Driving Up Marketing Productivity

Last week we looked at two marketing metrics that give greater transparency to the ‘bean’ counters in bringing to life PAR & BAR Today we will look at other ways to drive up productivity. This has been the domain of ‘cause’ related marketing with its obvious ‘storytelling’ elements; however there are other tactics that Marketers are capitalizing on.

One way of obtaining more loyal advocates is to improve awareness. The more people recall a brand, the more likely it is the brand will be recommended. But this approach is costly, and it has been forcing companies to fight for share of voice with a high marketing communications budget.

How should marketers improve brand awareness without increasing the marketing budget significantly?

The biggest benefit of connectivity in the consumer path is the opportunity to increase awareness by triggering a conversation among consumers. A consumer who was not aware of a brand may end up knowing about the brand after listening to a conversation.

We should think about consumer conversations as leverage. In finance, debt provides leverage. It creates a multiplying effect without increasing shareholder equity. In good times, debt amplifies profits, whereas in bad times, debt amplifies losses. Leverage helps a company to increase the potential return on its investment. But a company with significantly more debt than shareholder equity is considered to be highly leveraged and carries high risks of default.

In the digital age, consumer conversion – or others’ influence – is equivalent to the “debt,” and advertising – or outer influence – is equivalent to the “equity.” Consumer conversation provides leverage. It is essentially a low-cost way to build awareness without relying too much on advertising. But it comes with risks. Consumer conversation is notoriously wild; companies cannot directly control the content. When the conversation is favourable, it amplifies the brand’s equity. But when it is not, it damages the brand. The favourability of the brand is totally in the hands of the consumers. Brands with authentic differentiation embedded in their DNA have a better probability of entering into favourable conversations. Johnny Walker’s enduring purpose of ‘inspiring personal progress’ and it’s equally epic advertising ‘keep walking’ campaigns has helped consumers navigate purchase for decades.

Building consumer conversations around brands has its benefits. It allows companies to reduce the volume of their advertising and consequently to increase their marketing productivity. But even the best brands in the world cannot rely solely on consumer conversations. Every now and then, the brands must run advertising campaigns to avoid the risks of being highly leveraged. They need to influence the direction of the conversation from the outside.

Or provide viral storytelling. 

This was undoubtedly the year consumers hit back against plastic waste, with the anti-plastic movement thrust into the spotlight thanks to David Attenborough’s BBC documentary Blue Planet II.

Consumers’ perceptions of single-use plastics shifted as a result. Some 44% of consumers say they have recently become more concerned about single-use plastics and another 70% plan to change their behaviour in some way in response. For a deeper look please refer below:

As we have seen with the new wave of marketing metrics & bringing to life PAR & BAR an alternative approach to create more loyal advocates is to improve PAR and BAR scores by improving the critical touchpoints across consumer path from awareness to advocacy. To overcome each of the four potential bottlenecks that normally occur across the five A’s, marketers need a set of strategies and tactics. 

Each solution set aims at addressing the underlying problem that keeps customers from moving forward to the next stage. This will be the topic of next week’s blog.

CMO Perspective – Various

The urgency to help spark change is so strong that brands big and small have been scrambling to help join the fight against the war on waste, and take advantage of the opportunity.

Adidas created Earth Day football shirts made from upcycled plastic ocean waste, which were worn by all 23 of the US’s Major League Soccer (MLS) teams during Earth Day weekend in April.

Coca-Cola, meanwhile, launched its first new strategy ‘World Against Waste’, promising the equivalent of 100% of its packaging will be collected and recycled by 2030. And Evian gave itself the target of a 100% circular approach to plastic use by 2025.

A host of new or smaller brands have also joined the fight, including reusable bottle brands such as S’well and Chilli’s. Meanwhile, Halo, a coffee company specialising in compostable coffee pods, is trying to educate consumers about the complex recycling process. It has the support of dairy brand The Collective Dairy and plant-based bottle brand Eco For Life.

One brand that has gone a little further is LADbible. The social media and entertainment company’s social responsibility campaign ‘Trash Isles’ rallied people to take action against the growing plastic problem by declaring a mass of waste the size of France a country in order get it recognised and cleaned.

To be recognised as a country the Trash Isles needed citizens, but that didn’t stop LADbible which, with the help of AMV BBDO, created everything from an official flag and a currency called Debris to passports made from recycled material.

It then launched a three-month campaign to get people behind the cause, which helped it win the PR and Brand Storytelling Award at the Marketing Week Masters.

As the backlash against plastic intensifies, the market for alternatives will only grow.

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