Marketing and advertising budgets for 2021: ‘crystal ball stuff’ — experts

marketing and advertising budgets for 2021 crystal ball stuff experts - Marketing and advertising budgets for 2021: ‘crystal ball stuff’ — experts

By Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo

The incoming year will be marked with uncertainty for marketing and advertising, according to experts in the field. 

“People are trying to budget for the upcoming year, and they want to know how much they should allow for. This year, it really is crystal ball stuff,” said Leela Nair, managing director for Southeast Asia at Ebiquity, a media and marketing consultancy firm, during All That Matters 2020, an online convention on Asia’s music, sports, gaming, media, and entertainment sectors.

Ms. Nair added that she has never seen a year where there is a wider range of opinions on what has happened in terms of inflation and deflation.

According to a report by ECI Media Management, a media auditing company, the pandemic caused huge swings in price across different media types. Traditional media, such as television and print, contracted by up to 17% from January to June, with the main pressure points occurring in March and April. 

Digital media, meanwhile, experienced minimal inflation of up to 1.3% during the same time frame. However, these prices are expected to change depending on what pandemic phase a market finds itself in.

These volatile conditions have caused an industry-wide hyper-focus on data collection and analysis. “While nothing is inherently wrong with that, [the industry] did see at times that we were… trying to find too many specific facts that would support decisions being made and sometimes, frankly, missing opportunities,” said Silas Lewis-Meilus, senior director, head of media APAC (Asia Pacific region) for pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

Mr. Lewis-Meilus said that these opportunities bank heavily on changes in consumer behavior, such as pivots in product categorization. Instead of the usual classifications like food and toiletries, consumers started identifying and ranking products by their necessity to everyday life.

“Rather than using that annual planning and annual commitment as your default position, I think that’s now really a starting point of indicating where we hope things will go. But it requires some tough conversations with those partners and vendors to ensure that they’re coming along the ride with us and they’re pivoting at the right time for our clients,” said Stephen Li, chief executive officer of marketing firm OMD Asia Pacific.

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