SYZYGY at DMWF: Conquering fears and embracing the future. 


5. July 2024

The biggest fears for marketers remain unanswered, but at the Digital Marketing World Forum (DMWF) last week, SYZYGY had its finger on the pulse. We set up a marketing stock exchange (sort of), giving marketers 100 tokens to invest in their top fears for the year. 

Why a stock exchange? 

Marketers are under an incredible amount of pressure, especially in the digital space. The promise of easily measured results and tech-driven solutions has become, well, complicated. 

We distilled these marketers fears into five key pain points: 

  • Data privacy, compliance, accessibility and usage
  • Adapting to rapid technology changes
  • Measuring the success of what you’re doing
  • Content saturation and differentiation
  • Budget caps and cost effectiveness

What we learned from launching to 2,000+ marketers at DMWF 

Over two days, we tracked how marketers invested their “fear tokens.” Here’s what we found:

  • Budget caps and cost effectiveness has won as the top fear with 26% of overall investments over the course of the event, with 35% of voters ranking it as their top fear.
  • Adapting to rapid technology changes started strong, ranking as the top fear for over 70% of the event, starting to reduce significantly throughout day two of the event.
  • Measuring the success of marketing efforts saw a gradual increase in investment as the event progressed, finishing with 23% of overall investments.

This graph shows every $100 invested and how the fears tracked over the course of the two days.  

Our observations, point of view and recommended actions 

1.Why did adapting to rapid technology changes go from a top fear to 3rd place?  

  • Observation: The initial dominance and subsequent decline of “adapting to rapid technology changes” as a fear is fascinating. This shift likely reflects the DMWF’s day two focus on AI, potentially boosting marketers’ confidence in its application.
  • Our point of view: Let’s be real, AI, while already useful and with a promising future, isn’t about to steal our jobs. The current hype needs to settle. We need to focus on practical applications where AI can support marketers, not replace them. Remember, humans are bloody brilliant. We’re smart, creative and most of all, we know our brands and tonality better than AI does. 
  • Fear Actions: 
    • Start small and strategic: Focus on AI applications that offer clear value. For example, we’re using AI to build interactive personas from our own data and to conduct long tail keyword research for PPC. 
    • Test and learn: Implement small-scale tests before making significant investments. 
    • Don’t over-rely on AI: Maintain a balance between human expertise and AI assistance.

2. Budget caps and cost effectiveness wins but how closely does it link to measuring the success of what we are doing?

  • Observation: It’s no surprise that budget constraints and proving ROI are top of mind. The increasingly complex digital landscape makes measurement more challenging, leading to greater scrutiny of marketing activities and a rise in the importance of analytics and data management. 
  • Our Point of View: While we can’t control budget cuts, we can advocate for a customer-centric approach and a robust measurement framework 
  • Fear Actions: 
    • Understand your customers: Meet your audience where they are and ditch the outdated, static persona profiles. We can now have live, curated, adaptable personas that, in our case, can be conversational. We use our own Enact AI platform for this.
    • Establish a universal measurement framework: Align KPIs across the business and understand how individual marketing channels contribute to their achievement. We work with clients that have huge conversion lead times (6-12 months) and those with instant lead times (ecommerce), but the principles remain the same.
    • Test, analyse, and optimise: Create controlled testing environments to evaluate channel effectiveness and optimise spending accordingly.

3. Finally, a shout out to content saturation. We would have placed it higher!  

  • Observation: This is another fear that started high but was overshadowed by other fears. It definitely should be higher. The current marketing landscape heavily promotes a “more is better” content approach, use of AI for speed and cost efficiency, using AI automated translation services and backlinking to improve SEO rankings. All of this is leading to a sea of generic, forgettable content. 
  • Our Point of View: No thank you. We’ve seen the case studies about building 1,000 articles in 2 months and traffic going up by X%. We’ve investigated most of them, with one such famous case study we uncovered that only 30 of the articles actually ranked and generated traffic. Quality trumps quantity. Resist the urge to churn out AI-generated, poorly translated content. AI doesn’t know you, your brand, your tone of voice, your products nearly as well as you or a specialist writer would. 
  • Fear Actions: 
    • Prioritise quality over quantity: Invest in high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. 
    • Embrace human expertise: We simply do not use AI. We use human subject specialists with proven experience and background in their fields.   
    • Rethink translation: we have a unique view of how this should be done – start again. We create a seed ‘brief’, driven by SEO and topical / keyword requirements. Then we hand this to our local language writers. It’s faster and cheaper than translation, and most importantly its written from scratch in the target language to ensure cultural relevance and linguistic accuracy. We call this Adapt Net New and it runs through our Amplify S platform. 

The takeaway? 

DMWF London wasn’t just about fears; the conversations we had were a testament to the unwavering spirit of marketers. Yes, budgets are tight, technology is evolving at lightning speed, and standing out in a sea of content is tougher than ever. But amidst these challenges, a powerful truth emerged: Marketers are adaptable, resourceful, and deeply passionate about connecting with their audiences. 

So don’t let fear paralyse you. Embrace a strategic, customer-centric approach, prioritise quality over quantity, and view AI as an ally. By staying agile, focused, and connected to the heart of what matters – the customer – marketers can navigate the ever-changing landscape and achieve remarkable results. 

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