Twenty months of pandemic uncertainty and a complete shift in consumer behavior have left many CMOs scratching their heads as they prepare their 2022 digital marketing budgets.
Covid has exacerbated tensions between creative-led strategies and the media
“Over the past five years, some omnichannel companies have shifted their attitudes and budgets, shifting spending above the line, especially TV, to digital platforms like Youtube and other video outlets. digital. the monitoring and measurability offered by digital channels ”, explains Julien Fievez, head of the operational team at Incubeta.
Fievez says Covid then added new complexity, with media spending taking a big hit in the first wave. This was especially the case with large retailers who he said turned to profitability as a key goal, initially removing the budget allocation from top funnel activities, before adjusting again to meet higher online demand.
“Local marketing leaders are not investing enough in appropriate content. When we ask for 40 variant copies, sometimes we only get five. If you think about a user’s journey, it can be complicated, and some local brands seem reluctant to invest in good, attention-grabbing content. This is especially the case in creating top funnel content and it impacts how we build audiences. Companies will shoot a TV commercial and we will find ourselves trying to turn that content into a Youtube advertisement. The storytelling in these two mediums is completely different and we are often forced to do hacking work to fit budgets that may not have been properly thought out, ”adds Brandon Janse van Vuuren, Head of Rate Optimization conversion and data scientist at Incubeta.
Investment in technology drives global performance
For comparison, while many local marketing managers have been cautious about investing in martech, both experts say global companies have pumped money into products like Google Analytics 360. .
“The challenge was twofold. The weak Rand has made many executives think twice when it comes to investing in martech. Additionally, some executives don’t immediately see a clear ROI for the technology. However, these tools allow you to look at the customer’s lifetime value over the long term and it is this idea that will allow you to plan successfully. Local businesses need to take the plunge if they want to better understand how users interact with their channels. Investing money today will only produce results down the line, but they will be important, ”advises Fievez.
An uncertain future without cookies
The need for a good martech has become all the more urgent as we approach the end of the third-party cookie and Janse van Vuuren says that in a world without cookies, premium analytics tools will be what will help sustain marketing performance. of a brand.
“We are facing a very uncertain future and we don’t really understand what a world without cookies will look like. What we do know is dirty data is useless and we know first party data will become crucial for marketing. We know that data will need to be enabled and audiences will become crucial for future marketing success. When we look at it holistically, it’s clear that’s why investing in marketing technology will quickly become critical, ”he says.
Let go of short-termism and obsession with ROI
Both experts say budgets need to include more investment in top funnel strategies, saying these help create first-party audiences and prepare brands for longer-term gains.
Additionally, a big deal for both experts is when brands commit a budget to bring users to their website, but that’s where it ends.
“There has to be a shift in mindset when it comes to this obsession with ROI, especially when it comes to marketing at the top of the funnel. Getting users to a site is part of the strategy, but getting them to convert is a bigger challenge. There is also a reluctance to spend money on website design and customer experience as you may not see immediate feedback, but it is a critical part of the customer experience. from start to finish, ”says Janse van Vuuren.
Planning for growth today and tomorrow
Building on work with global and local clients, the two distill their advice into seven quick tips for marketing managers planning their 2022 spend:
- Maintain your omnichannel and continue to support it
- Just because people are using online options doesn’t mean there’s no room for real-world experiences.
- Research is always important. Paid SEO and SEO will remain crucial. After all, it will always be necessary to find brands
- Continue your investment in the upper funnel business
- Invest with the goal of looking back over the longer term rather than quick returns
- Invest in the audience. Invest in a good analytics stack and top funnel strategy to help you with this task.
- Invest in data science solutions. Gaps in your data need to be filled. The calculation of useful metrics like customer lifetime value will depend on this
Fievez sums it up with an analogy highlighting the obsession with quick wins, often at the expense of solid long-term growth, by stating: The power of X comes out on the other side. The challenge arises when we try to explain that there are so many moving parts in the machine and you have to focus less on what comes out of the machine on a daily basis, and more on delivery six to 12 months. from now on.”