As regular readers of this blog might know, Polygraph occasionally participates in executive matchmaking conferences to engage with the broader community, talk with CMOs we don’t work with, and get a feel for what other companies are experiencing.

COVID has been a particularly interesting experience for us – as we’re probably as curious as ever about how other companies are grappling with the pandemic. But it’s also interesting in the sense that we did our first such matchmaking event virtually last week. Replace the fancy dinners, hallway conversations, and flowing beverages in an exotic location with Zoom calls from the home office.

While that may sound to be a snoozefest to some of you, it’s been rather compelling to us.

Here are our three, most consistent and STRIKING takeaways from this year’s conversations:

1) Executives have been thinking – perhaps all that time “not commuting” and “not traveling” has made executives rethink some core assumptions about how the marketing suite should function. How should my teams be organized? What should I outsource? What do we really need to be effective today? What’s the role of e-commerce? Are we behind? Are we investing enough?

2) Creative and creativity remain a massive pain point – pretty much across the board, companies have trouble with both creative and creativity. On the creative side, how do we better manage the assets we have? On the creativity side, what do we do with the assets we have to create a more compelling value proposition for the customer? And how do we use that to compete better? Many companies don’t feel like they have these issues licked.

3) Cost cutting/bottom line effectiveness – given the reduced budgets of a world in pandemic, almost every company we spoke with felt like they needed to become more efficient. Bloat is out. Nimble is in. Effectiveness per dollar spent is the name of the game. Nobody knows when budgets fully return, but CEOs nonetheless demand results.

I don’t know that we’ve faced a “bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better” moment in the advertising world like we are facing now. Brands as large and innovative as Domino’s are now realizing the value in the nimble upstart to drive results.

Is it time for you to consider a smaller, nimble group like Polygraph to help drive return from your digital advertising program? We are a lean, mean, e-commerce machine, after all!

Chris Treadaway

Chris Treadaway is the CEO of Polygraph. He was previously Group Product Manager of Web Strategy at Microsoft and a Founder of Stratfor. He is the two-time author of Facebook Marketing An Hour a Day and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on data-driven marketing.