Cost, Control, and Creativity: Three Things That Will Matter to Marketers in 2020


I was honored to be asked to participate in a panel at the Campaign Breakfast Briefing in NY. The first question for our group was “What are some of the key drivers behind their 2020 strategies and the implications for agencies in 2020?”.

I responded with “Cost, Control, and Creativity”. Let me explain:

Cost: we are continuing to see that cost control (“cutting”) is still a major issue for marketers, and their agencies. Despite a strong US economy, there is anxiety about when things may change, and thus budgets and spending are still a major issue for marketers. The political situation in the US and geo-political issues in the Middle East and in other regions will, unfortunately, continue to impact budget decisions for 2020.

Control: by control I mean to In-House or not to In-House (that is the question). Many marketers have made the move to doing more In-House, with mixed results. And while the discussion on this issue often leads with cost cutting, it’s also equally an issue about control. More and more brands want to be able to directly manage the engagement and experiences their consumers are having with the brand, often across in-store, social, and experiential platforms. This trend will continue to be a hot topic in 2020.

Creativity: in the end, I think that creativity still REALLY matters (I was a bit surprised that this comment elicited a round of applause at the conference). You can do things in a more cost-efficient manner; you can take more control of your brand activities; but if you aren’t generating great ideas for how to delight and engage your audience then nothing else really matters, right? Agency relationships are still very important for a variety of reasons, but for me a key one is that most agencies have very, very talented and highly creative people working in them. At Flock Associates, our purpose is to “support, inspire and transform the lives of marketers”, which includes helping them build organizations and establish strong agency relationships that result in GREAT creativity.