PERFORMANCE, YOU COMPLETE ME: PUTTING THE BRAND IN “BRANDFORMANCE”
By Taji Zaminasli, Co-Founder and Managing Partner
In today’s highly competitive and unpredictable market landscape, marketers are under immense pressure to ensure that their media spending delivers optimum performance. However, finding the right balance between short-term performance driven marketing and long-term brand-building strategies for driving business growth can be challenging. And afterall, isn’t the goal of all campaigns “performance”
The most successful campaigns integrate both, driving brand awareness, perception, and ultimately, sales. This approach reaches consumers at multiple touchpoints and mindsets – from morning routines, driving to work, checking social media, and groceryshopping to TV time – to ensure brand recall when the consumer is ready to buy, whether targeting B2C or B2B audiences. In fact, businesses are still consumers themselves. According to a study by Epsilon, integrating brand and performance marketing drives a 15% increase in website visitors and a 23% increase in revenue.
For example, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) client we were working with leaned very “performance heavy” focusing mostly on mid- to lower-funnel tactics and strategies. In other words, when people are in the evaluation and decision-making stages of their journey. What they weren’t taking into account was that their competition had grown significantly and enjoyed much higher brand recognition and perception. Headed into the make-or-break holiday season, they needed to invest differently.
Using their historical data, our analysis showed that if they spent 50% of their budget on brand vs. performance, they would drive more acquisition and lower the customer acquisition cost. We set expectations that the numbers would look worse before they got better. Very scary for a brand to watch during a high-stakes period, but that’s exactly what happened. The cost per acquisition increased in the first couple of weeks of the campaign, but by the end of the campaign, they beat their goals
How did we know this approach would work in the end? Great predictive analytics and a comprehensive measurement plan to confirm and guide the strategy.
As important as it is to have an integrated, full-funnel approach, it is equally important to have a strategic measurement plan in place. Traditional measurement approaches may not accurately capture the impact of brand-building and performance marketing investments. By incorporating awareness and brand lift studies and collecting data from omnichannel plans, businesses can gain valuable insights into the success of their campaigns.
But right now, measurement is essentially broken – from cookie deprecation, lack of standardization, fraud and viewability issues, privacy concerns, walled gardens, and siloed data. We have been dealing with those challenges for a long time and find that clients tend to over-invest in certain channels because of it. Especially when it comes to retargeting and brand search.
To overcome these challenges, we’ve developed proprietary tools including an Agile Mix Marketing that takes traditional MMM, automates it, and lets us optimize in flight. We combine these with external tools that measure the full funnel across all channels. Tying attitudinal and behavioral metrics to sales and being able to optimize in campaign bring that story together helps clients from over-investing in areas that ultimately don’t drive growth and incrementality.
A great way to think of this is a “Brandformance” approach that combines the strengths of both brand and performance marketing. Performance marketing offers better short-term conversion rates but may result in worse long-term brand equity by neglecting the brand identity they have worked hard to build. Meanwhile, brand marketing involves a long-term investment and may lead to worse short-term conversion rates. However, it contributes to better long-term brand equity, loyalty, and overall business growth.
E.l.f. Cosmetics is an excellent example that successfully integrated brand and performance marketing strategies. Initially focusing heavily on performance marketing, the brand pivoted to a full-funnel approach and invested in experimental creative executions on TikTok. This shift helped the brand achieve significant growth, and it continues to thrive today
By adopting a Brandformance mindset, businesses can ensure that their marketing efforts work together to drive maximum impact and growth. For example, performance marketers can leverage brand-building strategies to create more engaging and effective campaigns, while brand marketers can use performance marketing data to optimize their efforts and drive long-term brand equity. We see this proven in campaign results.
By We also like to say that if Brandformance were a movie script, “brand” would be Jerry McGuire saying to “performance”: You Complete Me