The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Literally. When you think about how you do things now – work, shop, eat, socialize, raise your kids, travel – is there any aspect of your life that hasn’t changed since early 2020?
We saw sweeping changes occur in marketing as well. Due to the uncertainty of the economy and supply chain, or in some cases the very real threat of having to close shop, companies were forced to make drastic changes to their marketing tactics. In an effort to preserve budgets and profit margins, brand awareness took a back seat as easy-to-measure (i.e. easy to fiscally justify) lower-funnel activities took center stage.
However, that trend seems to be waning. According to Nielsen’s Annual Marketing Report, the number-one concern among marketers now is brand awareness. This willingness to focus more on brand awareness couldn’t be happening at a more opportune time. We’ve already seen the rate of inflation jump to its highest level in 40 years. And if you’ve been paying attention to the news at all, you know what’s coming next: higher interest rates. Not only will this change consumer behavior, but it will also have a significant impact on how marketers advertise, especially those segments that rely heavily on price points and low APR financing.
But this shift toward more brand awareness doesn’t come without a couple of concerns. According to the Nielsen survey, only 54% of marketers feel they have the ability to measure full-funnel ROI and only 26% have confidence in their first-party data. Rest assured, though, that your brand-building efforts are working, even if you can’t see the returns right away. As discussed in Patience is a Virtue in Marketing, the majority of advertising returns are seen in the long term. In fact, there have been numerous studies that conclude upper-funnel marketing is the best path to growth, and that awareness is the best path to consumer acquisition.
All too often, marketers allow brand-building measurement difficulties to obscure the importance of actually building their brand. The desire to drive sales today – as attractive and beneficial as that may be – oftentimes comes at the expense of creating brand affinity and growing a loyal customer base, both of which are crucial for long-term growth. Marketers across the retail spectrum will tell you that customers who have an emotional connection to a brand tend to be more loyal and valuable over time. The same cannot be said of the shopper who just happened to land on your website through a Google search or by clicking on an ad in their social media feed.
Advertisers that stay the course and continually strive to build a strong brand reap the benefits of not only generating more sales in the near term but enjoy long-term growth as well. The bottom line: lower-funnel messaging may have a higher short-term impact than upper-funnel messaging, but it doesn’t deliver much additional value in the long term. In contrast, upper-funnel messaging may bring about slightly lower short-term results, but it delivers meaningful additional value in the long term.
To discuss how we can help you turn psychological insights into great creative advertising, give us a call at 833-588-1309 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Shea Posey, Senior Account Executive, and Jake McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer