Marketers To AdAge: Expect Brand Marketing Rebound

Ad Age: “Do you think we’re going to see a rebound in brand marketing in the second half of the year?”

Marketers: “Yes

While the timing of macro-economic recovery is uncertain, smart Brand marketers know that a recession is (1) a great time to gain share of voice and reach consumers with a message that will pay dividends long term and (2) a critical time not to lose share of voice to competitors, especially generics, because winning it back is not a sure thing and very painful to do. As competitors over-focus on the bottom of the purchase funnel, maintaining proper balance throughout the funnel can drive sales in the short term, while positioning a Brand to accelerate into the inevitable recovery.

Furthermore, research has repeatedly shown that Brands that cut spending in economic downturns lose share to competitors and private label products. Permanently. When times are tough, we all must focus more than ever on getting the most impact out of every dollar of spend. But dollars smartly used can go much farther in this economy, so make sure the revised plan doesn’t put you on a track to permanent market share declines, but rather at an advantage to your competitors now and for years to come.

Lessons in Online Branding: Working the Full Funnel; Balancing Online Measurement With Offline Sales

This past month two of my recent byline articles were featured in the Online Media Daily section of MediaPost.  I thought it was worth a quick re-post on our blog for those that don’t regularly read MediaPost.  While each article stands on its own, they were originally composed together.

The first article offers a different perspective to the steady stream of Direct Response focused press which seems to suggest that performance-based and/or online-only metrics are the only important ones to consider in managing online advertising spend.  I agree that measurement is important and that whenever possible we want to drive toward direct metrics (e.g., ROI).  However, here’s our collective challenge: the vast majority of retail commerce–nearly 90% overall in 2008 and much higher for key Brand categories like CPG and Automotive–still takes place offline. Thus, for the majority of marketers evaluated based on their success in driving offline sales, online-only metrics are likely to be less useful than proven tools like brand awareness/favorability, purchase intent or even reach and frequency, for that matter.  These metrics certainly are not perfect, but they are tested, well-understood and are useful across media.  The Internet can increasingly facilitate the accurate and economical measurement of Brand metrics and there continue to be exciting advances in online measurement capabilities, but there are still some real limitations when it comes to measuring offline impact.  Brand marketing fundamentals remain critical to overall marketing success, even online, and Brand marketers cannot afford to ignore the obvious value available online today.

The second article cites specific evidence to show how critical it is to work the full advertising funnel versus focus only on metrics which are easily measurable and quantifiable.   I use two examples to support this point of view: (1) research published by the Atlas Institute and (2) an example from my past experience running pricing and yield management for Yahoo!’s global display business.  These examples illustrate why value can be difficult to measure and also how models cannot substitute for domain experience and common sense.

As always I would welcome your comments and feedback.

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