Why performance measures alone are simply not enough

a watch with the hands spinning quickly

A customer says to a mechanic: “I need you to make my car go faster.”

The mechanic replies: “Why do you need me to do that?”

“Because it’s taking me too long to get to work.”

“Making your car go faster may not be the best way to solve your problem. Have you thought about setting off at a different time, trying a different route, working from home or in the longer term moving closer to work?”

A bit irritating from the mechanic, but he’s got a point.

When a client’s brief is built around ‘we need to grow from X to Y this year,’ just making the car go faster isn’t always the answer. A bigger or better media plan, a stronger brand proposition or improvements to the value proposition might fine-tune the engine, but they miss the mechanic’s point.

Sounds obvious, but too many briefs are responded to only considering one of those aspects.


More than fine-tuning

Recently, a well-known fashion brand came to us wanting double-digit growth this year and again next year.

It had switched a few years ago to performance activity only. We found that since that switch, demand for its brand had been declining; it had been so focused on efficiency metrics that it hadn’t noticed that it had been harvesting an ever-diminishing pool.

Also, it had been so focused on lower-funnel activity that it had lost sight of who its customers were – who it should be marketing to. The task was clear: identify segments with the greatest potential, diagnose what to say to those segments and where to tell that story.

The answers to those questions gave a channel mix that was a breakaway from the purely lower-funnel tactics that it had been using. But it was the right mix to create the demand and (equally importantly) loyalty it needed to increase lifetime value across the board.


Promotions aren’t a silver bullet

The same brand was using a never-ending cycle of back-to-back promotions on that diminishing pool of customers, getting into a cycle where it could only get a response from the market when it went into a sale.

It needed to test which segments and which times didn’t require a discount, generating an immediate jump in its revenue while, in parallel, demand-generating brand activity built sufficiently to support a less frequent promotion cycle.


Meet audiences where they are

The brand had also developed its product range to where it wanted to be, without always considering what its audience wanted. Its range didn’t all necessarily hold appeal to their audience, and there were efficiencies and optimizations that could be made within the range that would drive further gains.


Bringing it all together to meet the challenge

Answering the client’s brief fully requires media planning (performance and brand), brand planning and marketing strategy.

Missing out on any one of these elements ultimately creates a ceiling for growth.

Brands and agencies must break down the barriers between planning functions and (where possible) combine them to effectively unlock the growth clients are looking for.


Originally published on The Drum.