The importance of brand to your marketing effectiveness

Nov 19th '18

An article last week claims that brands need a balance of short- and long-term objectives in order to meet their goals.


In today’s data-driven world, metrics-oriented goals are often seen as king. But they’re not the be-all and end-all of marketing effectiveness measures, as the Marketing Week article explores. Long-term, brand-related aims should not be forgotten.


  • Evidencing the value of marketing

Marketing needs to prove its worth – any marketer knows that – and the easiest way to do this is to demonstrate ROI.


The growth in integrated CRM and marketing delivery platforms means that, more than ever, Marketing teams can identify direct links between their activity, leads generated and work won. And of course, this is highly valuable.


In times past, it was notoriously difficult to measure the real impact of much marketing activity. Being unable to directly attribute sales increases, brand awareness or brand preference to specific activity meant that marketers often struggled to evidence their value in tangible terms.


Today, the marketing funnel creates an audit trail that makes it eminently trackable. Email clickthroughs and website visits feed into lead nurturing campaigns; event attendance is followed up with bespoke collateral that speaks to an individual’s interests and stage in the buying cycle.


You can demonstrate, more than ever before, that you are bringing contacts into the organisation and nurturing them to become clients. Being able to deliver this hard data to support your effectiveness is a big step forward for marketers.


But in the midst of this data revolution, the softer – often longer-term – objectives and deliverables shouldn’t be forgotten.


  • Balancing shorter- and longer-term objectives

Quoted in the Marketing Week article, expert Mark Ritson says: “It comes down to having one, maybe two objectives that are about delivering the kind of dollar return next year that will keep everyone happy. [And then] we normally add in maybe one more objective, which is longer-term brand building, less immediate return, as well”.


Many brands, though, are failing to do this successfully. Far more measure short-term impact than long-term value – something that can lead to short-term focus and failure to nurture the brand over the longer term.


  • The role of the brand in maintaining market share

The Royal Mail is used as a case study in the article, with global marketing director Ben Rhodes talking about how its investment in brand marketing helps to ensure it maintains its market share – and how, if this is neglected, it quickly sees a hit to its short-term metrics, with conversion rates dropping off.


Direct Line is cited as an example of a brand that swerved the low-cost model, instead investing in its brand alongside its proposition – a brave move in a commodity- and cost-focused market.


  • Creativity still matters in a data-driven world

Maximising your marketing effectiveness means reviewing your current approach regularly – broken down into segmentation; messaging; channels and media; execution – and making the incremental improvements that will deliver better ROI.


But in the midst of this data focus, creativity – often seen at the heart of the brand – needs to be maintained. Andrew Geoghegan, Diageo’s global head of consumer planning and customer marketing, comments: ‘We can’t say that now we’ve got this [marketing effectiveness] system creativity doesn’t matter anymore. Actually, it matters even more than it did before’.


  • How can you put this into practice?

Building brand-focused objectives, and remembering to consider the brand in your strategy planning, is essential. A few steps can point you in the right direction:


  1. Set a mix of objectives

2019 is rolling around. When you set your objectives for the year, make sure you balance the shorter-term ones that show your immediate value with longer-term ones focused on more far-sighted brand aspirations.


  1. Explore the component parts of a strong brand

How could your brand be improved? Do you need some client/consumer research to identify your strengths and weaknesses? What do the world’s best brands do, and how can you emulate them?


  1. Identify your branding objectives

Where should you focus? Do you need to work on brand consistency, getting colleagues and agencies on board with your brand standards? Could templates or automated tools, like online slide libraries, help to ensure you always produce consistent, professional marketing materials?


Your brand is a fragile thing, all too easy to destroy. And with brand reputation even more important in financial services than in some other sectors, it’s worth reminding your business of the link between compliance and brand strategy.


Build your marketing plan around a combination of data-focused and brand-oriented objectives, and you will help to ensure you deliver in both the short and the long term.


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