The Brand vs. Performance Media Debate
Let’s change the conversation to Brand + Performance Media equals a balanced investment strategy for short and long-term growth
By Douglas Brooks, EVP at Ipsos MMA
While it’s true that ecommerce sales can be directly tracked through last-click attribution metrics, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the digital performance media being measured, owns 100% responsibility for the sales. This is a myth across many industries that needs to be broken in order to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of brands.
Unfortunately, over the last 5-years these measurement approaches have led organizations to focus on silo-based measurement platforms and in many cases, build silos around the media channels that can be classified as brand vs. digital performance media. Without a direct connection to sales, the impact of investments in brand advertising such as TV, sponsorships and online video often lack transparency or even measurable, understandable value. Investments are often viewed as aspirational or goodwill for the brand but their impact on short and long-term value is not understood. At the same time, simple direct attribution approaches used to measure the impact of digital performance media on ecommerce sales have led to a reallocation of investment toward these channels. As a result, in many cases, brands have swung the pendulum too far toward digital performance media.
The launch of Unified Marketing Mix and Multi-touch attribution models that fully account for the interactions of all relevant marketing and non-marketing variables is starting to course-correct this trend and enabling companies to realize significant business performance impacts.
How are Unified MMM + MTA models helping marketers address this industry challenge?
- The challenge: Most traditional attribution models only measure a portion of the digital media mix that is often closely aligned with the last-click of a consumer. The approaches often do not include brand building activities (e.g. TV, Sponsorships, Online Video, PR), or external factors (e.g. weather, economic, competition nor do they include relevant non-marketing variables). As a result, the credit is over-allocated to the channel being measured. Unfortunately, companies are using these over-allocated/mis-attributed KPIs to shift a significant portion of their budget toward these media channels. This has resulted in too many organizations pulling money out of core-brand building initiatives and over-spending past the saturation point on performance media.
- The solution: By establishing a unified approach, marketers are able to measure the impact of all media and relevant non-media activities on sales and other business KPIs. By doing so, the impact of brand media on sales becomes more transparent as a holistic part of the total investment picture. Importantly, by doing so, the actual effectiveness and ROI of digital performance media can be accurately measured and predicted. Without a holistic measurement solution, it is common for brands to find that 23 – 45% of the sales historically attributed to digital performance media as a result of silo-based media evaluations, were actually a result of branded media. This is why it’s critically important to establish non-siloed attribution synergies. Once this relationship is established, marketers can use this capability to optimize investments focusing on both short-term and long-term sales objectives.
Finding the right balance of measuring the impacts of all brand building and performance media requires a holistic, inclusive approach that properly accounts for all of the interactions/synergies, attribution affects and halos. Unified marketing measurement approaches whose results are properly measured and validated provide the foundation and evidence for doing so in a fast, efficient and effective manner. By combining these measurement approaches with organizational training and change management, brands are reshaping their historical marketing mindset, investment strategies and realizing significant value in return in order to drive competitive advantages and sustainable brand growth.