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The CMO’s Survival Guide: 5 ways to keep growing in a downturn


High inflation, an energy crisis and the war in Ukraine are taking their toll on the global economy. Consumers are feeling the pinch and cutting back. As a marketeer, you may already be under pressure from the boardroom to deliver more, for less.

Media is a powerful ally in navigating the downturn. We’ve assembled a crack global team of experts – in strategy, consumer insight, data, performance and innovation – with smart strategies to make the most of your media.

From proving the value of your brand to AI-powered scenario planning, finding value gaps in your purchase journey to innovating where it really counts, we’re here to help you keep growing.

01 The thin line between agile and hasty

From Chris Worrell, Head of Strategy, Client Solutions, Wavemaker Worldwide, and Belinda Moon, Group Strategy Director, Wavemaker US.

Uncertainty is the only certainty in a recession, so planning for different scenarios is essential – and the standard binary this-or-that approach won’t cut it. The evidence is clear – companies that do data-driven scenario planning get five times more growth than those who don’t. This used to be onerous (manual, lengthy, resource-sucking) but AI makes it possible for all now.

Read it here

02 Hunting for value in the Purchase Journey

From Andrew Spurrier Davies, Head of Precision, Wavemaker EMEA, and Jon Erling Lysen Helgesen, Data & Tech Director, Wavemaker Norway.

Finding more value in the Purchase Journey is a must in an economic downturn – but impossible without a deep and holistic understanding of it. That means avoiding lazy and costly assumptions about signals and consumer behaviour. With the right mindset, expertise and tech, we can quantify the impact of all factors and find the lucrative gaps that will help brands ride out a recession.

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03 Brand advertising is your greatest ally in a downturn

From Damian Thompson, Wavemaker Worldwide Head of Consumer Insight and Linna Zhao, Thought Leadership, Wavemaker China.

In an economic downturn, brand budgets come under pressure from three things – declining sales, rising media costs and increased pressure to drive short-term sales via precision media. But if the purpose of brand advertising is to maintain sales, it’s good business to defend it. In addition to the well-established evidence of post-downturn success for brands who continue to advertise, here’s the oven-ready case for CMOs.

Read it here

04 Conquer stagflation with the power of Precision media

From Oli Saunders, Global Head of Addressability & DCO.

Defending the marketing budget is an inevitable, if unenviable, part of the CMO’s job in a downturn. Whether you’re under pressure to spend less or to get more from the same spend, addressable media is a proven way to deliver in two areas – media value and production savings. An added bonus – the changes it rings during tough times can lead to a more progressive way of doing business.

Read it here

Man milking a zebra

05 How to innovate in a downturn – double-down on distinctiveness

From Sarah Salter, Global Head of Applied Innovation, and Emily Fairhead Keen, Strategy Partner, Wavemaker UK.

Now is the time to strengthen your Masterbrand through innovation. As the majority of consumers switch to own-brand, you need to expand the number of people willing to pay more for your Masterbrand – to be in the 30% of products on which people will spend more.

Read it here



Campaign UK editor-in-chief Gideon Spanier is joined by Carolina Cordero Mcnamara, Marketing Director, Beauty, and Head of Media & Sustainability at Henkel UK & Ireland; Jo McClintock, VP of Brand at Trainline; Elliott Millard, Head of Planning at Wavemaker UK and Mudit Jaju, Wavemaker’s Global Head of Ecommerce. And Kathryn Saxon, Wavemaker UK’s Head of Audience Science, talks about the key takeaways from the agency’s cost of living research.

This podcast is a must-listen for all marketers who are trying to navigate a rapidly changing economic landscape.

To download Wavemaker UK’s cost of living research report, please visit here.


Campaign US’ Technology Editor, Jessica Heygate, is joined by Melissa Martin, VP Marketing Church & Dwight; Belinda Moon, Group Strategy Director at Wavemaker US and Dennis Potgraven, Chief Strategy Officer at Wavemaker US.


Recorded in front of a live audience in Singapore, this special edition podcast saw (or rather, heard) brand and agency marketers from L’Oréal, Mondelēz, and Wavemaker Asia-Pacific expound on shifting consumer trends within APAC and the importance of investing ad dollars shrewdly during economic headwinds. Underpinned by trenchant new Wavemaker research, the thought-provoking discussion delved into the agility of Asian markets and why a great deal of optimism remains in APAC, despite macroeconomic challenges.

Campaign Asia editorial director Robert Sawatzky is joined by Sindhuja Rai, global media investment and AMEA CX lead at Mondelēz; Umesh Phadke, chief transformation officer, SAPMENA (South Asia Pacific, Middle East, North Africa), L’Oréal; Gordon Domlija, CEO at Wavemaker Asia-Pacific; and Rose Huskey, chief client officer at Wavemaker Asia-Pacific.

Listen to the full insights below.

Content Labs · Wavemaker x Campaign Podcast Event: Asia

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