Take command of your brand – long-term growth requires a balanced marketing strategy

Nielsen’s 5th Global Annual Marketing Report was recently released.

Based on a global survey, they’ve sought to capture marketers’ sentiment around new marketing channels and associated spend, martech effectiveness, the importance of brand promise and more.

The 2022 report, based on the survey findings, provides insight into the following topics:

  • The importance of driving brand awareness
  • Ensuring your cross-platform measurement isn’t siloed
  • Solidifying your data strategy for a personalized future
  • Making your brand promise your truth

When COVID-19 arrived, brands of all sizes cut their marketing efforts to preserve budgets and profits.
Awareness efforts, in particular, quickly took a back seat as even massive multinationals like Coca-Cola,
General Motors and Netflix slammed the brakes on their brand building.

After more than two years of living in a pandemic, the world is acclimating to new realities, and marketers need
to think about using both activation and brand marketing tactics instead of doubling down on the former.
There is no short-selling the importance of being able to engage those who are ready to purchase, but
effective marketing needs more than mid- and lower-funnel activations—even in a pandemic.

Conversion-oriented marketing has been the marketing industry darling for some time. It’s attractive
because it drives sales in this quarter, not the next—and immediate gratification carries weight. Shortening
CMO tenures and reporting cycles exacerbate this trend, as a focus on near- term sales — and the ability to
measure the impact of conversion marketing — serves to grow investments in these strategies. By contrast,
the sales impact of upperfunnel marketing can take time to fully materialise. Marketers assuming that half
their marketing is working, per John Wanamaker’s old adage, would be inclined to say that lower-funnel
marketing is the only half that matters.

Yet, conversion-dominated strategies stand in opposition to numerous academic studies that claim
upperfunnel marketing is the best path to growth. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, for example, has long
argued that awareness (or “mental availability”) is the best path to customer acquisition, which is in turn the
only true path to growth. Some brands have learned the value of awareness the hard way. A wide range of
companies across categories have made public acknowledgements of missteps in forsaking brand building
in the name of increasing focus on activation. Gap Inc., Adidas, TripAdvisor and Booking Holdings (formerly
Priceline) are just a few of the organisations that came to these realisations, citing the need to do more to
create and maintain long-term equity.

Download this year’s report to access findings and learnings to inform your planning and go forward strategy.