The U.S. Commerce Department shocked analysts with its report that June retail sales rose 0.6 percent overall (excluding auto sales the uptick was 1.3 percent), according to global supply chain media platform; this on the heels of a 1.7 percent drop in May.

While the end of shutdowns spurred some of that growth, the real driver happened online. “Commercial real estate firm CBRE released a report on global e-commerce predicting that U.S. e-commerce sales will comprise more than 25 percent of total retail sales by 2025. And e-Marketer predicts e-commerce sales will grow 17.9 percent this year,” according to Freightwave.

Despite the strong comeback, storm clouds loom amid growing concerns about inflation and a resurgence of COVID cases from the Delta variant. 

Uncertainty presents tough challenges for marketers, who need to ‘make forward-looking bets’ in the form of their marketing investment decisions. That’s difficult in normal times, but can feel overwhelming in the face of multiple, unpredictable and interdependent macro factors.

Here are several questions to consider to help prepare your marketing team and your plan for the known–and unknown–challenges ahead, based on learnings Keen has gained working with top consumer brands across retail, food and beverage, consumer goods and consumer health industries.


Are your team and resources aligned to pivot from annual marketing planning to quarterly or even monthly updates?

It was earlier this year that Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer Mark Pritchard declared the death of upfront deals for television advertising (annual, discounted contracts on TV ad buys). Far from a canary in the coal mine, this proclamation made official what consumer marketers have known for some time: Marketing may be budgeted once a year, but quarterly or even monthly updates are now critical to stay on track with goal achievement in today’s fragmented and rapidly changing media marketplace, especially since 2021’s economic shock.

The next question becomes what insights will you rely on to drive more frequent, time-sensitive updates and plan adjustments. 

“If performance-management technology investments are not part of your answer to this question they should be,” says Keen CRO Enid Maran. “One of the advantages machine-learning software offers marketing planners is the ability to ingest recent performance data and apply it to future modeling. This technology-enabled approach promotes a culture of continuous improvement that includes plan, execute, measure and adapt

“That’s the future state of marketing-performa