Three neglected rules marketers must follow to improve communication with customers
Marketers today have never been more accountable. The explosion of technology and rich data in this space means that marketers are now able to make – and justify - decisions based on robust insights, rather than gut feel.
The temptation for marketers is to stampede towards the latest technological solution but, in reality, while the media carrying your messaging may change, the basic components of successful marketing almost always stay the same. During years of measuring and optimising the effectiveness of marketing I have found three core rules that should sit at the heart of any marketing strategy:
Rule one: your marketing channels need to work as a team
The power of a good marketing campaign is the combination of different media to deliver the message to all potential customers at every stage of their customer journey. Delivering messages through channels in silos is less effective than the amplifying effect of deploying marketing via a combination of appropriate channels.
Modern marketing is powered and informed by data.
Specifically, marketing media channels have strengths at different points in the customer buying cycle. For example, TV is an excellent ‘upper funnel’ media that is effective when raising awareness, while other channels, like online display are extremely effective in the ‘lower funnel’, nearer to conversion.
Media channels may be competing for budget but they need to work as a team. Traditionally, methods to measure the impact (£ value) and efficiency (ROI) of marketing, like A/B testing and econometric models, do not consider the interactivity of marketing channels. They calculate how a channel works in isolation but neglect the crucial “interdependency factor” which, if understood and acted upon, can dramatically enhance the impact of marketing.
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Mathematics has provided the solution. Sophisticated attribution methods, built at an individual customer level, consider not only the marketing being delivered but the sequence, timing and combination of channels. This approach can transform understanding of the customer journey and enable marketers to deploy the right combination of marketing weapons at the right time.
Rule two: do not focus marketing effectiveness solely on media channel performance
Often in marketing meetings you hear phrases like “press just doesn’t work for us” or “TV was extremely effective at Christmas”. While the media channel chosen to deliver the marketing message is core to the success of a campaign, it is just one part of the equation. Knowing this and developing a suite of measurement solutions that enable true understanding of performance is key.
All media vehicles can work if the message is clear, compelling and relevant. Disentangling the elements that determine the success of marketing is challenging. It requires a suite of techniques which, used in combination, give a marketer a 360-degree view of campaign results. A complete marketing’ effectiveness suite’ should include:
Commercial impact measurement – Highly advanced data-driven attribution and econometrics can be used to disentangle simultaneous events and consider the interactivity of component factors, while direct causation methods like A/B tests can be utilised (to validate models and trial tactics).
Customer view - Response trackers can capture claimed awareness and responses, while research with focus group can be conducted to provide deep-dive responses to core questions.
Customer response - Neuroscience techniques can be applied to understand the non-conscious emotional response to marketing creative.
Invariably, brand owners need to harness external expertise in order to fulfil this breadth of requirements. Choosing the best agency for each solution and ensuring that they are committed and capable of working seamlessly together is the best approach.
Rule three: know what your short-term needs are while planning for the future
The last 15 years have seen a huge shift in consumer behaviour and media consumption. The “consumer age” which was typified in the first 90 years of the last century were perfect conditions for the birth of corporate brands. During this period, brands were able to reach a large-scale audience through one-way communication. Now, advances in technology, launch of the internet and creation of social media platforms have transformed consumer expectations, experience and behaviour.
A decade of opinion pieces would have us believe that the death of traditional advertising is nigh. However, evidence does not support this theory. In fact, TV, radio and press continue to play a crucial role in marketing plans. The truth is far more nuanced.
For example, traditional linear TV is now watched predominantly by older audiences 45yrs+. This group are watching more TV than ever before. So, if your brand is mainstream and your audience is primarily ‘older’ then TV can be a very effective and efficient way to communicate with your core customers. However, evidence suggests that millennials watch far less linear TV and the trend is negative year on year. So, if your brand is targeted at this younger audience you need an alternative, more relevant channel to communicate through.
Media consumption trends and habits are unlikely to reverse. We cannot expect millennials to start watching linear TV or buying newspapers when they get older. So, while continuing to deliver marketing messages through the most appropriate channels for now, marketers need to ‘tool up’ to be prepared and able to talk to their customers in the future.
Marketers now have an unprecedented ability to measure and optimise their work to deliver powerful campaigns. Be sure to understand how your marketing works holistically and use the full range of tools at your disposal to measure and improve your marketing effectiveness.
Catherine Kelly is head of marketing effectiveness at Jaywing
For an attribution checklist and more practical steps, you can download Jaywing’s data-driven attribution guide.
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