We’ve searched for the latest must-read marketing stories so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s happening in the industry this week, from taking another look at generational stereotypes to 2020 marketing challenges.

3 Key Factors Of Brand Partnerships That Boosts Creativity

Planning a brand partnership? Keep these three factors in mind. They’ll help ensure your partnership is worthwhile for all parties involved.

Why it matters: Brand partnerships may seem rote but there’s a number⁠—in this case, three⁠—of factors that separate killer brand partnerships from partnerships that should have been killed.

The Voice Of Blind People Hasn’t Been Heard’: Inside The Fight For Audio-Described Ads
The Drum

Advertising has largely ignored the blind. P&G wants to change that with audio descriptions.

Why it matters: There’s an untapped audience not being adequately served by marketers. As the article notes, “if a company produced an audio description of its next ad for British TV, it would immediately reach an extra 2.2 million people.”

What’s Top Of Mind For CMOs Right Now?

Six chief marketing officers share their priorities for 2020, including digital transformation and channel growth.

Why it matters: Here’s what your competition is planning for 2020. Aren’t you a little curious?

Your Data-Driven Marketing Is Harmful. I Should Know: I Ran Marketing At Google And Instagram

The map is not the territory: marketers run the risk of relying too heavily on data that they forget the human represented by it, including their emotions and needs.

Why it matters: “The reality is that marketers have long understood the need to build and foster meaningful emotional connections between businesses and customers. The quality of these connections helps to define the world’s most iconic brands.” What we know is that quality suffers when taking human activity in abstraction.

The CMO Role Is Evolving Rather Than Going The Way Of The Dinosaur
Chief Marketer

The death of the CMO has been greatly exaggerated, being borne out of creative roles that typically diverge from left-brained, analytical data-crunching. But the tide may be turning and one needs only to point to the fact that Coca-Cola recently revived the CMO role after two years without, a bellwether for smaller brands that are wrestling with the changing nature of the position.

Why it matters: The increasing influence of data-fueled technologies has been blamed for the untimely demise of the chief marketing officer, but the case can be made that more data is empowering CMOs, and is not an existential threat. By changing mindsets around data, the CMO can incorporate new technologies and “not only […] survive but thrive.”

Hulu To Debut New Ad Formats In 2020 Focused On Letting Users Make Choices, Transact With Advertisers
Tech Crunch

Hulu is unveiling new ad experiences that would allow viewers to engage with brands and have more input in determining which ads they are served.

Why it matters: Hulu’s new ad formats are a direct response to confronting the problem of disruptive ad experiences. The hope is that these ads are “less disruptive, more engaging, and more functional.”

The Story Of Casper Shows There Is No DTC ‘Revolution’
Marketing Week

The DTC revolution will not be televised. In fact, it may not have happened at all. DTC brands entered the fray touting a “different model for marketing,” but the distinction dissipated once the startup-phase ended, finding many DTC brands shifting from their direct distro models to traditional retail channels.

Why it matters: The very premise of DTC has been gut-checked for some time, as we covered during SXSW last year. Mark Ritson’s latest piece is a no holds barred missive to marketers that “most of [DTC brands’] touted disruption and success was bullshit.”

How To Market Taboo Products

Marketing taboo products can be a tricky business. You run the risk of offending consumers or making light of serious social issues. At the same time, the “friction”
from discussing taboo topics can be a major advantage.

Why it matters: Some of the most lauded campaigns from the past year push the boundaries of what’s socially addressable in public. Danielle Sabrina’s tips for marketing taboo products ‘the right way’ can help you position your brand to take advantage of the taboo nature of difficult-to-discuss products.

Opinion: Under The Influence—The Dishonest And Wasteful Practice Of Influencer Marketing
Ad Age

Should marketers say ‘farewell’ to influencers and get back to the brass tacks of marketing? Has the drive for word-of-mouth authenticity once promised by influencers run out of gas? Kevin Twomey makes the case against influencer marketing.

Why it matters:
Due to the difficulty of proving the ROI of influencer marketing, coupled with a swell of dishonest behavior from influencers and the prospect that by 2022, $15 billion will be spent by brands on marketing with influencers, marketers should take a long, hard look at their marketing mix.

The Great Sucking Sound: Automation Has Made Media Harder


Turns out, automation when it comes to media buying has not necessarily cut down on the number of humans it takes to manage it. In fact, in myriad ways, media buying has perhaps gotten harder.

Why it matters: Marketing automation has long been sold as a way to reduce costs and simplify processes for marketers, but is that really the reality? Clearly, not with media buying—but how many other processes are facing similar fates?

