2020 Vision: What is your focus for the year ahead? – Part one

It’s the start of a new decade and our industry is picking up the pace. Here, our industry leaders tell us what their focus is for the year ahead.

Editors note: These answers were returned pre-Covid-19.

Paul Head, CEO of the Comms Council:

To state the blindingly obvious, the marketing communications industry
is undergoing momentous change. Business models are changing in response to changing client needs and ways of working, the right to advertise is under threat in a number of categories, consumer habits are evolving rapidly and the media environment is in a state of flux with local media owners under increasing pressure to remain viable.

So we have many priorities but here’s three of the areas we’ll be working on in the year ahead. The first is telling the story of the value of brand building. The evidence is incontrovertible that organisations that take a long-term approach to building their brand, and invest accordingly, are more profitable than those that don’t. We believe this is a key message for every CEO and CFO in New Zealand.

The second is continuing to increase inclusion and diversity in our industry.

This is a really big topic, so we’ve chosen to focus in two areas; how we encourage more young Maori and Pacifica to join the industry and pushing hard on gender equality. The industry has made significant progress in this second area, but much work remains to be done.

The third area is continuing to advocate for a strong and sustainable local media industry with government in particular. It’s critical not just from the commercial perspective of advertisers but more importantly, without it we lose important sources of news and opinions that are critical to a healthy democracy.

Gill Stewart, CEO of IAB:

Shortly we will be releasing the 2019 IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Revenue Report; in 2018 digital advertising revenue surpassed $1 billion for the first time, with year-on-year growth of almost 15 percent. Last year, digital revenue increased by an average of almost 14 percent.

The digital economy is both dynamic and can be complex and difficult to navigate, so our focus will be about empowering businesses to grow and thrive through digital, data and technology.

The IAB New Zealand sits in a unique position within the digital advertising industry, connecting our members across the entire value chain of digital advertising from publishers, advertising agencies, advertisers, tech, research and recruitment providers. In 2020 IAB New Zealand will provide leadership through training and capability programmes, events, standards and research; all of which empower our members to make better decisions in a rapidly evolving and dynamic digital landscape.

Engagement with our board and key stakeholders is high, so we will be harnessing this further through our councils. We have revised our council charters and look forward to initiatives from the newly formed digital effectiveness and standards measurement councils, as well as further brand and agency council initiatives which address key high- interest topics such as training and capability development, benchmarks and data labelling.

Lindsay Mouat, CEO of ANZA:

A new decade and the pace of change in the advertising ecosystem shows no sign of letting up, yet in some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same. For the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) 2020 brings renewed focus on behalf of our members on a wide range of issues.

In an election year we know that regulatory threats to responsible advertising will re-emerge. A number of interest groups will use the election platform as an opportunity to demand further restrictions on marketing categories including alcohol, food and beverage, gaming and medicines. Local media is under economic threat and advertisers have a role to play here.

Collectively, we need to think about the contribution our investment decisions make in supporting a diverse media market. And what that market would look like with if there were fewer local media options. Advertisers can play a unique role in improving the digital ecosystem that we all want to enjoy. Given that brands fund many of the platforms and content providers, we have a responsibility to ensure society gets the benefits of connectivity without the downsides that have sadly also emerged.

We need to work as an industry, advertisers, agencies, media owners and researchers to progress toward better audience research across media platforms. Technically it is an enormous challenge but without robust cross- platform measurement we are making media investment decisions in the dark. That cannot continue.

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