Talk of a ‘new normal’ has been a hot topic of conversation – both culturally and within the advertising industry – ever since the pandemic hit.  Translating this specifically to the world of marketing effectiveness has so far raised more questions than answers.  What does a new normal look like, how do we know when we’re there, and how will it affect us?  All very good questions for any marketer to have.  

Keep Calm, Keep Spending 

For many UK businesses, ongoing supply chain issues that started with Brexit are now being exacerbated by the economic impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 lockdowns in China, alongside 40-year high levels of inflation. 

Previous IPA data continues to prove useful evidencing the survival code for winning in tough times – brands fare best when they maintain their investment in longer-term brand-building media, complemented by a smaller ratio of sales activation media.   The mantra has always been clear – Keep calm and keep spending. 

Many brands are doing just that.  According to the Q1 2022 IPA Bellweather report, total UK marketing budgets were revised up to an almost eight-year high during the first quarter of this year.  The economic health of the industry is looking buoyant as advertisers seek to return to both sales and brand driving communications. 

However, this is coupled with a crisis of confidence in how we effectively measure returns on investment.​  

In MediaSense’s ‘Media 2025’ report, published in March, concerns highlighted included ongoing measurement bias, inadequate legacy measurement systems, and the ineffective integration of data across silos. 

Revisionary change

A big lesson over the past couple of years has been that change is inherent. 

We have certainly borne witness to significant changes in both the cultural landscape and in consumer behaviours during recent times, and we will continue do to so as wider geopolitical and economic events play out in the year ahead – both globally and locally.  British consumers and brands will be impacted, whether it’s the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy costs or supply chain challenges.  

However, the overstating or oversimplification of these changes can be at best a bit misleading and, at worst, dangerous for decision making for marketers.  Mark Ritson recently referred to the ‘obsession with the pornography of change’ that our industry has.    

It is the overegging of the scale of change that can make marketing budgets feel more volatile and riskier.  The reality is that revisions will likely be gradual. 

Spoiler alert. The new normal doesn’t look as drastically different from what’s been before.   

Yes, there have been significant changes, and yes some of them are here to stay, but even the sudden shifts we saw in behaviours such as the huge growth in eCommerce during COVID are now flattening out to becoming a more normalised and consistent trend. 

​The predictability of the unpredictable

Whether it’s evolving the key performance indicators that we focus on to measure success, planning for the impact of privacy legislation and the implications for measurement, or trialling new measurement techniques that help us to collectively move the industry forward. 

It’s time to get comfortable with a new normal that embraces ongoing change.   

At the7stars, we recently hosted a seminar for clients and colleagues dedicated to all this and more. From learning about the emergent and disruptive trends in the measurement landscape to furthering our understanding that metrics that matter. 

We were joined by industry experts Peter Field, Jenny Bullis (Meta), Orlando Wood (System1), Grace Kite (Magic Numbers) and Pete Robins (13minutes) to share their thoughts on how brands can navigate The New Effectiveness Normal.