The Drum 2020 Predictions Round-up

Jill Alger

Audience Intelligence Director

With every new year comes a hunger from brands and agencies, eager to stay on-the-pulse of industry trends and to future-proof their marketing strategies. This year, appetites were satisfied by The Drum at its annual predictions breakfast.

We were served insight and perspective from guest speakers, each sharing their predictions for 2020. Hot topics included consumer trust and the growing concern around data protection, audience measurement, and the importance of personalisation.

While the ever-evolving digital landscape is far from easy to predict, marketers left stuffed with the stats and facts needed to guide their thinking this new year. Here’s a bite-sized recap of the discussions. Bon appétit!

Cookies will crumble

We’re moving into a cookie-less world – where consumers are interacting more with apps than browsers – so the way we measure data needs to truly reflect that. We need to keep evolving and keep up with where people are, ensuring we add real value to their lives.

These were the words spoken by Andy Chandler, VP at mobile measurement company Adjust, in a discussion around how brands are using data. And he has a point. With more consumers moving away from browsers in favour of apps, and Google Chrome set to drop cookies in the next two years, it’s never been more important for marketers to review how they measure data, and to make sure it’s being used to add real value to online consumer experience. 

Brands must get personal

The second topic of the morning saw the panel discussing how social media is disrupting the way we buy. Hero Brown, founder of leading lifestyle platform Muddy Stilettos, spoke about the importance of experience when creating deep, lasting connections with consumers. She explained that despite us living in a digital age, there is a growing craving for tangible experiences. People are becoming fatigued with faceless fast transactions and now actively look for ways to reconnect with the brands they love. Brown used the example of a sell-out Muddy Stilettos event held at Bicester Village where customers met the people behind their favourite brands, building a more emotional connection.

Many brands are at risk of losing that human touch that live events, personalisation and real conversations can help to restore. On the panel, Instagram ‘shopping parties’ were referenced as a way in which brands can bring the two worlds together – offering digital-first experiences which consumers can interact with in the real world. Along a similar vein, social messaging apps were cited as another way for brands to connect with consumers on a more direct, personal level.

These themes reflected topics which had also been brought up by the previous panel. While discussing the use of data and digital metrics, Vodafone’s Brand Director Maria Koutsoudakis asked the audience:

When was the last time you spoke to a customer? If you stood back from click attributions and A/B testing, then what do you really know about your customers now?

She feared that by getting so hung up on data, we are at risk of losing touch with the people behind it.

There needs to be more of a blend of people on the ground, really speaking to their customers as well as having a good data strategy.

This personal, offline approach came up several other times throughout the morning, stressing the growing importance of brands taking a step back and reinstating that emotional connection with consumers.

Sustainability stands out

Another standout topic was the evolution towards a more ethical way of thinking, which is being seen across both brands and consumers.

Audiences are paying closer attention to brands that do more to give back, having a positive effect on the environment and local communities. Berlin-based search engine, Ecosia, that pledges to plant a tree for every 45 searches made on its platform, was cited as an exemplary company in this area.

Brands’ commitment to sustainability is only expected to rise over the coming decade – so those who aren’t aligned are at risk of losing market share.

To conclude…

While only time will tell which of these predictions prove correct, the takeaways certainly whet our appetite for new ideas and ways of thinking. Thanks to The Drum for hosting – we look forward to seeing what emerges in 2020!

Still hungry? Check out the 10 digital trends we think will have the biggest impact in the next 12 months.

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