Performance Marketing + Brand Marketing – How to best deliver on a match made in heaven

Advertising, Branding, Creative, Marketing, Planning

Think about perfect pairings – what comes to mind….

Wine + cheese.

Champagne + Oysters.

Hot chocolates + fireplaces.

Bacon + eggs. 

Performance + Brand?

Unfortunately, for many businesses, an overriding tension still exists between brand and performance marketing. 

Despite all the evidence of what occurs when businesses bring these areas together and set KPI’s for marketing as an entire function, many businesses are grappling with tension of the roles and deliverables of performance v brand.

Why is this?

Often, the association for performance is that it is all about short-term results and bottom of funnel delivery.

Sometimes, there is also a perception that it may actually detract from the work the brand team is focused on – brand health measures, innovation or shifting customer attitudes or perceptions.

Over the last decade, performance marketing has been successful in solving growth challenges. It gives C-suite execs and Board level comfort that ‘what we’re doing is working’ due to the agility and speed of reporting and tangible results. 

The granularity and ability to target and minimise ‘wastage’ in reaching audiences and tracking conversion feels a lot more comfortable for many executives looking at investment, growth options and competitive movements in a monthly report, so performance marketing has enjoyed this spotlight for some time.

However, a recent survey of CMO’s globally highlighted the concerns marketing teams have over managing aligning performance and brand as a top challenge for 2024. I’m proud to be working for a business which has spent 11 years focused on optimizing and delivering growth via performance marketing channels. 

We certainly have never subscribed to the view that our job is to play way down at the bottom of the funnel and convert for immediate revenue gains in isolation of any other marketing activity.

We also believe our role as a media partner must also focus on creative to ensure optimal media performance. 

For any business, one of the foundations of successful brand building comes down to the success of positioning and the white space a brand finds to tell its story and USP.

For 2024 and beyond, the key to measuring marketing success is to consider how brand health and performance are connected and measured together.

The metrics that are important to your business can also change over time. The idea that you need 5 years of identical success metrics to track YoY is also an outdated approach – businesses change, brands change, consumers change and metrics therefore also must evolve in priority.

How to create the perfect harmony:

  1. Set up your internal dashboards for a high level view of Marketing
  2. Less is often more, it’s entirely pointless to report on 30 performance marketing metrics and 2 on brand health if they are not relevant, read or utilised – invest the time to craft the framework and right measure for your brand to ensure meaningful, useful insights which inform optimisation decisions
  3. Performance and brand teams should be aligned to the same growth priorities and metrics shared across teams
  4. Performance marketing should be used to test and learn
  5. Performance metrics should provide insights and impacts on longer term brand growth metrics as well as delivering shorter term priorities on purchases or leads and conversions
  6. Brand measurement metrics should consider how to evaluate gains in brand equity, advocacy, revenue and if relevant – shareholder value return also
  7. Bucketing performance for short term and brand marketing for longer term is a risky approach to strategy and should not be considered as a trade off as both approaches deliver impacts to revenue and long term growth
  8. A north star metric is helpful for ALL marketers – not just the brand team. It’s hard to map the best and fastest route on the GPS if you don’t know where you ultimately want to land.

LIJA WILSON is the General Manager at award winning Indy digital agency, Digital Minds Group who work with clients such as Luxury Escapes, Aurora Expeditions, Gumtree Group, Merry People, Sydney Bridge Climb. She’s spent the majority of her career in C-suite roles in media and travel working in high growth businesses focused on brand, digital marketing and scale up.