One of the biggest challenges in growing a brand is accountability.
When budgets are tight and there is no direct ROI/ROAS for marketing tactics, CEOs tend to look at these as expenses rather than investments. It is easy in cases like this to fall back on previous tactics that provided a minimum level of visible ROI or perceived effectiveness.
But those tactics are hitting diminishing returns for most marketers. And part of the reason is that we are not building a brand that increases their effectiveness. Point of sale marketing works, but it works better if it is marketing a product already familiar to the consumer.
To craft a media plan that drives growth and gets approved before it can prove its worth, I recommend my clients take four steps:
1. Understand the category
If your competitors are investing in advertising, chances are they took risks, proved it works and “automatically” receive budget each year. Sometimes this is enough to convince the CEO that it’s time to support your brand - your competitors are likely not blindly throwing their money away. Also, if you have the right sales forecasting software, you can add their spend and sales data into a model to show proof of advertising’s efficacy in your category.
Pursuant to the above, there are a host of tools available for forecasting - whether as simple as taking Nielsen’s average ROAS by media type, or as complex as forecasting the impact of your spend using a sales modeling software - that can give you a high degree of confidence of what will happen when you invest in your brand. I cover this elsewhere on my blog, just search for “Concentric.”
3. Go hard or go home.
Disclosure: This is a bit of a rant. There is no way to spend $100K on Facebook and “know” if advertising works. I have not seen a brand invest a tiny amount into media and then magically scale it - you have to spend enough to SEE your impact irrefutably. If the CEO is allergic to spending enough, don’t do a halfway test in hopes that it will go gangbusters and they will open the purse strings. It almost never does and you are always left with a bunch of semi-meaningless digital metrics and nothing about sales. Hold firm and go hard…or go home. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
4. Go beyond “performance” media.
Smart marketers know that most brands reach diminishing returns with performance media very quickly. In order to grow your brand’s sales long-term and short-term, you must do what nearly every successful digital/DTC brand has done in the past several years: branch into new mediums that drive long-term AND short-term sales like TV, Radio and Outdoor. All media is performance media.
With adequate measurement (our solution is called Concentric), marketplace intelligence (we use Nielsen and other sources) and a plan that invests enough to measure its results, the board will be significantly more likely to provide the dollars needed to further grow your brand. Mitigating risk and shining a light on the previously unknowable are the keys to persuasion.