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Commerce Week Overview: Refining the Funnel

7 Sep 2022

The most thought-provoking statistic presented from the stage at Commerce Week this summer was probably this one: 80% of CEOs are looking to marketing to drive revenue growth.

If that statistic is accurate, then exactly what do the other 20% of CEOs expect from their marketing — branded swag?

To be sure, the practitioners of media advertising and other methods of “upper funnel” marketing have long sought to maintain a clearly defined distance from the sales-driving tactics of their “lower funnel” counterparts across the organization.

Yet it still sounds odd to suggest that revenue growth might not be considered the natural, even obvious, objective of all marketing activity, regardless of how much farther down the funnel the purchase might eventually occur.

It certainly seemed counterintuitive to the rest of the discussions taking place in July at Commerce Week, Adweek’s second-annual deep dive into sales-driving strategies through all current and future retail channels — real and virtual.

Yes, there was plenty of talk about upper funnel brand building vs. lower funnel conversion. But it was almost always in the context of aligning the two activities to avoid duplication, improve efficiencies, strengthen collaboration, deepen consumer engagement and/or drive revenue growth.

So while many organizations are still struggling with the mechanics of aligning marketing functions, processes and budgets that have been siloed for decades, there’s no longer anyone questioning the need for it to happen.

“In my job for the last five years. I’ve had to constantly transform, and build new capability, and balance the short- and the long-term equally,” summarized Julie Bowerman, Kellogg Co.’s Chief Marketing Officer, during a session focused on retail media but illustrative of the need for “full-funnel activation” that underscored nearly all discussions across the event’s three days.

The attached report examines five key themes from The Mars Agency’s perspective, along with an additional smattering of thought-provoking statistics and notable quotes presented from the stage.

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