Overmonetized influencers and pesky millennials: What brands are worried about right now

Brands of all sizes are attending the Digiday Brand Summit this week in Park City, Utah. It’s not often this happens, so we asked them to “map out” what was really on their minds when it came to challenges in the brand marketing space. We took each individual mind maps and created one giant composite chart to try and envision what really is occupying the headspace of top brands right now. We also tapped attendees to expand on their challenges, anonymously.

Here’s a closer look.

Mind Map

Multi-touch attribution continues to be a big problem for brands, especially those with robust offline and online presences. “This is a big problem. Although it feels like we’ve been complaining about this for a long time. The problem is each platform has its own rules. Something works on YouTube, it doesn’t work on Facebook Live. And they’re all over the place and the attribution and measurement is challenging,” said one executive.

And when attribution comes into play, so does infighting. One e-commerce specialist said that figuring out the success of digital campaigns offline is really hard. And if it’s hard to figure out, that means convincing senior management that something is working is hard, too.

Who owns content?
Speaking of infighting: The push-pull of content continues to be a big issue. For most brands, there are several problems. When a content plan is laid out, who actually ends up being responsible? Is it sales, marketing, PR, or someone else? And as one attendee said, it’s still hard to figure out the ROI of organic content, so in order to justify resources going there, it’s an uphill battle.

“Ownership is tough.” said one person by way of example. “Teams will map out something, but often there is little to no communication of execution strategy. There’s rarely a true owner. We’ve now created a team using one member from each other department so everyone is represented. We need to hire more resources internally to do this.”

Many brands have simply pulled agencies off content. “We need more control,” said another attendee.

Branding vs. direct marketing
There is continued conflict over where dollars should flow: to programs directly designed to sell, or to “brand building” projects. Plenty of brand marketers are worried about the two. Often, branding is used as a convenient excuse for why the return on investment was low. Executives say that shouldn’t be the case, but are struggling to find the right balance. “We don’t know which one to focus on,” said one attendee.

Overpaid influencers
Brands are now saying that they are engaging in fewer paid influencer buys. Some executives find that the influencer market is overmonetized — there are simply too many bloggers and Instagram stars, commanding high prices for content. Others find that there is no scale.

“After the initial post, and just amplifying it via paid, how can we best continue to capture buzz from these influencer posts?” asked one attendee. 

These pesky millennials
And last but never the least, brands are still worrying about the millennial audience — and beyond. “For us, everyone is chasing the millennials but we still don’t know the right way to reach them, or if we even should bother. Are they even the ones we need to target?” said one attendee. For many brands, figuring out which demographic to target — and at the cost of ignoring another, remains a challenge.


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