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3 pitfalls marketers should avoid in 2020

MediaNet CEO Julia Amorim uses her perspective in examining the past decade and details three mistakes that the marketing industry should avoid in 2020.

5 min read


3 pitfalls marketers should avoid in 2020

Craig Steffan / Pixabay

The start of a new year is typically when many of us reflect on successes — and maybe a few failures — while making resolutions or goals to improve over the following 12 months.

With the start of a new decade upon us, maybe it’s time to think even bigger.

While the 2010s will be remembered for advancements in mobile computing, social media and artificial intelligence, for example, there are also a lot of marketing innovations that haven’t been used to their full potential.

For instance, over 82% of ads are now being brought programmatically and 86% of brands interested in taking programmatic buying in-house — and while adoption is high — marketers are failing to seize the opportunities with execution, and one of the great privileges of working in this industry is being able to provide the big-picture perspective brands might need to become more successful.

With that in mind, here are three mistakes we should all leave for the history books as we enter with confidence into 2020 and beyond.

1. Looking at the wrong KPIs

Slow and steady may win the race, but the increased pressure on marketing departments to deliver results often leads too many brands to treat their journey as a series of sprints.

Though many tools have emerged to assist with analyzing what marketers do, it usually takes more than days or weeks to accumulate the data necessary to derive meaningful insights. It takes a comprehensive approach that factors in not only a campaign but the channels used (and which ones should have been added).

Make this the moment you reimagine your key performance indicators to ensure they’re aligned with your objectives — recognizing that branding activities, for instance, will need be measured differently than something more focused on driving demand. And establish the right cadence for analysis — much like pacing yourself to complete a marathon, looking back every 15 minutes will only lead to stumbles.

2. Jumping on trends and tech, without purpose

There will likely be even more bold forecasts for emerging technologies such as AI, virtual reality and wearables over the next decade. Marketers will need to work harder than ever before to strike the right balance between capitalizing on the latest technologies and leaving others to mature.

This is, admittedly, a lot easier said than done, but here’s one question to help guide the process: What proportion of our audience will gather on new digital channels? If a critical mass will be there, so should your brand. Similarly, technologies that assist with automating marketing and advertising processes should be mapped back to your KPIs. If there’s no connection, it’s probably not the right time to embrace the latest innovation.

When in doubt, talk to the experts. Just like it’s better to consult your doctor before experimenting with a fad diet, agency partners can help brands understand the costs, time and other resources involved in trying new technologies to determine whether they’re worth it.  

3. Focusing on dollars and cents instead of true ROI

The kickbacks scandal that rocked the ad world brought some much-needed scrutiny from brands, but the year 2020 should be a time for marketers to adopt truly 20/20 vision in terms of how they allocate their budgets.

Here’s what won’t work: A myopic focus on driving down costs that ignores the unique capabilities and experience that a vendor or other partner may possess. By all means, get the best value for your dollar, but be mindful of non-working dollars that can make the difference in your overall results.

The danger is akin to buying the cheapest running shoes you can find: They get the job done in terms of covering your feet, but cushioning and support are what’s needed when you’re training for a marathon.

Conclusion: Focus on breaking down silos and working cross-channel

Fortunately, the tools are all here today to better understand the journeys customers take, the paths that lead to conversion and how best to optimize campaigns and engagement strategies.

Instead of treating channels, technologies and activities as a set of ingredients, 2020 is where marketers work collaboratively to cook a full meal.

If brands can transcend these mistakes and recognize the best practices behind them, the resolutions they make for 2020 will trigger a marketing revolution in the decade to come. 


In a professional journey that has taken her from user experience design to CMO and now CEO, Julia Amorim blends the agility of a startup founder with the professional expertise that comes with helping some of the world’s largest brands navigate the journey of digital transformation. As the leader of MediaNet, Julia stands at the intersection of strategic thinking, technological capability, business intelligence and user experience. Follow @MediaNet on twitter.


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