentum narratives,” said Bullish managing partner Mike Duda. “It takes place in the form of buzzwords or points of view on the role of in-house versus agency. Any marketers claiming they are ‘taking back control’ are either playing to the PR buzz or guilty of losing control in the first place.”
Why a DTC jewelry company is placing its bets on organic growth via TikTok
As TikTok continues to grow in popularity, a jewelry startup is hoping to capitalize on its organic growth.
‘Harder to dispute’: Ebiquity CEO on why advertisers are slowing spending in the Google-Facebook duopoly
It’s deja vu all over again with this sort of rhetoric. This time, though, it's not just big brands that are apprehensive about putting more dollars into Google or Facebook. It's the smaller ones -- the ones that account for the bulk of cash spent on those ads.
How Squarespace is marketing more directly to the creator economy
With new features and ads, Squarespace is the latest tech company to market more directly to creators
Sponsored<strong>How marketers are responding to shoppers’ wants this holiday season</strong>
Matthew Tilley, executive director, marketing, Vericast With the holidays right around the corner, the economy may force some consumers to adjust their plans and stretch their dollars even further. While some shoppers may rein in their spending, others will still go all out despite a cloudy economic outlook. Given the current economic climate, consumers are […]
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: With pressure mounting on Q4, some marketers are planning to roll out holiday sales early
Marketers are rolling out holiday marketing and sales early as economic uncertainty persists and pressure builds for the fourth quarter.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Who will gain and who will lose when (if?) the third-party cookie goes away?
There is endless speculation about what the world without third-party cookies will look like -- or even if it will ever come to be. Digiday asked publishers, agencies and brands about who they think will gain and who they think will lose following the death of the third-party cookie.