Blurring the Lines Between Brand and Performance Marketing

/ Thoughtspace - Strategy

As marketers, we often preach about setting separate KPIs for campaigns in different funnel stages. While this is needed, we must understand the synergies between brand and performance campaigns to fully optimize marketing efforts and pull the strongest overarching insights. At Coegi, we define ourselves as performance marketing practitioners. Does this mean we ignore branding and top funnel efforts? Of course not – we believe and understand that all marketing efforts can be built to ladder up to business goals.

Defining Brand vs Performance Marketing

What is the difference between brand and performance marketing? A Forbes article deftly explains, “Brand marketing encourages customers to raise their hands. Performance marketing makes it as easy as possible for a customer to get your product into their hand after they raise it”. Branded campaigns are structured to build brand affinity, recall, values, loyalty, and a whole slew of other emotion-based results. Performance marketing, conversely, is all about the numbers, and finding ways to build efficiencies and grow total results. These measurement-focused campaigns are built to drive conversions, leads, purchases, and purposeful clicks, while lowering the cost per action based on channel, audience, and creative learnings.

“Brand marketing encourages customers to raise their hands. Performance marketing makes it as easy as possible for a customer to get your product into their hand after they raise it.”

Holding Brand Campaigns Accountable

Marketers that have historically leaned on traditional channels are shifting to digital platforms to have more targeted approaches with fewer dollars wasted. However, as a general rule, brand campaign dollars have not been held to the same accountability as performance dollars. Yet, there is an increasing demand from CFOs and CEOs for those quantifiable results and to prove the ROI. A marketer’s job is to showcase the value and effect of upper funnel marketing on long and short term business results. For example, a McKinsey study reported, “With a clearer understanding of consumer preferences and behavior at the early stages of their buying journey, companies report marketing efficiency gains of up to 30% and incremental top-line growth of up to 10% without increasing the marketing budget”.


How can you start to measure brand campaigns?  Identify business objectives towards awareness that indicate a person has positive feelings towards or engagement with your product. Ask the right questions, determine the right methodology, and understand what actions are truly driving interest in your brand.

Taking Full-Funnel Full-Circle

MarketingProfs article recently explained this by saying, “brand-driven insight is your truth—the WHY behind all that you do. The performance marketing is your plan put into action—the HOW and WHAT of manifesting that truth”. By understanding this full customer journey, brands can make audiences feel understood using data-driven insights to build meaningful messaging on the channels where they are most present and receptive. Ultimately, this builds trust while optimizing budgets simply by being relevant and serving audiences who care about what your brand has to offer. This helps set the stage for lower funnel campaigns and creates a more seamless path to conversion.

Recently, a CPG client tasked Coegi with building a full-funnel marketing campaign increasing emotional brand connection as well as driving product trials. We executed a performance branding study on Facebook to evaluate brand lift as well as conversion lift for key website events. This blended approach allowed for valuable insights into multiple stages of the consumer journey, from awareness to purchase intent. The results surpassed various CPG benchmarks and highlighted the importance of creating synergies between creative execution and operational strategy, and also put more accountability on the incrementality of our branding efforts.

Key Takeaways:

  • Treat all marketing campaigns as performance-based
  • Hold brand campaigns accountable with custom measurement frameworks that inform business outcomes
  • Pull insights from bottom funnel campaigns to inform top funnel campaigns (and vice versa)


Written By: Ryan Green, Vice President of Marketing and Innovation

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