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What's Next? Fearless Predictions for 2023

Leaders from the PDMI’s member companies share their visions of what the new year holds in store for performance marketers.

By Thomas Haire

Forget "the new normal" — when are we going to get a year any of us could describe as "normal" in any way, any time soon? As 2022 wraps up, we can look back and see that this was the year most Americans — no matter their beliefs — came to terms with how to live in a world that will include Covid-19 for the foreseeable future. But just as that acceptance arrived, so too did economic uncertainty primed by the worst inflation in more than 40 years. Consumers came out of the heart of the pandemic primed to spend — but faced new challenges.

Whatever issues consumers face influence performance and direct-to-consumer marketers. In this industry, we started the year worried about the supply chain, customer satisfaction, data privacy, and the shifting balance between linear and streaming TV. Now, as we look ahead at 2023, what’s the buzz? Well, how things play out in the linear/streaming/CTV wars remains of paramount importance to brands and their media buyers. At the same time, a possible economic recession (or are we already in one?) hovers over the horizon like a storm cloud.

It’s these topics — and many more — that we heard about as we reached out to our PDMI member companies (more than 130 strong) with a simple ask: give us your two fearless predictions for 2023. It’s an exercise we’ve done now since the end of 2020, and it’s always intriguing. Who put themselves on the line this year?

Executives — or full teams — from 10 PDMI member companies decided to share their expertise by offering their wisdom about the next 12 months. Give them a read — and then hop over to our YouTube channel to watch our Jan. 17, 2023, Winter Seminar Series webinar featuring more leaders from our PDMI councils kicking around their own predictions for the coming year.

Dieter Ammann, Fulfillment Express

Stagnation: as the economy sinks, the entire DTC business will suffer because people won’t have extra cash to spend on the many frivolous things they spent money on in the past.

The Team at Blockboard

We should not fear the next recession. Now more than ever, each dollar matters. Heading into 2023 and on the cusp of a recession, advertisers need 100-percent transparency to ensure effectiveness in their media investments. Shifting their traditional business models to include innovative technologies will help companies through the challenging times ahead.

CTV will become a primary marketing channel. In 2022, 92 percent of U.S. households were reachable by CTV programmatic advertising, including more than 110 million among Gen Z and millennials. As audiences continue to flock to streaming, CTV will need to be prioritized, and marketers should be testing now before they are behind.

The Team at Bluewater

In 2023 we predict more "Great Marketing Migration." We expect more clients to make the turn to performance marketing. It’s our time to shine, driving the most effective direct-to-consumer strategies and results for clients. Fourth-quarter 2022 saw huge companies make tightening moves (layoffs for Amazon, Meta, and Twitter included). This tightening will precipitate a heavier migration to performance-driven marketing. The financial pressure to outperform a 2022 that showed an economic downturn for many companies means they will look for more value from every marketing venture and expect to squeeze more performance from each advertising asset. That pressure creates great opportunity for companies like Bluewater, who thrive at driving measurable results.

We also predict 2023 will bring more consolidation and aggregation of streaming platforms. This will open even more opportunity for performance marketers like Bluewater in the wildly fragmented streaming ad market. 2022 brought the merger of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, as well as a merger of HBO Max and Discovery+. At some point soon, someone will take a page out of the Jeff Bezos’ book and "start with the consumer and work backwards," so they can get all the content they want aggregated in an easy-to-use centralized way.

Geoff Crain, Kingstar Media

Earned media will become a primary focus for many brands; and AI advancements in conversational marketing will continue to improve the customer service experience.

TikTok will continue to grow and attract an older, more affluent audience in 2023. Advertisers can take advantage of this by creating content in-house or using micro-influencers. This form of "earned media" does not require any paid media as it will often grow organically and lead to added revenue and engagement.

