5 Questions Marketers Should Ask in 2017

With the new year right around the corner, we asked a dozen marketing and agency execs, hailing from companies including Sephora, Starcom, and Carat, to share what's top of mind as they finalize their 2017 plans.

Here, we've highlighted the key marketing insights and top questions marketers should ask themselves in the coming year.

Am I focused on the right metrics for a mobile-first world?

Top Marketers on How Mobile Affecting Their 2017 Plans

In a mobile-first world, people are turning to their smartphones in new ways—to make a decision, learn something new, or get something accomplished. Mary Beth Laughton, senior vice president of digital at Sephora, advises measuring desktop and mobile separately, and with distinct metrics for each. On mobile, for example, Sephora has focused on fostering loyalty and by doing so has increased its mobile business from 25% to more than 35% of its digital business in the past year.

In 2017, separate your desktop and mobile measurement plans to account for the fundamental differences between mobile and desktop behavior.

Do my media plans allow me to react in real time to how my customers are acting and feeling?

Thanks to mobile, consumers expect brands to be there anytime, anywhere with helpful information and real-time relevance.

For Justine Bloome, executive vice president and head of strategy at Carat USA, that's requiring her to think "about how much we can create an always-on mentality for a certain percentage of our activity. To be ready in real time, to respond and react to the intentions and signals that we're seeing from people. That really does lead us to a place of experience planning, not just media planning," she said.

In 2017, consider setting aside a small percentage of your budget that can be uncommitted to be more responsive to short-term opportunities.

Do I have a portfolio of assets that appeal to both the immediate and longer-term needs of my customers?

By viewing customers across the funnel, marketers can influence purchases by being helpful throughout the process. Dave Abbott, vice president of online marketing at Home Depot, says the retailer has historically invested in marketing with an eye toward an immediate sale. In 2017, Home Depot will focus on topical content that has a longer shelf life. A six-second ad can communicate a sale on mulch at the peak of the spring planting season, but it may take 60 seconds to unpack the features of a new product.

"We want to make sure we're making smart decisions there versus getting so focused on the near term," he said.

In 2017, take a holistic view of the customer journey and create a range of assets that matches the right ad to the right moment. This includes both the near-term "I-want-to-buy" moments, but also more long-term, relationship-building "I-want-to-know" moments.

Am I planning for the blurring lines of TV and online video?

Top Marketers on How Their Video Strategy Is Changing for 2017

Let's face it—people no longer distinguish between online video, mobile video, or linear TV. They watch what they want, when they want, on the screen they want. This requires marketers to think about breaking down the many silos between offline and online video—from budgets, to creative approaches, and even organizational structures. At Hearts & Science, for example, planning and investment teams now sit together, allowing for a holistic view of the space, said Ruth Nightengale, executive director, biddable investment.

In 2017, plan TV and online alongside one another to drive optimal impact. Third-party research shows advertisers on prime-time broadcast TV in the U.S. could have reached 56% more 18- to 49-year-olds by also adding YouTube to the mix.1

Is my organization building for the mobile screen first?

Mobile is critical to the way people make decisions today, so it must be central to our culture, our media plans, and our creative process. Being customer-first will mean developing customer interactions and experiences on mobile first, says Wouter Blok, vice president of digital growth at Sprint. The brand now reviews creative concepts in the environment in which they will be viewed—the phone—to truly understand the consumer's mobile behavior.

In 2017, make mobile everyone's role, not one person's role.

Sources
1 Google-commissioned comScore Study from comScore Xmedia U.S. Broadcast TV defined as NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, and My Network TV. Primetime defined as Mon–Sat 8:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. and Sun 7:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. YouTube data not restricted to primetime TV hours; Dec. 2015.

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