Hitting annual targets using performance marketing often supersedes building brands. That's very efficient, but also very ineffective.
I'm not diminishing the value of performance marketers. Many businesses would be long gone without their skills. At the same time, many businesses are missing out on larger gains because they put their faith and money solely into performance marketing.
Benefits of Branding
Brand building achieves much more than performance but it does so within a longer time frame and much more obliquely. This obliquity thing may need a reference point.
Look at the first half of the image. It shows that people exposed to brand and performance campaigns convert better than people exposed only to performance campaigns. If that's not a boost to short-term sales, I don't know what is.
When it comes to long term sales boost, branding helps you to expand your market. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute estimates that only 5-10% of consumers are in the in-market category. The rest is waiting in the wings. Target them too and your brand equity will soar. The higher your brand equity, the higher your campaigns' contribution to long-term sales.
How to Begin
You can't suddenly tell your boss: "Let's stuff the performance campaigns and start promoting our brand by featuring a singing duck".
In board room discussions spreadsheets often win over marketing alchemy. Short-termism wins over long-term perspective.
You have to have a plan to successfully introduce brand campaigns into your marketing mix.
At the latest episode of Prague Marketing Meetup podcast, I talked about successfully running branding campaigns. Perhaps it will serve as a speck of inspiration.
- Find out how many people you can hit using a targeting combination of your choice. E.g. I can reach about 4MM cookies through the Teads inventory -> interest Travelers -> sub-group Adventure travellers.
- Conduct market research. Either pre-test and post-test or add this campaign / message to your quarterly brand tracking.
- Set your target audience penetration (10% / 25% / 35% etc.).
- Estimate ad frequency. In my experience, the sweet spot is somewhere between 5.2 and 7 for minimum observable branding effect.
- Look at average viewability of your ad formats. Either run a test or get benchmarks from the vendors. In case you choose the latter, subtract 15-20% from those viewability scores.
- Using simple maths, calculate how many viewable impressions and how many impressions you must serve at what CPM.
- Run the campaign and optimise the hell out of it.
- Conduct market research again.
- Use Causal Impact to tie the traffic / awareness / salience metrics to sales. This is difficult AF and you need to know your sales cycle inside out, because accounting for time shifts is really important.
- Communicate your success to the management.