It seems the glory days of acquiring digital customers quickly and easily are numbered.
The changes have prompted many of them, from small to mid-sized brands, to reconsider their full-path marketing strategies, achieving a more synergistic balance between brand building and direct response marketing. This means rolling out more marketing touchpoints, like out-of-home video and streaming video, as well as performance marketing tactics like social media and paid search.
“At some point, the acquisition is saturated and there’s only so much drooping fruit,” said Mike Mikho, chief marketing officer for a full-service laundry agency. “The reason you went from acquisition to full marketing is because you got all the low rewards that you can do and now you need to expand your conversion funnel and get more people into your brand.
More recently, these tactics have been embraced by brands including Claire’s, Edible Arrangements and Shutterfly, which have boosted social media, among other channels, and Hydrow rowing, with more dollars toward media including out-of-home.
Claire’s, a tween retailer, recently launched what it calls “the largest and most integrated brand initiative to date” with its Be the Best campaign. It’s backed by a solid media plan, which includes e-commerce, in-store experience, and OOH placements in New York City and Chicago, the brand’s hometown, as well as Hulu, TikTok, Twitch, Snap, and more.
The installment from Claire’s, a 60-year-old brand, aims to appeal to the Gen Z audience and their parents. The company has also considered expanding into new categories, such as the metaverse and games.
“We have to be present where our customers are. We keep a pulse on all the new platforms where customers are showing up, whether it’s in the virtual world, whether it’s TikTok,” said Kristen Patrick, chief marketing officer at Claire. [society has] They moved fast and are in tune with the culture, we have to be there too.”
The vagaries of the pandemic have prompted advertisers to tighten budgets, especially discretionary spending which means more marketers are investing in quick and easy digital customer acquisition channels. Meanwhile, lockdown measures and hiding authorizations have also prompted more people to shop and spend more time online.
“What we’ve seen comprehensively during Covid-19 has been marketers shifting significantly to performance media and especially within this paid search,” said Claire Russell, head of media at ad agency Fitzco, noting the appeal of this high intent and low risk. “Everyone wanted to talk to the people in the market right now.”
It made sense during the early start of the pandemic, Russell added, but if companies want to build the brand over time, brand awareness and storytelling channels are key. For performance marketers, CTV and OTT seem promising, as the technology has allowed automated purchases, marrying creativity with targeting and metrics.
This does not mean that full marketing is an industrial revolution; Some advertisers say it’s just Marketing 101.
To industry watchers, it looks like the pendulum is swinging. During the digital boom, marketers prioritized digital customer acquisition channels. Going forward, this pendulum can see dollars going into storytelling channels, such as television, said David Song, chief executive of advertising agency Rosie Labs.
“A complete conversion means that you are literally in front of that consumer in every possible area that person might interact with your brand,” Song said. “The most successful brands are companies that have always done a total funnel. To me that is just brand promotion and direct response all together.”