Consulting Insights

How to Approach Brand Building Like a Performance Marketer

As marketers adapt to privacy changes, direct conversion and performance tactics based on individual-level data are becoming less viable. Marketers are reimagining how they communicate and build relationships with consumers, and are shifting budgets to more upper-funnel tactics to fit this strategy. To ensure upper-funnel budgeting is effective, marketers must still maintain that performance mindset. Read on for Ovative Group’s recommendations for marketers on how to plan for and adapt to these changes.   

Allocating larger portions of marketing budgets to brand building efforts is posing challenges for marketers, as these types of mid to upper-funnel tactics are more difficult to measure against outlined goals and KPIs. However, this shift creates new opportunities for marketers to drive customer loyalty and utilize performance marketing best practices to measure the effectiveness of brand marketing efforts.  

Embrace opportunity 

Upper-funnel tactics are key to driving customer awareness, loyalty, and eventual future customer value, however they create unique measurement challenges. Where industry-wide measurement challenges exist, there is an opportunity for marketers to come up with solutions to measure value in ways they can optimize against, becoming smarter than the competition with each dollar they spend. Measuring brand marketing efforts requires marketers to determine the conversion level impact of mid and upper-funnel marketing activities. This increases the importance of 1st party data and its application in a unified measurement approach. Here are two tips for measuring the impact of upper-funnel efforts: 

  • Implement a Media Mix Model (MMM) or other tops-down measurement tool: Decreased reliance on cookies and individual tracking requires advertisers to have a more unified measurement model, such as Ovative’s Marketing Analytics platform, MAP. MAP uses statistical methods rather than user tracking to measure campaign impact. 
  • Set KPIs tied to enterprise revenue: To regularly optimize campaigns in a privacy-centric world, brand marketers need to track KPIs like Target Rating Points (TRPs), Verified Reach, Site Analytics data, viewable impressions and Brand Lift metrics in real-time, or near-real time. This enables them to react to performance trends on a cadence similar to their performance marketer counterparts. Brand marketers should also focus on repeatedly proving that these KPIs are highly correlated with overall enterprise revenue.  

Apply performance marketing best practices  

Shifting investments from performance marketing to brand marketing efforts does not mean marketers need to abandon their performance marketing mindset, but instead embrace it. Our media experts recommend the following: 

  • Determine an enterprise revenue goal: Ovative recommends using the metric of Enterprise Marketing Return (EMR) for a holistic view of business performance that includes immediate returns, long-term customer value, margin and incrementality. If you are still using ROAS or last click, you’re doing it wrong. Revenue-based, enterprise metrics are essential to measuring in the new frontier. No matter where spend is in the funnel, it should be tied to an enterprise revenue goal, with flexibility to have less aggressive goals for upper-funnel tactics to allow for branding initiatives like growing new audiences, consumer perception shifts, etc. 
  • Establish rigorous partner testing and measurement strategies: Marketers must increase their focus on measurement strategy and partner-specific testing plans that tie media spend to enterprise performance more directly. Here are some key questions to ask about your brand marketing efforts: 
    • How can you show that brand lift is directly correlated to your enterprise revenue goals?
    • Is increasing your reach driving enough incremental revenue to justify the cost? 
  • Optimize regularly: Upper-funnel campaigns brought to life via static annual planning processes often require months or years to shift brand perception. It’s unlikely that budgets or strategies will change daily for brand marketers, but more frequent evaluations will benefit both agencies and marketers, and decrease wasted marketing spend.  

Increased privacy concerns and the reduced ability to target individual consumers will prompt marketers to reexamine how they’re communicating their brand identity and underlying values to consumers. Understanding these elements and communicating them effectively via brand marketing efforts will be key. Marketers should continue to apply performance marketing best practices throughout any changes in strategy and measure their efforts by optimizing to KPIs in real-time.

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!  

Grant Griebenow

Director, Strategy Consulting

About the Author

Grant is a Director of Consulting at Ovative Group, where he partners with clients across industries to unlock enterprise growth. At Ovative, Grant solves problems and drives impact with customer-centric marketing and measurement strategies. Prior to joining Ovative, Grant spent 8 years at Target Corporation leading projects and teams in marketing analytics, customer insights, and strategy development. While there, ... Read More >>

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