Only 28% Of Marketers Focus On Data Quality Reports: Nielsen

MarTech Advisor

More data, more actionable insights? According to a new report from Nielsen, perhaps only 28 percent of marketers may actually be concerned with the quality and accuracy of the data they use.

Why it matters: This can be summed up in one sentence of Nielsen’s global head of analytics, Matt Krepsik: “Marketers are seeking greater accountability in today’s increasingly omnichannel landscape, yet we learned through this study that their investments in media are often driven by perception versus reality.”

Micro-Influencers Trends: Platform, Format And Compensation Practices


Some highlights from MarketingProf’s micro-influencer trend report, which may be of no surprise to anyone: micro-influencers largely prefer Instagram to activate their brand collaborations, they want compensation in the form of actual payment (not swag, exclusivity, etc.) and Instagram Stories—with their ability to direct action toward a brand—are the format of choice.

Why it matters: The trend has shifted from focusing on macro-level influencers, to engaging “micro” influencers, which have a more engaged following—that is, until they are overleveraged by brands, too.

How Brands Like Unilever, McDonald’s And WPP Are Responding To Australia’s Bushfire Crisis

The Drum

The Australian bushfire crisis has triggered numerous responses from brands, many well-intentioned of course, but also many that appear to be a little opportunistic as well. It is not a good look to leverage tragedy to try to sell more product. On that note, this article offers insights on why and how brands can get involved on issues like this in real, authentic ways.

Why it matters: With brand activism on the rise and younger consumers looking for social responsibility from the brands they buy from, it is imperative brands get this right.

How To Grow A Brand Beyond A Buzz Moment

Business Of Fashion

Brands, big or small, can do with some advice on how to capitalize on a time when your brand is accidentally or purposefully of the moment. Buzz is great and all, but how can you turn it into longevity?

Why it matters: Lightning strikes. Look at Eggo and Stranger Things. Gigi Hadid and 40-year-old sunglasses brand Le Specs. It’s worth entertaining how you would respond if your brand was unexpectedly thrust into the conversation.

Google Chrome Will Drop Third-Party Cookies In 2 Years


“We are confident … mechanisms like the Privacy Sandbox can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete,” said Justin Schuh, director of Chrome engineering.

Why it matters: “These changes will affect Google’s business buying ads across the open web, often known as its DoubleClick business, a Google spokesperson confirmed.”

Fuelling The Influencer Machine: The Hidden Network Turning People Into Stars

Business Of Fashion

Exploring the impact of the influencer marketing machine.

Why it matters: The state of influencer marketing shows strong growth. In-depth knowledge of how influencers operate is imperative for marketers who may run these campaigns in the future.

5 Steps To Secure Your Customer Data


Blake Morgan makes the case for continually revising and re-evaluating your company’s data privacy policies and strategies.

Why it matters: Stats show that consumers expect responsible data handling and clear communication around how companies comply with data regulations.

The Timing Is Right For Brands, Streaming And The New Heartland


Get to know the “New Heartland.”

Why it matters: Brands and media buyers have misconceptions about a new subset of viewers, and overlooking this important segment will cost them.

3 Ways VR/AR Became A Reality For Brands At CES

Ad Age

A special report from Ad Age covering the VR/AR technology at play at CES, as well as implications for marketers.

Why it matters: While still an industry in its infancy, VR/AR is set to hit the mainstream. Learn how 5G will affect how marketers use the technology as its adoption becomes more widespread.

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: Subverting The Stereotypes

The Drum

Research director Wex Eathorne breaks down five trends based on Opinium Research’s Most Connected Brand study which indicates that “[generational] differences are driven by fundamental social, cultural and technological changes.”

Why it matters: Understanding the influences behind generational attitudes toward brands goes a long way to unseat stereotypes based on how consumers view their relationships toward them.

Marketers Ignore True Brand Impact At Their Peril


“Just because a commercial garners views does not mean there is brand impact.” Dig in to learn what really drives brand impact.

Why it matters: Learn why and how captured impressions are distinct from how people are impacted by your brand.

It’s Time For Brands To Stop Climate Grandstanding And Listen To Consumer Needs


Is a preponderance of “purpose” throwing marketers off the trail of what really matters?

Why it matters: Even purposeful pedestals can be cloying to consumers and miss the point of connecting, rather than preaching, to people over shared environmental concerns.

Your Challenge For The 2020s: Make Marketing More Accessible

Marketing Week

A challenge to every marketer for the new decade: “do what [you] can to ensure marketing feels possible, accessible and full of potential.”

Why it matters: We all need a challenge in 2020.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, January 17. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.