Press Release: Active International Forecasts a Year of Uncertainty for Marketers


Three significant shifts to create changed marketing landscape in 2014

Pearl River, N.Y. (BUSINESS WIRE) – In 2014, Active International predicts that significant shifts in the media landscape will dramatically impact Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) priorities and alter the marketing function in the majority of businesses.

“Marketers are heading into a year of uncertainty where the status quo of doing business will be insufficient to keep up with the shifting marketplace,” says Jim Porçarelli, Chief Strategy Officer. “We expect that CMOs will need to make holistic changing to their marketing strategies, including altering the tactics in which they promote their brand, the outlets and tools they use, the functions and skill set of their marketing department, and their reporting system.”

This move into an uncertain future will be facilitated by:

  1. The widespread adoption of programmatic buying
  2. The rise of new technologies and media outlets
  3. The market valuation of native advertising

Programmatic buying will change how marketing departments function

With network TV joining the fray and programmatic buying becoming the new reality, CMOs will have much to contend with in 2014. Marketers will be forced to evolve to an impression-based media perspective, vs. the ratings view that has dominated for so long. Further, in a landscape where ratings are declining but prices are increasing, it will become increasingly important to view advertising strategies through a three-pronged lens – video, audio and display – and evolve to manage expectations through impression guarantees.

“As technology plays a larger role, marketing departments will have to advance their skills,” says Porçarelli. “While programmatic buying won’t necessitate downsizing, it will streamline the process and probably eliminate some of the old jobs. The need for the ‘human side’ will continue, but with a more strategic skill set than those of buyers from yesteryear.”

CMOs will fully embrace experimentation and the unknown

Marketers will continue in an ongoing cycle of “do more with less.” As the media landscape continues to evolve, new tactics will offer a plethora of options. Expect to see more marketers open to experimental approaches this coming year. Not only will they need to manage existing initiatives and deliver the expected ROI, they’ll also need to carve out an approach and tap into resources for testing and experimentation.

The volume of testing will increase dramatically in 2014 with mobile finally “arriving,” with heightened expectations from consumers. “The implication is that marketers will need to manage in an environment of even more uncertainty and find a way to communicate and gain buy-in from CFOs and CEOs, no small feat,” notes Porçarelli.

The gavel will come down on native advertising

It’s clear that adoption for native advertising has reached a tipping point and it will assert itself as the next level of contextual advertising and content developers who create these “advertorials” will see more money from marketers for placement. However, the real issue of native advertising is how far an advertiser can push before consumers reject the blurring between advertising and content. Overanxious advertisers will see this format failing if they don’t truly understand the boundaries. Given the delicate balance, along with the variation in ad types and the variation in execution, marketers are, in effect, going “back to school” to raise their comfort level in this evolving advertising option.

About Active International

Active International consults with the Fortune 1000 on ways to optimize their enterprise assets, typically excess consumer packaged goods, real estate and capital equipment. As the global leader in corporate trade, Active has successfully helped many of the world’s leading brands recover value, reduce costs and increase market share.

Providing a dynamic financial tool and creative marketing solutions, Active has helped its clients improve their business performance, delivering $1.5 billion in economic benefit since 1984. Placing more than $1 billion in media on behalf of its clients, Active International is based in New York and has offices in 14 countries.


Nathan Burgess 
Bliss Integrated Communication