22nd April 2024

The secrets to unlocking an outcomes-obsessed culture in your organization

Marketers need to rethink the division between brand and performance to drive the best results, argues Brian DeCicco, Mindshare’s NA Chief Data Strategy & Analytics Officer.

Most marketers today say they realize that brand marketing and performance marketing can’t operate in silos. But, in practice, too many of them seem hooked on the instant gratification of performance marketing, despite mounds of academic research and brand testimonials suggesting the returns can be misleading.

The accelerated growth of performance marketing separated from brand is bad for both business and consumers. On the business side, the short-term gains in customer acquisition or return on ad spend aren’t sustainable, and marketers end up optimizing themselves into a corner while ignoring the impact of brand metrics. And because budgets and tactics are split along these artificial lines, consumers are stuck with disjointed communications and experiences.

Effective marketing takes advantage of the reciprocity of brand and demand efforts. It works throughout the customer journey, using data to deliver relevant experiences wherever consumers are. At the same time, it uses analytics to balance brand-building investments with short-term performance marketing investments to maximize business outcomes like revenue, profitability, customer lifetime value, and shareholder growth.

Even with this enlightenment, there remain two common pitfalls across marketing organizations that threaten what good looks like.

The first is metric multiplicity. This is, most commonly, a result of an abundance of gathered data. And despite that, or because of it, there is an inability to derive insights connected to outcomes. Or it’s caused by data silos tied to organizational constructs.

Sometimes, the simple appearance of the word “performance” in a marketer’s title can indicate an isolation of key performance indicators (KPIs), data, resource availability, tools, and talent profiles projected against a singular business outcome: Sell more stuff to more people.

And it also can mean a rejection of and disconnection with other KPIs, data, resources, and tools that could be contributing to that outcome – like the power of a brand.

The second is the emphasis on speed. The singular obsession with speed burns out the people tasked to deliver it while often being the primary contributor to the false sense of success I mentioned earlier.

Every marketer wants speed and the tools to unlock it. But blind speed isn’t good, either. Success comes when you have the confidence to move at speed toward a specific outcome. In other words, you must have velocity. Marketers who aim to accelerate the performance of their marketing need a framework to give their decisions strategic purpose. Only with direction can you move at a pace that amplifies the return of desired marketing outcomes.

Here are five principles to overcome these pitfalls and unlock an outcomes-obsessed culture within your marketing organization and with your strategic partners: 

1. Align incentives

An obvious place to start, but often overlooked. Focus on creating relationships between the KPIs each department is held to account for and the benefits of collaboration (e.g., data access, technologies that drive operational efficiency, and more).

2. Drive a culture of understanding and appreciation

Specialism is the nature of an industry experiencing constant cycles of technological innovation and channel proliferation.

3. Create connected data and insights

Data informs everything we do, from strategic media planning to creative concepting to the algorithm that drives the personalized message that lands in front of the consumer.

4. Unify measurement

Metrics for metrics’ sake is crushing many marketing organizations. It’s what led to an overemphasis on reporting “what happened” and an underemphasis on asking, “What should we do?

5. Stay human

Data and imagination have been treated as opposites in the era of performance marketing. Creativity lives with brand, and data lives with demand. This can be dangerously wrong as we increasingly relinquish some decision-making authority to machine-learning and AI technologies.

Marketing organizations are complex, and mostly for valid reasons. But, at the end of the day, the common goal is transformation to a truly integrated marketing communications operation.

Keep in mind that your most valuable consumers don’t care about any of this. They just want highly relevant and engaging ad interactions, plus a flawless customer experience. Awareness of how common pitfalls could detract from that promise, and lead to missed opportunities and underperformance, is the first step on your journey to creating an outcome-obsessed marketing culture that translates to delivering meaningful business value.

Use these principles as a map to get there faster – increasing your organization’s velocity to value.

Mindshare Global
    Mindshare Global