Why Transactional Brand Building Gets the Oscar for “Best Big Picture” Approach
Michelle Cardinal, Co-Founder + Chairwoman
The Oscars got me thinking about what marketers expect consumers to do after viewing their ads during a big event. Headlines across the media landscape too often focus on who won the social battle, or which commercials scored big on Twitter. Even as ratings for big events skyrocket (See Super Bowl XLIX 49.7 rating, the highest overnight rating in Super Bowl history), the question that still lingers is “Was it worth it?” Did the fact that more people tweeted about the ad, shared it on Facebook, and watched it on YouTube drive sales? In most cases, the answer is no. In fact, for every ad that connects with viewers, there are many others that are immediately forgotten. Just doing brand advertising doesn’t get you where you want to go. It may get you in the conversation at the bar or around the office water cooler, but it won’t drive transactions.
Too often companies come to me after they have invested heavily in traditional TV, radio and print advertising only to be left guessing whether it worked. Was the campaign successful? Did it move the needle in terms of sales? Network executives and ad reps will throw out all types of metrics to convince clients of the true value of their ad’s reach and exposure. Most of the time, however, the only real source of feedback is a thin stream of likes, tweets, pins and online analytics, which only track a fraction of what customers are actually doing. Building a brand and increasing sales by simply encouraging viewers to take a picture, follow you or tweet about your campaign can take a very, very long time.
When you can associate a sale with the ad campaign that drove your customer to act, then you are no longer left guessing about results. This to me is the real metric of success. In today’s marketplace, every interaction with your customer should impact both the perception of your brand and your bottom line. You need to be able to track both by combining tried-and-true direct marketing techniques with smart brand planning and solid market research. The goal with any campaign should be to generate sales of your product and service, while providing trackable, attributable data that you can use to optimize future campaigns and investments.
Developing a “transactional” focused brand building strategy helps companies reduce the unknowns, save time and maximize their media investment. Brands that once dominated the advertising landscape only a few years ago have evolved. They and their online, modern-day peers have matured, and are being smarter with their marketing dollars. At no other time are customers more engaged, more aware and more committed to your brand than right before they make a purchase. By focusing on a transactional brand building strategy, companies are able to craft and tests messages that make the most of these moments. The message can aim squarely at closing the sale with an emphasis on smart brand positioning.
How you can get the most from a transactional brand building strategy:
- Improve control. Put your energies into marketing strategies that allow you to capture similar analytics and insight from your traditional media channels that you are used to getting from online media. Rather than optimizing a small portion of your ad spend, you can control it all.
- Maximize ad dollars. Track every message and brand interaction to a direct sale. By making every interaction a positive experience, you can maximize your brand equity – and the number of transactions it drives.
- Embrace new sales channels. Customers want to buy online, at retail and through telemarketing campaigns. Embrace the full spectrum of sales channels and optimize them in unison. This will provide you much greater control over your distribution and fulfillment models.
You need to look beyond social media posts and shares, and past ratings, click-thrus and impressions. It’s time to take control of your ad spend, develop truly creative TV spots that engage your target audience and drive measurable transactions. What matters most for any campaign is the value it adds to your brand and to your bottom line. I know that a transactional brand-building model works. You can calculate the ROI of your TV campaign using real-time data and metrics. And armed with that knowledge and understanding, you can optimize your marketing budgets and maximize their impact.