As we settle into 2023, there are more than just “trends” to take heed of this year. Outbrain’s Andrew Burke, Managing Director APAC and Growth Markets, offers his take on the key issues all marketers should be aware of.
For marketers, the companies we work for, and across entire business sectors, it’s been a period of immense change. Privacy regulations, the evolving ad ecosystem and fluctuating macroeconomic conditions are just a few shifts that we had to reckon with last year.
It’s safe to say that these concerns will persist into 2023, but a new year also brings valuable opportunities to come up with new ideas to old problems. If one thing is constant, it’s change, and we will be sure to see more of a “shifting of the tides” this year. Perfecting the art of the pivot will be essential for any business looking to overcome upcoming challenges.
Those that do this well can achieve more than just wading through an uncertain environment. By playing their cards right, businesses can simultaneously future-proof their operations whilst becoming leaders in their own right.
And there is no time like the present to dig into just what these changes may mean for publishers and agencies alike.
2023 will be the year of accountability
This is a term that is certainly getting more airtime, and deservedly so. Over my time at Outbrain, I’ve seen publishers become increasingly sophisticated in understanding the value of their own real estate, and in understanding how to optimise opportunities for both monetary and engagement gains.
As a result of this, “accountability” has become more important than ever – proving to advertisers that if they utilise a publisher’s assets, they will achieve a genuine, measurable outcome. This is something that I think most publishers will be focusing on this year – striving towards provable, actionable results.
Accountability is doubly important when we take into account the aforementioned “shifting of the tides”. What we’re seeing in the advertising and media landscape is that most of us have been broken out of the post-Covid rhythm we settled into. Businesses need to be clever about their campaigns to ensure a strong return-on-advertising spend (ROAS), especially where other channels are not able to generate the same results.
They also will need to be clever when it comes to developing or establishing new technology partnerships. There is no forward-looking strategy that can’t take into account certain economic pressures that we are all feeling. A tech partner that can help generate clarity in your business, that can provide much-needed actionable intel in this climate, is essential.
We are also all aware that the role of marketing falls under a microscope during tough economic times. But this accountability will only help shed light on why marketing and advertising can be much-needed growth drivers. Being able to prove the value of your work to the wider business, and being able to communicate this to senior members, will be a much-needed skill this year.
It’s clear that accountability and transparency is a business imperative – not a “nice-to-have”.
Looking inwards before we look outwards
On a personal and business level, marketers don’t exist in a bubble. The changes to the very nature of work are continuing to be felt, and can shift the very way most of us work with each other.
We can all expect that hybrid work will continue to be a significant part of all our working lives. Flexible working arrangements will continue to evolve, and what we do now may not necessarily work for everyone or forever.
Testing, evaluating, and transparency, will be crucial in developing hybrid work models that deliver flexibility whilst ensuring productivity and results. Businesses should be willing to adapt – a rigid system no longer suits the way most employees want to work, and risks creating disengaged employees.
This adaptability will become crucial as recruitment space kicks into gear again. Building a flexible work environment will attract the best talent to your business. Talk to your employees to understand what they want from their workplace, and integrate this into your company values.
As marketing continues to evolve, offering the opportunity to upskill and develop internally will be fundamental in making your company not only more competitive, but better prepared, for the future.
So while I anticipate a healthy measure of change this year, I would encourage us all to embrace it. At the end of the day, change is an opportunity – and 2023 is a chance to transform all of our businesses for the better.