In its new report, Forrester showed that proving the value of marketing for the C-suite is one of the biggest challenges for marketers in 2022: 71% of B2C executives said the value of marketing was towards the CEO, CFO and must be proven to the board will be very – or extremely – challenging in the coming year.
This is no surprise. There was increasing complexity and questions about the amount and value of marketing spend before Covid, and consumer behavior will not become any less complex anytime soon. The past 18 months have also torn the rulebook for many marketers who are already struggling to attribute value across the funnel.
We saw how existing channels evolved, new channels emerged, and consumer reactions differ depending on context and external circumstances. Online performance has stabilized as budgets have shrunk, and with it, digital media costs have inflated. Cookie tracking and data policies affect the ability to truly understand marketing efforts and link them to sales across the customer journey.
But however difficult it may be, as the C-suite seeks a broader picture of how marketing is driving business growth, it is important that marketers understand how to tie all efforts with real business impact to continue to secure investments – and to direct them best effect.
The long and the short of it
Forrester’s report comes alongside the ongoing debate about the balance of the role of short-term direct response activities and long-term branding. The tendency to use short-term online metrics as primary performance indicators will increasingly have an impact on long-term brand success, as Mark Ritson’s recent article warns, as branding techniques have historically been less tangible and difficult to link to conversion.
“If you’re looking for returns on your marketing on a 12-month or shorter timescale, you will inevitably underestimate long-term branding and put too much of your marketing investments into shorter-term tactical tariffs. This will result in tremendous ROI at first, but two very different stories will emerge over the next five years. “
Anyone who deals with the complex world of developing and evaluating multichannel campaigns needs to know exactly how these effects and the ROI differ. To be truly successful in modern marketing measurement and realign the mindset towards a holistic view of the funnel, there are three important considerations:
1. It is imperative to address brand and performance activities how a united force to the success
Gone are the days when silo techniques made brands successful. New trends and channels require different objectives. To enable smarter connections that have a clear impact on the business, a full view of the multi-channel insights is required. McKinsey describes this as the inevitable move to “full funnel” marketing – combining the strengths of branding and performance marketing channels with unified measurements, teams, and metrics all aimed at the same goals.
Each channel plays a different role during the customer journey, but they are all interdependent to create an experience that encourages potential customers to stop buying. Branding activities are essential to filling the top of the funnel and creating new audiences, while performance marketing is reaping that demand. Anyone can work alone, but they have a stronger, longer-term effect when used together.
Ecommerce retailer Furniture And Choice has tweaked its strategy through advanced measurements and insights combined with experimentation and learning tactics to ensure both brand and performance become more collaborative and interdependent, allowing the brand to make more informed marketing investment decisions. We found that customers who were exposed to attention grabbing touchpoints of social activity and subsequently clicked on a PPC ad were 25% more likely to convert.
Bringing together brand and achievement teams has resulted in powerful insights – brand mates can add compelling stories to performance-driven content, and achievement mates can help provide more specific targeting insights into brand engagement to create a shared experience. Maintaining this synergy will continue to be an important part of Furniture And Choice’s future strategy to target key new audiences as the industry recovers from Covid.
How Marketers With Confidence Can Innovate To Optimize Brand And Increase Performance: Watch Jaywing’s Festival of Marketing Session With Furniture And Choices On Demand Now.
2. Understand how touchpoints are related through the funnel to understand the overall impact
Using a unified approach to linking activities across the funnel is critical to demonstrating a 360-degree view of marketing effectiveness. When each stage can be tied to business results or more tangible metrics, there is a more immediate view of how to improve performance beyond understanding the brand value generated by metrics like lifting studies and brand tracking.
For example, is there a connection with the brand search observed in the implementation of branding activities? How can messaging be connected and does this lead to lower costs per click and thus higher digital conversions?
Finding out the relative influence of touchpoints on one another shows what you should invest in and gives you confidence that the investment will pay off. In this example, investments can be adjusted accordingly by determining how softer KPIs, such as TV ad reach, can be linked to actions that are more easily linked to business value, such as searches and web visits.
It’s also important not to shy away from using test-and-learning techniques traditionally used in performance marketing at the top of the funnel at the end of the funnel. Quickly testing creative and optimizing content is very effective. For example, regional testing can help understand and isolate the increase in searches and visits to understand the impact of introducing new channels.
3. Stop looking back and start looking ahead
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the past no longer looks like the future. Fundamental to the considerations here is that marketers understand how data science can be improved in their organizations by prioritizing the use of new techniques and methods that help predict the best future mix of messaging, channels, and actions.
In the most recent ranking of Covid winners from Retail Week, Studio Retail was in the top 5, followed by only digital-native companies like Ocado, AO.com, Farfetch and Boohoo, with sales up 39% for the half-year ended September 25 rose. As part of a broader initiative at Studio to unify the brand’s data sources, Jaywing’s combined econometrics and attribution modeling is helping to get a complete picture of performance and setting longer-term budgets while making short-term optimizations in the channel.
One example of this is reducing reliance on print media by demonstrating the optimal number of direct mail touchpoints that individuals should receive on a trip.
Smart marketers conduct more controlled experimentation and learning initiatives to prove what proportion of performance spending really leads to incremental business results versus spending that is wasted. Data is the glue that binds branding and performance improvement at a granular level across every marketing touchpoint to ensure everyone is working from the same source. Simply put, the more skilled marketers are with data, the more effective and valuable the marketing becomes.
Accurate use of data and a more scientific approach to measurement and targeting must now be at the heart of marketers’ strategies along with a general shift in how businesses think. It is critical that the right measurement approach is taken to support this in order for the impact of these strategies to show demonstrable business growth. Implementing measures to optimize business operations, eliminate unprofitable investments and understand customers is no longer a choice, but an inevitable obligation for the future of business success – in 2021 and beyond.
Hanna Wade is Jaywing’s Director of Marketing Effectiveness.