Where Have All the Brand-Builders Gone?
In the current state of marketing affairs, digital media has become such a behemoth that brands left and right feel the need to dive head first into the world of digital and trackability. In a way, as we sit in the second decade of the 21st century, digital media has become almost synonymous with marketing and advertising itself. Marketing intelligence and trackability is the rage – metrics like return on ad spend (ROAS) and cost per acquisition (CPA) carry the day, and brands are increasingly impatient to see the payoff that comes as a result of their marketing spend. More than that, advertisers feel the need to have their business performance tied back to ad exposure, to prove the value of each advertising medium and of every dollar spent. The thought is becoming, “If a medium can’t be tracked, it must not be worth running.” Don’t get us wrong, our media stewards at The Ward Group also love to dig into the analytics and prove out the value of our advertising efforts, but we are also aware of the bigger marketing picture. If there’s anything we’ve learned in our almost four decades of existence as an advertising agency, it’s that the benefits of building your brand over time are unmatched. In other words, don’t sacrifice long-term growth for the sake of short-term analytics.
Yes, Digital Media is Awesome - But Don’t Discount Branding
We get it. It’s fun to look at numbers and metrics and see all the results your advertising is driving. Digital media such as pay-per-click and paid social media can provide so much depth of analytics that it’s easy to forget there exists other types of media that can help drive business performance as well. The only downside to more brand-building, awareness mediums compared to digital media is the lack of trackability. As marketers, we’ve been trained to seek short-term payoffs for our efforts, time and money. But, as the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Only by taking the time to build your brand can you gain the sort of staying power that allows you to thrive over the long term. Those who choose to overlook this crucial piece of marketing and advertising are likely here today, gone tomorrow.
Mediums like TV, radio, out-of-home, print and others are still very viable, often critical options that can advance your brand beyond the smartphone screen and into the collective conscious of your target audience. This is especially true for local advertisers. Digital media can be a great way to capture a user for a moment, but outside that brief interaction they have with your brand, there isn’t much impact to be had in the way of a memorable brand experience in, say, a digital display banner ad. Meanwhile, more traditional mediums such as TV and radio provide a much more meaningful, impactful exposure to your brand. Given enough time and frequency, and with the right media buying partner in place, these mediums can put your brand in the minds of your target audience for the long haul.
Attribution Isn’t Everything
We understand that it can be scary to accept a degree of ambiguity with the impact of your advertising investment. Just like we’ve been trained to seek short-term results, we’ve also been conditioned to expect that every conversion should be tied back to ad exposure and spend. However, this ignores the fact that the overall media mix works together to drive conversions, rather than any one medium on its own. As John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things.” It may be tempting to see a high ROAS from Google Ads or Meta ad campaigns and push all your marketing budget to those platforms. But what if the upper funnel was driven by a radio or a TV campaign? Since those mediums don’t show up in your Google Analytics reports, does it mean they didn’t have an impact on your marketing performance? Of course not! It’s important to look at the overall media mix as a cohesive process that leads consumers through the entire sales process from awareness and interest to purchase and trial. Unfortunately, despite advancements in marketing intelligence, there is no way to attribute all sales or conversions back traditional media ad exposure. It’s best instead to consider what these mediums are designed to do – generate mass awareness, which then helps your digital mediums thrive. If your only concern with your media performance is attribution and measurement, you’re missing out on opportunity to drive brand awareness and set your brand up for long-term success.
Find the Right Media Mix
In our 37 years of existence as an advertising agency, we’ve worked with too many brands to count. The brands who have demonstrated the sort of staying power and growth that all brands look for are the ones that execute full-funnel media strategies and measure each level of the funnel accordingly. Trackability and analytics have their place in the overall funnel, but they can’t work alone to drive your brand. Time and patience still have an important place in the brand-building process, and with the right media agency at your side, the power of brand awareness can take you to heightened places. Contact The Ward Group today to get started!