Last week we hosted our inaugural Serpico event at Google’s HQ in London, where we explored some of the challenges and opportunities for digital marketers today.
Kicking off the event, Eve Sleep CMO Cheryl Calverley took the stage to debate the challenges and opportunities of joining up traditional ‘brand’ marketing and performance marketing activity. Here we recap on some of the key takeaways from her discussion with Client Strategy Director, Jamie Hoey.
There’s no such thing as ‘brand’ versus ‘performance’
According to Cheryl, when it comes to marketing activity, everything is brand and everything is performance. She rightly pointed out that consumers don’t differentiate between the two, so marketers shouldn’t view their marketing campaigns in such black and white terms either.
Essentially, ‘brand’ is everything that creates audiences; whilst ‘performance’ is the stuff that fishes for that audience. In Cheryl’s words, you can’t create fish by fishing. You have to attract the fish first, and you do this through brand marketing activity.
Referring to Eve Sleep specifically, Cheryl points out that, when a consumer searches for ‘mattress’, you can have all the performance ads you like, but it’s the brand activity that will have worked really hard to plant the seeds in consumers’ minds that Eve is the mattress to choose.
Creating unexpected connections
When thinking about ‘brand’ marketing, Cheryl cited TV as the most traditional brand channel, designed to create a memory and evoke an emotion. Referring to recent Thinkbox research, she also spoke about the fact that, as video formats have multiplied, the range of needs fulfilled by video has also expanded.
Whilst online video platforms such as YouTube and Facebook allow viewers to escape into a world of quality content – more in line with the role of traditional TV, they also “serve more distinct need states that tend to be driven by function or distraction” according to the Thinkbox report.
YouTube in particular, is increasingly shifting towards being more direct response-focused, with the introduction of formats such as TrueView for Action. This means that whilst brands can still use YouTube to target a wide audience, they can also now be much more targeted in their approach, including through using in-market audiences, and push people to take a specific action.
As such, Cheryl counselled that marketers should think about the customer and context they’re in at any given moment, rather than automatically assigning specific channels to the brand or performance bucket. More than anything, she urged marketers to continue to strive to find those unexpected connections that the human brain craves – and not to lose sight of this when creating ‘performance’ ads.
The measurement challenge
According to Cheryl, biddable media is seductive because of the fact that you can see the correlation between spend and results. However, she advised brands against prioritising performance for this reason and emphasised the importance of also spending on creating that memory in people’s minds.
One of the key challenges in joining up brand and performance activity is how to build a measurement framework for everything so you can showcase results to the rest of the business. This can be especially difficult for early-stage brands because they simply don’t have the data needed to drive decisions.
Cheryl also gave the audience an insight into Eve Sleep’s own measurement journey. Eve has created their own measurement framework, leveraging high-level econometrics to gain more insight into the longer-term impact of brand campaigns. This includes using customer surveys to gauge the opinion of the brand, as well as ad awareness survey versus competitors to benchmark performance.