Readers Speak: The Ad Age 2016 Survey

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Marketers and agencies have a lot on their minds as 2016 begins, nothing more so than making marketing work better. But there are many ways to pursue that goal. We asked our readers to spell out their agendas -- and what the industry as a whole needs to tackle in the coming 12 months.

Q1. Rate these 14 issues' consequence to marketing and advertising in 2016, from "not important" to among the "most important."
Percentage answering "most important"
Making marketing more efficient
55%
Improving creative excellence
54%
Finding new ways to reach consumers as they block or skip ads
52%
Improving trust between marketers and agencies
41%
Improving ad targeting online
40%
Fighting ad fraud
40%
Being able to grow or maintain my marketing budget
40%
Protecting consumer privacy online
38%
Improving the viewability of online ads
35%
Improving the relationship between the CMO and CTO
22%
Finding ways to raise margins for agencies
22%
Getting to the bottom of allegations of undisclosed rebates
12%
Shoring up the agency-of-record model
12%
478 responses
Q2. In your own words, what's the No. 1 issue the marketing and advertising industry needs to deal with in 2016?

Ad blocking

Creating better, less intrusive ads

Online flooding of ads making the consumer numb Ethical privacy practices
Online consumer trust Engaging consumers when they are tuning advertising out, figuring out how to reach consumers
in a creative way that is relevant - too many old models are no longer working AD FRAUD. I no longer trust what my agency - or any other agency - says.
I don't have money to throw down the drain Ad viewability
Agency margins Fair and honest compensation for agencies
The rebate issue between agencies and marketers Breaking big agency monopolies
Creating trust between marketers and ad/media agencies Partnering with the client not just as a vendor, improving trust between marketers and their agencies
Diversity, transparency, authenticity Trust all around: clients between agencies, between buyers and sellers, within agencies. There is no loyalty any more and with good reason
Convincing advertisers that investments in marketing and long-term customer development is still relevant Accountability of total budgets and aligning sales and marketing objectives with the business objectives
Raising questions about the old world AOR agency model There is a big threat to the industry with content marketing, empowered consumers, marketing efficiency and costs - we need to be on top of this or our value will erode
Getting programmatic right Fragmented media penetration, people skipping ads and no attention span
Reduction in live TV watching and the move to time shifting and online Capture of digital dollars from TV budgets particularly in politics
Perfecting mobile marketing with more spend, mobile marketing attribution - particularly offline conversions like phone calls and in-store visits Measurement and accountability
Lack of true ROI accounting Content marketing versus traditional online ads
Measuring the effectiveness of branded content Diversity and developing talent that reflects a forward vision
Selected from 410 responses
Q3. What's No. 1 on your particular business agenda for 2016?

Growing revenue

Improving margins

Greatly improving share of voice Reaching Gen Z
Maintaining current clients and finding new clients that I actually have an interest in working with Real time analytics for linear TV advertising
Programmatic TV Getting click-throughs - Making sure ads are visible, not buried
Improving creative excellence Building trust with advertisers in the value of and investing in creativity
Working within ever-shrinking budgets Content creation efficiencies
Creative efficiency Exploring options outside of traditional advertising
Using virtual reality in advertising Programmatic TV and cross-screen convergence
Reaching the end user through new video messaging formats Measuring new media landscape vs traditional TV
Reinforcing TV as still the top ad medium, stressing the value of network TV Mobile advertising - online traffic is mobile, the banners are not
Marketing effectiveness and ROI Procurement challenges, still
Shore up agency-of-record assignments The challenge and costs of managing numerous small campaigns as opposed to fewer large campaigns
How to bridge viewing across multiple platforms and measurability Showing value and educating clients on paying appropriately for this value
Redefining the client-agency relationship and moving it to a mutual partnership Improving client retention
Growing client trust and improving work quality Making some magic
Selected from 422 responses
Photo credit: iStock