Calling an 800 number and waiting on the phone to speak with a live agent is a trend that has been declining for years. AI technology is advancing and replacing live agents. Brands are now able to use chatbot technology to build conversational marketing via live chats online. Consumers can communicate in the chatbot and receive instant, personalized responses. This leads to higher brand loyalty and repeat purchases.

Lucio Maramba, Maramba Insights Inc.

Our current advertising infrastructure will have to adapt and evolve to augmented reality, just as it has with the addition of streaming and social media ads. Our industry needs to be ready to embrace this new category and be ready to leverage our proven flexibility to make sure we stay on the leading edge of how to properly, and responsibly, adapt and deploy direct response content via this new advertising vehicle.

I also expect to see inventory and opportunities for advertising on streaming platforms to explode. The key will be the evolution in the ability to track and manage the results. Our industry will need to navigate the balance between privacy regulation and our ability to get the data we need to accurately manage our campaigns.

Alex Nazarevich, LeadsRx

A big shift to performance-driven marketing is here. With ad budgets under pressure, we will continue to see ad dollars migrate away from brand to channels delivering quantifiable results. This brings a fresh urgency to measurement capabilities that deliver insights growth marketers need to scale their best-performing channels aggressively.

AI, a martech buzzword for years, finally comes into play. The big shift to performance-driven marketing, coupled with resource constraints across many teams, paves the way for AI to deliver value through augmentation of marketers’ efforts.

The Team at Pacific Media Technologies

Consumers will spend more in 2023. The new year will be a jumble of mixed signals, reflecting a unique environment characterized by opposing forces: exuberance as the pandemic wanes, tempered by caution in the face of economic turbulence. In a nutshell, consumers will not be shy about spending in 2023.

The U.S. economy will not fall into a recession in 2023. If the Fed stamps out inflation in the near-term by forcefully reducing its balance sheet, it will drive up interest rates, cool financial markets sharply, and possibly create a modest recession next year led by short-lived consumer cutbacks, according to this bold outlook.

The Team at Paymerang

Automation and adoption of new technology will continue to be at the forefront of companies. More companies are seeing the benefits of going digital: boosted efficiency, visibility into cash flow, reduced operating costs, real-time data insights, and, most importantly, fulfilled employees. Economic uncertainty has accelerated the need for automation as most companies struggle more than ever to do more with less.

Partnerships are also the key to growth in the media market. Strategic partnerships mutually benefit those who share the same goals and mission. For example, Paymerang provides best-in-class finance automation solutions that help clients combat labor shortages and shrinking budgets. With automation, users can focus on what matters most to them. Both partners can successfully grow together.

Gregory Silvano, Buyist

A resurgence of television advertising. What’s old is new. 2023 will see additional states implementing California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)-like legislation and more big-tech changes like cookie-less browsers. This will lessen the allure of some digital marketing and bring marketers back to television advertising for its broad reach and cost-effectiveness.

Fern Lee and Lori Zeller, THOR Associates

Influencer marketing is going to become a hybrid of traditional and digital tactics that will rest its laurels on word-of-mouth brand fame as well as user-generated content (UGC) creating brand awareness and driving conversions, while at the same time collecting consumer data and redefining the marketing landscape.

Social media, as we know, it will change. TikTok will outmaneuver Instagram and Facebook. Decreasing ad revenue on those platforms will create financial havoc. Artificial intelligence will serve consumers easy and open purchasing apps embedded in the advertising on these apps. Data capture will struggle to adhere to the privacy rulings of the FCC and FTC. As a result, chief revenue officers, chief experience officers, and chief marketing officers will have refined responsibilities that all will fall under the chief information/technology officer.


2022 in 10 Words or Less

These same 10 PDMI companies and leaders also shared their feedback to another question — one that gives us a quick last look back at 2022 before we buy the ticket and take the ride into 2023: Give us a headline — 10 words or less — to describe 2022 for you, your company, or the industry, and then tell us why.

The insights below are revealing and give an even deeper perspective to each’s predictions for the coming year.

