Many main stage presentations were focused on winning strategies and brand reinventions over the past decade. While this offered plenty of learning moments, there was a different narrative happening in the darker corners of the conference, outside the glare of the spotlight.
The conversations ranged from recession economics to the upcoming U.S. elections to the Olympics to pending regulations to ad tech. Here are three of the top trends on marketers’ minds:
CCPA is coming and most marketers aren’t prepared. On Jan. 1, CCPA will go into effect across the U.S. It’s the first privacy law which has both online and offline data collection in scope and therefore will have a profound impact on companies that are reliant on third-party data. Despite being just months away from the deadline, only 8% of U.S. businesses admit being prepared, according to an eMarketer report.
Recession Worries Loom Large. Economists and pundits forecast an economic downturn or recession in 2020. U.S. consumer confidence plunged in September, which marked the largest shortfall relative to Wall Street’s expectations since 2010. And, just this year, the U.S. has seen 8,200 stores closing in the “Retail Apocalypse.” Thousands more are projected by year’s end. Still, rather than solely focusing on cost-cutting, many attendees talked about weathering the storm by investing in the brand through the downturn, in order to reset values and re-establish consumer trust.
Make Way for the Multicultural Majority. Multicultural audiences are mainstream – complete with buying power and accelerating influence. Per U.S. Census projections, Hispanics will account for more than 50% of the total population growth by 2020.
The African American population will expand to 18% of the population and Asian Americans will grow by 15%. By 2030, 48% of the U.S. population will be multicultural. The changing face of the consumer means marketers need to invest in diverse talent, revisit their brand purpose so that it aligns to multicultural values, and tap the power of communities to understand context, nuances and sub-cultures.
Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans are a dominant force in American retail. As the emerging face of ‘Super Consumers’-- those who can drive at least 30% of sales, 40% of growth and 50% of profits, multicultural relevancy is no longer an option, but a necessity.
It’s a daunting, but exciting moment for marketers. With forecasts of an economic downturn, increasing regulation and the changing face of the American consumer, marketers have big challenges ahead. To drive growth and relevance despite the headwinds, marketers will need to take a surgical scalpel to their marketing strategies, using strong analytics and data-driven prioritization rather than “one size fits all” slash and burn programs.
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