Suzie Cardwell on the future of digital marketing

Technology is evolving at a rate unprecedented at any time in human history, and for those willing to take advantage of it, the opportunities are endless. With the widespread use of opt-in data sharing and web3 fast approaching, digital marketers and the brands they work with are at the forefront of this evolution.

Media Week caught up Suzie Cardwellchief product and customer strategy officer of News Corp, at APAC Advertising Week.

In his Advertising Week panel, Cardwell talked about the movement toward an internet opt-in when it comes to shared data. In a digital advertising context, the phrase means that a user will take positive steps to provide consent to have their data used to provide a more individualized online experience.

As consumers learn more and more about how data is used — and begin to expect choice over how theirs is used — Cardwell says marketers need to keep in mind. mind that there are different ways of thinking about data.

“Some consumers are very happy that platforms, media owners and marketers are taking their data and using it for targeting or analytics. It’s not anywhere near the top of the line. There are, however, other groups of consumers for whom this choice will be important.

“When we talk about how we think about managing consumer consent and how we use that consent, we need to be aware of these groups of people.”

Unfortunately for marketers, it’s not as simple as asking people to share the information needed to make their online experience more personalized. A particularly formidable statistic brought up during the Ad Week panels is that 86% of consumers want a more targeted online experience, but only 25% are willing to provide the relevant data to make it happen.

Looking to the future, Cardwell says there will likely need to be a consumer education movement around any data collection activity, to ensure people know how their information will be used.

“There is not necessarily a clear distinction between collecting data and obtaining relevant and targeted information. There is definitely a disconnect and a lack of understanding – and not surprisingly, so. If you don’t work in marketing, advertising and media, it’s not something you think about on a daily basis.

Regardless of how many people agree or not, Cardwell says there’s one overarching point the industry will need to focus on moving forward.

“One of the things that I think is really, really important as we look at accepting and starting to manage consent is that any requirement to do so – whether it comes from consumers or from other places – is applied evenly.

“The platforms do not require activation for things like targeted advertising or data collection. As we begin to think about it in our part of the world, we need the same thinking and expectations applied to all platforms.”

Web3 and industry trends

While there are still hurdles for marketers to overcome in today’s Internet, the future increasingly looks to be the Web3 world of blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs.

“Web3 technology certainly has the potential to help us create some really great new consumer experiences,” says Cardwell.

“Some of the early experiences in places like Decentraland and the Metaverse are starting to indicate where we might take it. Marketers are building their own virtual experiences and, in terms of engagement, it’s time for brands to start thinking about how they can use these spaces.”

A selfie that Mark Zuckerberg posted of himself in the Metaverse

When asked which trends the industry should be focusing its attention on, Cardwell says NFTs are worth watching.

“In terms of the NFT space and applications for it, playing and starting to experiment there will bring some really exciting opportunities.”

On the other hand, however, there is one particular area that Cardwell thinks the industry should shift its focus to: measuring attention and how to trade on attention.

As an industry, we don’t have an established and consistent way to measure attention, and we have a number of different vendors currently using different methodologies to do this. Therefore, we don’t necessarily have a way of agreeing with a client what exactly attention looks like.

“We need to agree on what exactly attention looks like and what definition we’re going to use if we’re going to start trading it.”

Look forward

With so much change on the horizon for digital marketers and the brands they work with, Cardwell says the industry faces both short-term and long-term challenges.

“In the very short term, we have to weather this period of uncertainty as marketers determine where and how much they should invest with consumer sentiment where it sits.

“Longer term, what we all need to work towards as an ecosystem is to measure the effectiveness of advertising across all of our different environments – based on the business results a client is looking to drive, not based on any particular media metric. We need to focus on what a campaign across different channels generates in terms of brand lift, consideration, and sales for a brand. We all talk about it, but we have to get to the point where this is how we measure ourselves.

Cathy W. Howerton