Laurent Quatrefages, Co-founder and CEO, Swaven, highlights the importance of brands adopting a ‘brandformance’ strategy and the three main steps involved to overcome Q4 pressures.
The last three months of the year are critical for so many companies. eMarketer has defined November and December as the most crucial sales periods in almost all major markets within Europe. Competition is fierce as brands are striving to ensure their products are chosen to end up under the Christmas tree.
Digital ad spending for end-of-year campaigns is increasing year on year due to the growing importance of digital channels in the purchase process. In addition, 64% of consumers use multiple channels for a single transaction. For last year’s festive season, the percentage of internet advertising surpassed TV and print for the first time in the UK with 55% of the total £6.4 billion marketing spend. This is a growing trend that will extend to other countries around the world.
Whilst digital ad budgets for the festive season continue to grow, the guarantee of positive ROI is much less certain. Due to heavy competition, visibility comes with equally heavy costs. Marketers are under more and more pressure to deliver results in quantifiable business terms. In addition to branding objectives, they need to monitor the impact of their investments on sales.
Brands are starting to embrace the so-called brandformance strategy. This isn’t just the latest marketing buzzword, but an ROI focused marketing approach in which branding activities are concentrated on performance and provide more or less immediate results. Not only during peak periods but all year round. To achieve the best results possible, there are three steps to follow.
ACCELERATE THE PATH TO PURCHASE, ONLINE AND OFFLINE
First, to boost sales in concrete terms, it isn’t enough for your digital content and ads to only be generating views and likes. You also need to provide a direct and streamlined path from these digital touchpoints to all your online and offline distributors.
Without this path, consumers whose interest has been triggered, will have to browse the web for their desired product, and it usually takes between 9 or 12 clicks to eventually access the purchase options. Given that at each click approximately 30% leads get lost due to frustration or diversion, accelerating the process is crucial.
Whilst some brands possess an e-shop, for many this often only covers maximum 10-20% of sales. Consumer buying preferences vary greatly, some prefer to purchase offline, at their favourite brick and mortar store or they may already have a discount code or membership with an online retailer which they want to take advantage of e.g. Amazon prime membership.
Thus, although tempting, for any brand that sells their products via distributors, it’s a mistake to offer only one single purchase option to your brand audience. You lose track of 90-100% of your potential buyers and leave space for competitors to get in the middle.
MONITOR YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE FUNNEL
To analyse and optimise the ROI of your digital campaigns, you need the purchase funnel data. To get this data, you need to track the shopper journeys from acquisition channel to conversion, in a consistent way. That is why the step 1 above is so important. You should lead your brand audience through your brand funnel from all your touch points, starting from your website. Only then, you can begin to build your own customer knowledge base with first party data.
Some brands have already realised the advantages of an “always on” method to track the marketing business impact all year round, both during and in-between peak seasons, and for all their digital marketing activities. By continuously monitoring the purchase funnel on all touch points, they can detect their best and worst performing assets and channels and what is effective in terms of campaign contents, products, etc.
Therefore, you need to capitalise on your own audience to adjust strategy and budgets accordingly throughout the year, especially for the costly seasonal peaks. So, you can stop spending blindly and concentrate on the best patterns that generate and improve profits.
INCREASE YOUR AUDIENCE REACH
Having ownership of data, with the above mentioned always-on tracking method in place, allows you to conduct a pertinent conversation with consumers. You can target and retarget your audience with messages based on their interests and preferences. But don’t forget to ensure step number 1, to reduce efforts for your targeted consumers to access purchase options.
Thanks to the collected first party data from your audience, you can create different audience profiles and pools based on specific criteria. You can also profit from your existing audience knowledge to reach out to similar profiles, the look-alike audiences. If you have followed the step 2 above, you will be able to target these new lead pools efficiently with your best assets and relevant campaigns and drive them to purchase options, at your online and offline distributors. This will further boost your lead generation and brand marketing performance.
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