LONDON, June 13, 2016

Millward Brown, the world’s leading expert in helping businesses grow strong brands, today released its annual Digital and Media Predictions for the year ahead. For the eighth consecutive year the company is providing marketers with a clear guide on navigating the challenges and opportunities of the next 12 months.

One prediction in the 2016 report identifies the opportunity for marketers to develop clearer consumer journey maps, from awareness to purchase, in order to better integrate sales and media touchpoints.

This opportunity will become possible as digital platforms blur to an unprecedented degree the lines between these two previously separate disciplines, allowing marketers to optimize the consumer journey more than ever before.

Three key trends drive this opportunity: the consumer journey becoming device and channel agnostic as people buy at the moment and in the way that best suits them; the transformation of e-commerce sites from pure sales channels into media touchpoints; and the transformation of ad creative that links directly to purchase opportunities on digital channels.

Marketers who develop detailed consumer journey maps will be able to follow consumers along this new path to purchase, allowing them to identify the most powerful touchpoints from both sales and marketing along the way. This will give brand owners the power to deliver the seamless brand experience that consumers desire and drive brand, market share and sales outcomes, simultaneously and in harmony.

“Sales and media touchpoints have traditionally been separate, but changes to the digital landscape and consumer behavior now allow marketers to unify them for the first time,” said Duncan Southgate, Global Brand Director for Digital at Millward Brown. “In 2016 we expect advertisers to map marketing contexts to an integrated consumer journey so that sales and brand-building content complement rather than compete with each other.”

Millward Brown anticipates additional important changes in the world’s media landscape and describes in the 2016 predictions how marketers can “get media right”. These include:

– Brands will invest more heavily in online and particularly mobile video advertising in 2016, yet many will waste millions by neglecting to adapt content across formats. Smart marketers will involve digital considerations much earlier in the creative process and pre-test more assiduously.

– Connected TV (or Smart TV) will take over the television viewing experience, bringing profound changes to the way people consume content. Experimentation with workable addressable TV advertising models will begin, although live TV advertising will remain dominant for now.

– In a bid to overcome low digital advertising receptivity, more brands will become content creators. As marketing moves from disruption to attraction, inspiring content marketing will move up the corporate agenda.

“The recent rise of ad blocking software means that consumer receptivity will be a big issue in 2016. Brands that fail to target consumers appropriately, adapt content across formats or rely solely on paid advertising content are unlikely to build engagement and drive sales. The ability to connect in digital platforms at a time when consumers are willing to do so, and with great content in a format that is not intrusive, will separate the successful marketers from those that simply annoy,” said Southgate.

About Millward Brown

Millward Brown, with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, is a leading global research agency specializing in advertising effectiveness, strategic communication, media and brand equity research. Millward Brown helps clients grow great brands through comprehensive research-based qualitative and quantitative solutions. Specialist global practices include Millward Brown Digital (a leader in digital effectiveness and intelligence), Firefly Millward Brown (a global qualitative network), a neuroscience practice (using neuroscience to optimize the value of traditional research techniques), and Millward Brown Vermeer (a strategy consultancy helping companies maximize financial returns on brand and marketing investments). Millward Brown operates in more than 55 countries and is part of Kantar, WPP’s data investment management division.