Brands of all sizes and industries saw their marketing budgets drop after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Many brands had to stop or reduce brand awareness campaigns as a way to cut costs. Brands are refocusing their resources and bandwidth on engaging existing customers, rather than trying to win over new ones.
Because they inspire customers to take immediate action, such low-path approaches are attractive when markets are uncertain, and marketers want to be able to continue to communicate results to leadership. However, abandoning top-path priorities (such as brand awareness) due to lag ROI is not sustainable for long-term brand growth.
Marketers have learned to reset their tactics to not only address our new realities but also pave the way for future success. Balanced marketing strategies are essential to address growth. This means that the efforts of the top funnel brands must be used in conjunction with the activities of the bottom and middle funnel.
Here are some of the ways brands can create a balanced marketing strategy.
Think of the customer journey from start to finish
A consumer cannot engage with a brand if they have not heard of it before, which is why marketers must target new horizons with brand awareness initiatives to create a pipeline for future sales. The potential return on investment is higher for low-path initiatives once these prospects enter the pipeline. According to SMB research, sales can increase by 1% if there is a one-point improvement in brand metrics such as awareness.
Believing that growth is their main focus, brands should keep in mind that already loyal customers who have had a positive experience should keep coming back to the brand. To stay in the minds of consumers, even popular brands will continue to use top-of-the-line strategies. Given the prevalence of choice and access to a product or service, staying in the minds of consumers can make all the difference when selling is on the line.
Reach potential customers by sending the right messages through the right channels to target them
For consumers to learn about your brand and increase sales, it is important that you deliver messages that resonate. For inspiration, marketers should consider any major trends or news events and explain how their products or services align with them, thus emphasizing brand relevance. Marketers can use their audience knowledge to create messages that meet the needs of their customers and show them that they value their brand. Individuals who have just heard about a brand may not respond to calls to action like those who are already familiar with the brand. To grow their customer base, marketers must mix messages.
Marketers need to think about the choices they make when choosing channels. SMEs examined the effectiveness of nine channels to drive insurance sales in the short term. They found that many channels that succeeded in increasing brand awareness and thought failed to do so in increasing brand awareness. It was surprising considering the amount of budget that was allocated to this campaign. Considering how consumers receive brand messages is just as important as the content of those messages. If cross-platform messaging was not designed, it could waste money that could have been spent on more well-thought-out messaging.
Convincing business leaders of the importance of top-track initiatives
Business leaders will be eager to see tangible results. But marketers need to educate their organization about the hidden sales potential of brand building. Leadership will be rewarded for their perseverance in achieving sales targets if they can show evidence of brand building success by measuring brand value and long-term sales.
Although low-path activities can be attractive to sales people, they are not effective in increasing future sales. Prioritizing conversion-oriented marketing is likely to result in a decline in sales and a decline in brand growth. That’s because low-path marketing cannot support a brand. SME research has shown that although top-track advertising is not effective in generating immediate ROI, it can still increase sales in the short term and boost the pipeline in the future. This is why higher trajectory activities need to be given more importance.
Marketing success is not only measured by sales. Given that different activities work towards different goals and can be measured using common metrics, it is possible to reduce the combined effect of the two. The effectiveness of higher-path messages can be measured using metrics such as awareness or consideration. However, conversions allow for messages with a lower funnel to be scaled. However, conversions are more than just sales: you could be a consumer signing up for email newsletters, downloading a white paper, listening to a webinar — the list goes on. The measurement platform can be used to track attribution of actions so brands can monitor the results of brand building and awareness campaigns and identify potential areas for improvement.
While quick wins from conversion-dominated marketing can feel good at the time, it rarely leads to long-term brand growth. Marketing strategies must adapt to budget changes and the ongoing pandemic. To keep the company on the right track and grow, marketers must create a marketing plan that balances every part of the funnel.
This article appeared at the beginningToolbox Marketing.