To help brands respond to these issues, global marketing intelligence service Warc has released their new toolkit trend report, created in association with Deloitte.

The annual report looks at the biggest challenges in marketing today and shows how the most forward thinking marketers are responding. 

Focus areas

The Toolkit highlights four key ideas that Warc believes to be the top priorties for brands this year. They are:

1. Changing expectations of brands.

Warc warns that cash-strapped shoppers may take their anger out on major corporations, so in order to combat this businesses must show that they are making a positive difference.

Brands need to focus on being “transparent, trustworthy, sustainable and generally useful to society” by contributing to an easier life for the consumer or solving an everyday problem. 

2. The disrupted path to purchase.

Understanding the impact of technology on the path-to-purchase and discovering how shoppers now interact with brands is a top priority for marketers.

In particular, brands should be looking at the rise of “showrooming”, where consumers compare products and prices on their mobile devices while in-store, and “multi-screening” where consumers use digital devices while watching TV.

Marketers should also be working to ensure TV activity is joined up with social media, search and e-commerce. 

3. Fresh thinking on social media.

The report argues that the social channel is far larger than just ‘social media’ and says that this is an area in which brands and marketers should delve further into.

Reviewing the impact of engagement strategies in relation to social media, while also looking offline for potential opportunities, needs to be a big focus for brands.

4. First step in ‘big data’.

Big data seems to be the buzz phrase of 2013 but the report warns that marketers must be careful not to get overwhelmed by numbers.

Instead brands should carefully consider all their options or risk alienating consumers through poorly executed personalisation, with one suggested approach to be using data to look for large patterns, rather than granular segmentation.