Dieter Ammann, Fulfillment Express

Tremendous growth in the DTC marketing industry propelled us forward.

The Team at Blockboard

Blockboard maximizes advertising performance by guaranteeing zero-waste ad campaigns.

Blockboard is a programmatic 2.0 platform that leverages Web3 tools to pre-verify every ad call, vet each impression, and ensure truthful, no-waste results for all ad campaigns. Blockboard is strengthening the relationship between the advertiser and its consumers by guaranteeing real, human-viewed results. The company is leading the next generation of digital advertising and combating fraud in the market by delivering transparent and performance-driven results to CTV/OTT advertisers.

The Team at Bluewater

A welcomed migration.

We would summarize 2022 as a welcomed migration of clients moving from general to direct-to-consumer marketing. This year, Bluewater welcomed many new clients that left their general agencies in search of our direct-to-consumer expertise. From lead-gen to tech to big-brand CPG companies, the migration is well underway, and we see no turning back for these brands.

Geoff Crain, Kingstar Media

2022 pushed us to revamp our USP and test new mediums.

With rising costs and declining response rates, we saw many brands struggle to maintain pre-pandemic sales numbers. This made Kingstar focus on redefining its USP and helping brands achieve KPI targets beyond the first sale. We also increased our focus on the iGaming vertical and capitalized on the growth in this area.

While linear TV is still the best way to reach a mass audience, today’s consumer landscape is fragmented. People are watching content on a variety of channels, and it was important for Kingstar to continue to develop our omnichannel expertise and multi-platform advertising approach.

Lucio Maramba, Maramba Insights Inc.

Steady growth in a cautious market, heavily reliant on analytics.

The pandemic has brought us back to basics when it comes to data. If there is a silver-lining, it is the recognition that our current technology allows us to more accurately track results, across all platforms, and that proper analysis has allowed us to adapt and evolve during uncertain times. In 2022, our partnerships with our clients were stronger than ever, as they embraced and leveraged the insights gleaned to optimize campaigns and identify new opportunities. Analytics has experienced a sort of renaissance, and everyone benefits from accountable media.

Alex Nazarevich, LeadsRx

Fail fast, pivot quickly: every customer counts.

The Team at Pacific Media Technologies

We changed, applied new technology, adapted, learned, and grew.

In many ways, 2022 will be remembered as a breakout year fueled with optimism and hope but clouded with altogether new challenges for businesses. While the advertising industry continued to emerge from the restrictive business conditions of the previous two years, old lessons from the past were reaffirmed. Businesses must always remain flexible, nimble, and efficient to create the resilience required for business success.

The Team at Paymerang

Paymerang provides finance automation for the modern enterprise.

Paymerang, a strategic partner and prominent accounts payable (AP) automation provider, delivers streamlined invoice and payment automation solutions that bring AP departments into the modern age. Paymerang saves AP departments thousands of hours annually, enhances visibility, increases accuracy, improves efficiency, and earns rebates while reducing paper, fraud risks, and operating costs. This allows teams to focus on more client-facing activities and mission-critical goals while exploring new ways to run their businesses more strategically and profitably.

Gregory Silvano, Buyist

Yet another new normal.

We had pre-Covid, Covid, and we’re now in the first stages of post-Covid e-commerce. E-commerce marketers have been hit with privacy changes though iOS and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), inflation, a pending recession, a new retail environment, and more this year. Nobody could have guessed how 2022 was going to play out at this time last year, when we were concerned about global supply chain issues.

Fern Lee and Lori Zeller, THOR Associates

Results. ROI. Revenue

Every year, we goal to bring results, ROI, and revenue to our clients. 2022 was no exception. Our team strives to deliver best-in-class performance-based marketing initiatives. When we say team, we are happy to share that 2022 made us "proud mamas," as we birthed THOR Digital. Collectively, we create omnichannel strategy and execute from fruition to completion opening the funnel for consumer engagement.


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