The separation of media and creative execution 40 years ago sent the advertising industry spiraling. Advertising’s perception has devolved from entertaining to annoying, investment to commodity, channels organized to communication everywhere, and audiences obtainable to users elusive. Savvy marketers are actively seeking solutions to join the lower and upper funnels of marketing as a means to remedy the situation.
We often hear this desire expressed as joining brand (television, video, out-of-home, and display) with performance (video, display, social, and search engine marketing) channels. However, brand and performance involve different objectives, messages, metrics, agency partners, and channels. Marketers need an alignment of strategy, rather than just merging channels.
Unite Precision And Persuasion With A Unified Strategy
It’s not brand marketing or performance marketing. It’s just marketing.
Think about the combination of brand and performance as unifying the strategic intent of precision and persuasion marketing. Precision marketing is designed to address functional needs of in-market shoppers choosing among purchase options and/or existing customers considering upsell options. Persuasion marketing is designed to address the emotional needs of the total addressable audience of shoppers to shape opinions prior to making purchases. For precision and persuasion to come together, the emotional needs, functional needs, and transactional requirements of shoppers/audiences must be addressed simultaneously:
- Emotional needs reflect how shoppers feel. Human beings are irrational. While irrationality is difficult to quantify, we cannot deny its power and cathartic impact. Shoppers’ feelings about themselves, society, culture, and brands are formidable persuaders and gateways to establishing long-lasting customer relationships.
- Functional needs impact how shoppers think. Shoppers and customers rationalize their preferences with information, likes/dislikes, and perceived benefits/disadvantages about the product and its value. How a shopper thinks about the product in question can be shaped by tangible product attributes, relatable use cases, comparisons to competitors, and validation from others.
- Transactional requirements reveal what shoppers will do. The purchase actions shoppers take are determined by whether the advertising meets their buying terms. These are things like product price point, product availability, delivery/pickup timing, and ease of return. Retailers close the final steps of a purchase when the shopper’s requirements are met in a relatively frictionless manner. Amazon and e-commerce have taught consumers to buy on their terms, or not.
The Collision Of Precision And Persuasion Reshapes Marketing
Marketers are all too familiar with the challenges of managing siloed partners, strategies, and budgets to produce separate emotional, functional, and transactional campaigns. In an environment where the cost of marketing and the pressure for results exponentially increase, it’s easy to see the appeal of combining precision and persuasion. Yet that alignment requires making fundamental shifts:
- Rethink the customer lifecycle. The linear stages of the Forrester customer lifecycle become truncated. The combination of precision and persuasion marketing smash together the first three stages: discover, explore, and buy. Icelandic bike brand Lauf brought all retail employees online and used video to support customers and sell to prospects. The order of the customer lifecycle became frenetic and unfixed, no longer following a marketing funnel-like progression. DTC brands like Glossier create campaigns that lead with product attributes and don’t start building brand relationships until after the purchase.
- Reevaluate agency relationships and partnerships. Consolidate the number of agency partners that produce marketing during the discover, explore, and buy phases. Historically, this involved creative, media, and performance marketing agencies. Performance and creative agencies merge to offer broad advertising capabilities. The merger of performance agency iProspect and brand media agency Vizeum and the performance agency PMG adding creative teams from The Richards Group both illustrate that this shift is already underway.
As we continue to explore the collision of precision and persuasion, look for the upcoming Forrester report, “It’s Time To Rethink Brand And Performance Marketing.” We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions. Feel free to contact email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.