Sing! is a growth agency. We advise on digital strategy and advertising effectiveness for ambitious clients. Below we lift the lid on what a growth mindset looks like and how it can differ from conventional thinking.
Prioritise tomorrow and the Long-term
The measurability and immediacy of digital marketing can lead to a short-term bias with marketers often chasing immediate results. Too often the focus is on jam today. This emphasis can come at the expense of investing in advertising activities that build brand equity – an asset that that pays dividends into the future. The true essence of performance marketing lies in helping businesses perform not just today but equipping a business to grow and prosper over a long-term horizon.
Maximise Sales Profitably
The ability to directly link ad spend to return on investment can become the straitjacket that restricts profitable growth. Marketers who believe in the primacy of return on investment may fall into the trap of only prioritising immediate results. Such an approach sees ad spend concentrated on bottom of the funnel activities only. The reality is that the cost to recruit a customer is variable and increases as we scale up campaigns and look to convert people less familiar with the brand. We believe that companies should focus their energies on customer acquisition and maximising sales so long as it is profitable. A focus on profitable sales maximisation rather than shooting for a fixed and high return on investment is recommended. This approach should provide a springboard for market share gains and profitability growth over the longer term.
Build First Party Data Assets
With the demise of third-party cookies and the emergence of consent first media, the availability of data for audience targeting and campaign optimisation purposes is in decline. To compensate and succeed, advertisers and media owners are now ramping up their first party data gathering initiatives. We have all witnessed the emergence of dynamic and successful direct to consumer businesses. An important part of this model relies on the free transfer and usage of first party data. First party data is a real source of competitive advantage. It helps businesses understand their customers better. Shared customer insights help businesses sharpen their marketing and develop more personal and relevant communications. Everyone wins as businesses present customers with products and advertising that are more tuned in.
Measure Brand Health
Companies need to adopt a more balanced scorecard when evaluating the success of their online advertising activities. Cost per acquisition and return on investment remain primary metrics but companies with an eye to the future should be looking for vital signs elsewhere. The health of a brand can be tracked effectively online. We encourage businesses to track search patterns for their brands over time. Is the demand for a brand growing faster than that of its peer group? Is it outstripping the demand for the category the brand competes in? Are brand awareness and brand sentiment scores improving or declining? And how about offline? A brand demonstrating demand and awareness lifts online should see these same patterns play out offline. This should be evidenced by increases in store visits and call volumes. We believe it is vital for brands to invest in regular brand health measurement.
Work on Your Conversion Rate
As marketers, we love ideas, insights and the creative advertising process. However, a very significant variable influencing success lies with a website or app’s conversion rate. This factor receives far less attention than it should. An improving conversion rate may appear small in absolute number terms eg. a half percent gain from 2% to 2.5%, but in percentage terms, this represents a 25% uplift. Imagine applying a 25% improvement in conversion rate to every single visit to your website. This can be truly transformative….and it doesn’t require any additional advertising spend. An investment in conversion rate optimisation is probably the smartest investment you can make today.
Seek Out Thinkers
Choose your marketing partners wisely. They need to be capable of thinking and doing. They need to be commercial. They need to understand the economics of your business and the economics of your advertising. With a “thinking” agency you should expect conversations about benchmarks, peer group scores, market share goals, cost per sale targets, advertising cost of sale and product profit margins. These discussions should precede the setting of budgets and approval of media plans. If these topics are not being raised, you’re likely not talking to people who can move the dial for you.
Customer Journey Planning Not Channel Planning
Start with the customer not the channel. It is easy to assign a share of budget to channels based on where conversions ultimately occur. However, advertisers need to consider the cross-channel journey and how audiences all start from different places. Some people will be aware of your brand and may need your product now. Some won’t have heard of you and are not in-market today. Use different media to achieve different objectives, all the while building your brand, creating preference and driving sales. Set goals at each stage of the customer journey and create relevant messaging for each of these moments. You’re conducting an orchestra. Sometimes it’s the clarinet and sometimes the trombone.
Set Budgets Based on Demand
Challenge the thought process behind budgets. Often advertising budgets are set on a bottom-up basis ie. last year’s number plus a bit based on acceptable levels of year-on-year growth. This approach can miss the point completely. Budget setting should take place firstly against the backdrop of a company’s growth ambitions, but also an audience sizing exercise and an understanding of the efficiency of current customer acquisition efforts. The advertising budget should be viewed in the context of the share of audience it will reach and how this reach compares to the overall level of demand in the market. We then develop growth scenarios based on increasing levels of ad spend and resulting visibility. Even with diminishing returns, with increased spend clients usually hit upon a sweet spot that delivers market share gains and more revenue whilst still delivering a profitable return.
Your website needs to be as engaging, responsive, conversational and affirming as a real-world person to person service experience. This point can be missed by marketers. We tend to think of websites as inanimate objects, bits of connected software, rather than real, active frontline selling and service agents. Websites need a pulse. They should bring together, for best effect, the predictive intelligence of technology and humanlike levels of service and affirmation. Some approaches on the human side include; tailored website experiences using logged in data, inclusion of product reviews to build trust, multiple payment and contact methods to empower and good CRM systems to build rapport and ongoing life time value. Personal, efficient and supportive brand experiences create the conditions for long-term customer loyalty.
Find Your Starting Point
To succeed online, you need a strategic thinking partner in your marketing support network. One with a good handle on the commercial realities of your business. An advisor to help identify where your real starting point is. We often recommend that the first course of action is not to jump straight into advertising but to conduct a thorough business capability review. Your MIS, structure, resources, capabilities, data assets, brand identity, voice, vision and goals should all be objectively reviewed. This will throw up unrecognised opportunities but more critically, it will identify the impediments to growth that need to be addressed before you power up your advertising.
Lee Thompson, Strategy Director, Sing: +353 (0)876842781