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Why you need brand for performance marketing

bigstock-Smiling-Businessman-Showing-Fi-460616003-jpgIn football, any striker is only ever as good as the rest of the team. If the midfield isn’t providing the assists, it’s impossible to convert - i.e., score goals.

Now, how does that relate to digital marketing? Well, in what seems to be THE hot topic of 2023, I’m talking about digital campaigns judged solely at the bottom of the funnel with last-click attribution.

Going back to my football analogy, the forwards end up taking all the plaudits and get paid the most money. They will tell you that putting the ball in the back of the net is the ‘hardest thing in football’ but placing all focus on the goal scorers, without understanding how the rest of squad contributes towards goals, means you’re not seeing the full picture.

What is last-click attribution?

HubSpot defines it as: When you give all of the credit for a conversion to the last touchpoint in the buyer’s journey — it assumes the final touchpoint is what ultimately influenced the lead's decision to convert.

But why do marketers use it if it clearly doesn’t acknowledge that great campaigns are more than just the sum of their parts?

Well, last-click attribution can be helpful if you want to know which of your marketing channels and touchpoints have the most influence in the final stage of the buyer’s journey.

It helps marketers work out where to direct most of their ad spend to maximise conversions.

Discovery has moved online

While this is helpful information, however, it doesn’t account for the numerous other channels and touchpoints that impacted a customer from the very start of the buyer’s journey.

If we are judging channels primarily on ROI or ROAS, it’s always going to be skewed towards those channels which are built for conversion. However, how consumers and buyers discover new brands, products and services has never been more divergent.

In a new global survey conducted by YouGov, it was revealed that social media advertising is the top channel for discovering brands, with 34% of all global consumers saying they learned about a brand in the last six months via branded content on social media. 

Meanwhile, more than a quarter of global consumers say they found a new brand recently via search engines (28%), recommendations from friends and family (26%) and e-commerce websites such as Shopify or Amazon 26%).

Only roughly a fifth of consumers say they discovered a new brand in the last six months while watching TV ads (22%), by reading comments and reviews from other customers (17%) or seeing in-store advertisements (15%).

In other words, someone is now more likely to discover a new product online than they are from a TV advert.


A healthy marketing mix

It goes without saying – or at least it should do – that brand building and lead generation are every bit as important as confirmation and conversion. In fact, it could be argued – as we have done – that they’re key.

In these turbulent times, there is temptation to strip budget away from hard-to-measure brand and awareness campaigns and redistribute it towards channels where the relationship to revenue is much easier to demonstrate.

However, Fospha data shows that this is an error. Brands spending across the full marketing funnel, with as much of a focus on demand generation as capture, consistently have the healthiest marketing mixes.

Focusing on just bottom-of-funnel ads may seem like an easier and safer decision, but it is a short-term play and the best-performing brands will differentiate themselves by bravely investing across the full funnel.

Campaigns should be built to scale across platforms and channels, constantly feeding the funnel and using branded content to nudge people towards your brand, not pitting marketing teams against each other.

Studies show that integrated campaigns are 31% more effective than non-integrated campaigns.

How to get your investment levels right

Underspending on your discovery channels can even strangle you over campaign ROI, Nielsen research suggests.

In its research, it discovered what it calls the ’50-50-50’ gap. Nielsen found that 50% of planned media spend is too low for maximum payback, that it is 50% lower than optimal levels, and that if the ideal amount of resources were committed then ROI would jump 50%.  

For this reason, it makes the point that ‘overspending isn’t as problematic as underspending’. Brands that hit the right media investment levels can improve ROI by a median of 50%.

Finding that optimal level for investment for each channel is a sweet science, but it’s clear that brands need a balanced strategy of both upper-funnel and lower-funnel initiatives if they want to thrive.

Experimentation is the only way of finding that sweet spot. Podcast ads, influencer marketing and branded content in the publisher environment can drive 70%+ aided brand recall after ad exposure, as per Nielsen.

In fact, brand building through online branded content sees the highest brand recall of digital channels, feeding the top of the sales funnel and creating long lasting customer relationships.

Contact us today to see how we create and distribute inspiring, on-brand content that performs.