“The age-old dilemma for marketers: do we tell a compelling and meaningful story to our consumers, or do we go for the strategy that gives us the best numbers? Why must branding and performance marketing always be at war?”
How has performance marketing grown through the times?
Typically direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies have been growing their businesses through performance marketing solely – think customer acquisition strategies such as paid ads, sponsored social content, affiliated marketing and the likes.
But what consumers want today is different: they want a brand they can identify with. A person they can relate to and connect on an emotional level with. Someone who brings value to their lives. Not just a company who simply sells them a product or service.
It’s high time companies learn the need for balancing brand and performance because, at the end of the day, the consumer wants to hear the brand story in whatever shape or form. By synergising brand and performance, companies can achieve growth in both aspects – an increase in required revenue numbers all while boosting the brand’s story and value proposition.
Marketing goals need to be well beyond conversions or online cart checkouts – content needs to be engaging and potentially shareable enough. In fact, it’s strongly believed that organic engagement such as comments and shares are just as important as traditional measures of success such as reach and purchases.
In your opinion, how can brands successfully achieve the right balance between both performance marketing and branding to get the results they need?
I believe one of the best ways of combining the two aspects is influencer marketing. What was traditionally considered an affiliate model has become a booster for the brand side for businesses too. As long as brands choose to partner with influencers who are aligned with the vision, they can benefit immensely with the perceived understanding of their brand from their target audience.
Another way to integrate branding and performance marketing is by educating the entire team – content creation and site design sides – about SEO. By knowing what works best under the search engine algorithm, site designers can ensure that overall branding won’t harm where and how the website eventually shows up. Similarly, it’s important for designers to be well aware of how the user experience works – what design elements work to drive conversions or how they can make the purchase decision path design as simple as possible. At the same time, it’s critical for everyone involved to understand the branding goals of the company, and to be fully aware of all promotions, posting dates, messaging types so that everyone is aligned on all marketing efforts. In my experience, regular team meetings, brainstorming together, and keeping everyone updated on all steps along the way is the best way for teams to stay aligned.
Overall, advertisers must implement campaigns that share the brand’s story at every consumer touchpoint possible, while leading the consumer towards a conversion. This seamless blend of brand and performance marketing is a holistic way to also gather insightful data on the target audience as well. It must be noted that too much of one or the other can be detrimental in the consumer journey – a brand-heavy website may be beautiful but hard to use, but a salesy website with tons of coupons, discounts and promotions might look like it’s trying too hard. A question that’s always going to be in the minds of marketers – what does the consumer want? Go figure!