The 5 steps are each preceded by a question.

“Great results begin with great questions.”*

In a recent Gartner article, How the CMO Role Has Evolved – and What’s Next, VP Analyst Chris Ross refers to the role as having “undergone a head-spinning transformation over the last decade.”  In the next 5 years, Ross contends, the CMO role will become even more challenging with expectations for supporting the scope, speed, and complexity the business requires… with the need to “measure and optimize everything they do.”  

Add a global pandemic to the equation and the stakes get even higher. In the 2021 Forbes article, 4 Ways the Role of the CMO Has Changed As a Result of the Pandemic, author Greg Salmon contends that CMOs need to “address the fact that we face uncertainties and volatilities as never before.” So where do CMOs turn for advice, future planning insights, and flat-out answers? If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s where an agency can add its greatest value: Solving problems beyond a brand’s in-house capabilities or expertise.

Enter the Challenge of The Cookieless Future.

Few agencies would offer that they have “the answer.” Meanwhile, marketers, at all levels, readily admit that they need those answers to run successful campaigns in the future.  A future that’s rapidly approaching.  It’s not an overstatement to suggest that addressing the cookieless future, ahead of third-party cookie deprecation, is essential to capturing growth.

IAB’s Internet Advertising Revenue Report, issued earlier this week, shows programmatic advertising growing at 39% YoY, with its share of total digital revenue increasing 52.3%.  Outside of media, the ad agency business would be hard-pressed to identify another direct-path-to-growth that exceeds that trajectory. But what happens when data-driven digital advertising faces a dearth of the very data it has come to rely upon for decades?

The 5 questions CMOs should be asking their agency partners.

CMOs, Heads of Marketing, and any marketer responsible for their brand’s growth should be asking these 5 questions, to prepare for the cookieless future:

  1. To understand changes in data privacy: What’s happening, when, and how will it affect my campaigns?
  2. Data Partners offer options: Are we confident we have the right partners to deliver optimal audiences?
  3. Planning Strategy: What near- and long-term media strategies do you recommend?
  4. Testing Now: What plans are in place to test cookieless solutions now?
  5. Measurement: How are we monitoring performance and measuring successful results, comparing to cookie-based campaigns?

In our own Dstillery ID-free research**, the findings suggest a not-so-surprising range of concerns. What IS surprising is that for every concern that marketing leaders and agency media professionals cite, the solution is merely to develop a preliminary plan and begin testing. Consider how a team approach, where CMOs and their marketing teams work with their programmatic agency partners to plan and run cookieless tests, would address our clients’ key issues:

A. “I don’t have a plan”
B. “Unsure how cookieless works”
C. “Worried about measurement”

CMOs and any marketer embracing their role in driving growth, have not only the right, but arguably, the responsibility to test and share learning with their organizations.  

If you’d like to learn more, visit:

*Marilee Adams Ph.D., President and CEO of the Inquiry Institute, Originator of the QUESTION THINKING™ methodologies
**Source: Research conducted by Dstillery via Linkedin Polls, Dstillery Digest and 1:1 customer interviews, October 2021- April 2022