Advertisers in the media & entertainment category are most confident about seeing business growth in their category this year. They are closely followed by advertisers in pharmaceuticals & healthcare.

This is the key finding from Zenith’s new biannual client survey. Ahead of marketers attending Cannes Lions 2017, we wanted to find out what are the key drivers of growth and to assess how confident they are about business growth in their category.

Zenith asked clients how confident they were in the prospects for growth in their category this year. We then ranked each category on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 means everyone expects substantial decline, 100 means everyone expects substantial growth, and 50 means the average expectation is for no growth.

The results were as follows. Media & entertainment advertisers came out on top, with a score of 82.1, followed by pharmaceuticals & healthcare and alcohol. The lowest-scoring category was telecommunications, at 33.3, followed by food & drink and FMCG (non-food).


Ranking of categories by advertiser confidence in growth

Survey of 158 key Zenith clients around the world

Category Confidence index
1. Media & entertainment 82.1
2. Pharma/healthcare 70.3
3. Alcohol 70.0
4. Luxury 67.6
5. Beauty 67.2
6. Automotive/vehicles 63.6
7. Travel 61.4
8. Retail 60.0
9. FMCG (non-food) 55.7
10. Financial/insurance 53.6
11. Food & drink 48.4
12. Telecommunications 33.3


Key drivers of business growth

We then asked our clients to look at the drivers of business growth, ranking them according to how important they believed they were for their brand. From most important to least important, the factors were ranked as follows.


Ranking of contributing factors to business growth

Survey of 158 key Zenith clients around the world

  1. Data & technology
  2. Business transformation
  3. New competitive positioning
  4. Geographical expansion
  5. Diversification
  6. Automation
  7. Mergers & acquisitions


The first three factors were ranked closely together, with quite a big gap between numbers 3 and 4. Adapting to the challenges of a transforming economy is clearly the main priority for advertisers.


Translating growth in data to business growth

We also asked clients how the huge increase in data has affected three areas of their business: buying efficiency, creating new insights into consumers, and generating profitable brand growth. For each area we gave them five options: data has made it more difficult, has had no effect, has slightly improved it, has greatly improved it, or has revolutionised it. And for each area there was one overwhelmingly popular response, with 50% or more of responses. These were as follows:

  • The huge increase in data has allowed us to make small improvements in buying efficiency.
  • It has allowed us to create much better insights.
  • It has improved brand growth slightly.

So while most clients agree that data has significantly improved their consumer insights, it has not yet transformed their buying efficiency or brand growth.

“Brands have the opportunity to harness data and technology to transform their businesses and accelerate brand growth, but are having difficulty in turning theory into practice,” said Vittorio Bonori, Zenith’s Global Brand President. “Agencies must step up and work in partnership with their clients to unlock the true potential of this revolution in communications.”

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