In the current climate, says Sammy Mansourpour co-founder of AgencyUK, marketing budgets are getting crunched just as much as credit, which means the marketing buck has got to work much harder to achieve the ROI bang than it did this time last year.
Brands are looking for better, cheaper and more effective ways to sell, and yet also to build brand value. And this raises an interesting issue.
Do you need to have a separate budget with an above the line agency to build your brand value with consumers?
Or, can you achieve this, and sales, all within one campaign, and more importantly (from an economy of scale point of view) with just one agency?
I believe the answer is yes. By using Brand Response marketing you can make sure that every communication, with a customer or prospect delivers two things. A clear essence of that company’s brand and a reason to engage “now” with that company.
How well both of the above work will depend entirely on the relevance of the audience these communications fall in front of. But there are some hard and fast rules that you need to understand before you embark on a Brand Response campaign. Only connect: targeting is of paramount importance.
Selling to the right audience first time is quicker and cheaper. Get your targeting right and you spend much less than you would do communicating with thousands or maybe with hundreds of thousands of consumers who might never be interested in your brand.
Use communications that sell (as well as brand build) in the right way. Killing two birds with one stone is more cost effective, and measurable. You will find that the traditional theory of brand building media channels (TV, press etc) and response media (direct mail, email etc) no longer applies. Pretty much all media can do all things, and quite well.
The difference lies in where they appear, for example terrestrial TV is better for brand building, Amazon.co.uk is better for selling. A relevant brand will achieve standout with the right audience. As media has fragmented over the past 10 years we discover that marketing in niche media (like websites) can be more effective than a big full-blown campaign on the telly. It means that your marketing team have to know all the media and the profile of each audience – that can be quite a challenge – but it does also mean that your campaign will be relevant to the people that engage with it, for example, connecting through social networks.
Get the creative right, both for the site and for the consumer, and by speaking their language you will not be regarded as an intruder.
Lastly, Brand Response, if managed properly, will stop companies eroding their own brand value through continuous offers and discounting.
Credit cards are a classic example, where many chase the lowest rates, commoditising the market, whilst also associating their brands (many of which are premium banks) with “cheap” offers. In many cases this delivers “volume” customers, many of which are a short term cost with little or no long term monetary value to the bank.
So, Brand Response can be a powerful tool, attracting the right customer at the right price and leaving a lasting, positive, impression of the brand. It also fits both large and small brands and is probably the only sensible way that challenger brands (always with a marketing pot smaller than sector leaders) can credibly move up a rung or two on the success ladder, especially in a recession.