Top takeaways from PMW Unlocked 2024



13th March 2024

~ 7 min read

Having attended Performance Marketing World Unlocked 2024 last week, we’ve gathered the golden nuggets of performance marketing knowledge from a range of brilliant speakers and topics. 

Read on for our key themes from the event, including a wrap-up of our Director of Data Strategy Kevin Joyner’s keynote on Profitable Applied Analytics: how to make data matter.

Using authenticity to build trust and community

In the digital marketing industry, authenticity is becoming increasingly important. This is because of its ability to build trust - a currency that has become invaluable in a digital landscape inundated with information. 

What can brands take from this? By genuinely connecting with communities, understanding their needs, and adding meaningful value, brands can create lasting relationships that go beyond basic transactions.

Be PART of culture 

These points were echoed by Ibrahim Kamara, Digital Entrepreneur & Founder of GUAP, during his keynote presentation. Ibrahim reminded us that whilst we can buy reach, we can’t buy impact - so the key is to make campaigns people actually care about. GUAP does this in three ways:

  • Cultural capital: This is the unwritten influence a brand has in a community. GUAP doesn't just follow culture, they are part of it.
  • Creativity: Put simply, make cool things that resonate with your audience. Most cool things are going to come from your own audience, so see how you can invest more in their ideas. 
  • Community: Every idea should start with your community at its centre. Who makes your content is also important, as you need to understand and reflect the community you're trying to reach. People are more likely to trust and engage with content they feel accurately reflected in.

The value of community 

Grace Andrews, Marketing Director, Steven Bartlett & The Diary Of A CEO, also stressed the value of community as a marketer's most valuable asset, emphasising the need to differentiate between an audience and a true community. She highlighted how audiences are more diverse than you’d expect, and the need to diversify your content strategy across platforms to communicate to these different groups.

Grace also outlined a content strategy centred around adding genuine value at every stage and fostering active listening through live events and social listening tools to show up in conversations and understand community trends. 

Authenticity shouldn’t just be an outward effort however - and being transparent and authentic within an organisation can have its benefits too. Steven Bartlett is a prime example of the value of transparency internally. He places importance on embracing failure as a form of feedback, using a specific ‘failure’ slack channel to share learnings from past campaigns in order to discover potential incremental gains. 

Grabbing attention with creatives

Today, the ad industry has become so saturated that it's often hard to stand out from the noise. Many presentations dove into this issue with a focus on unlocking the power of creatives to get that all important attention. 

The power of creative 

Oliver Stewart, VP Sales at Celtra, brought light to the untapped potential of creativity within performance marketing. 

As 75% of ads we see on a daily basis go over our heads, grabbing attention is harder and more important than ever. The good news is that there’s a vast amount of untapped potential within creative - a Google study shared that 70% of campaign performance is driven by - and can be attributed to - creative, but that currently 52% of media budgets are wasted on sub-par creatives. This means that there’s an estimated $200b in economic loss. Oliver recommended three key strategies to rectify this and unlock creative potential:

  1. Simplify collaboration: Bringing brand and performance teams together to work more collaboratively allows for more visibility across the business, and when brand and performance are more closely aligned, great things will happen..
  2. Test and optimise: Continually test and learn, and tweak your creatives to see which perform best. 
  3. Leverage technology: This allows you to produce creatives faster - find tech tools that help with the repetitive tasks and processes involved in creative production.  Automating these processes will help to produce creatives at will, which can then be fed into those tests and learns, for continual optimisation.

Top tips for attention

Following the same theme, Senior Creative, John Thornton, spoke on ‘how to be the ultimate attention seeker’ by sharing his experience and key learnings with startup cereal brand, Surreal. His top tips for grabbing attention:

  • Grab attention first, add the messaging second.
  • If something works, reuse it. 
  • Guerilla marketing works because people aren't going on social media to view adverts - they want a distraction. Social is an entertainment channel - do something a bit weird to stand out.
  • Consumers don't care about colours or fonts - it's more important to focus on your tone of voice and vibe.

Another way to grab attention is through injecting gamification at key moments of the customer life cycle. According to Libby Jackson, Regional Manager & Gamification Specialist at Playable, gamification is on the rise, helping brands to increase awareness, engagement and acquisition. Brands can incentivise their audience to take the next step - retention - by using interactivity. 

Libby shared how from the multitude of ads we see each day, only 15% of consumers feel they are getting good value from them. When gamification is used in the marketing context, users are more likely to remember the brand based on positive association and unique experiences. 

How does this work? Play is one of the most ordinary human instincts we have - and it's hardwired. Using gamification can make an ad more memorable and trigger happy hormones through its ability to incite concentration -  in order to play a game and do well, you have to be concentrating. 

A few examples of gamification include gift selectors, digital advent calendars and even swiping on tinder - these all use game mechanics to engage and sustain our attention. Ooni used enhanced paid ads, where a user spins a pizza oven for prices and e-guides to win. Within the early stages, Ooni was able to measure a 20% lower cost per lead and a 5% higher click through rate.

Creative for the full funnel

In the age of heightened content fatigue, crafting content for the full marketing funnel requires a nuanced approach. Matilda Lucy, Growth Strategist and Consultant, shared the art and science of creating content that resonates with audiences from initial awareness to final conversion.

At the awareness stage, the emphasis should be on entertainment- whether that's through humour ,information - or both! Social media ads are the top source of discovery for brands, so view your ad content as a brand extension, and invite more people to your brand world. It’s also super important that the content is platform native. 

At the consideration stage,  the approach should shift to showing rather than telling, integrating social proof and trust touch points to relay what your existing community already thinks about you. 

The conversion stage should focus on simplicity in order to drive conversions. 

Key strategies include platform-native content, storytelling, and clear campaign purposes aligned with funnel stages. Ultimately, understanding the target audience and delivering tailored messages at each stage is pivotal for effective content creation.

Making Data matter

With first-party data and privacy regulations, and cookie depreciation impacting the digital landscape, data was very much a hot topic. 

Mike Fantis, VP, Managing Partner at DAC Group, expressed how despite data holding the key to customer acquisition and retention, it's still being underutilised. Although a more pressing topic recently, he argued that there have always been holes in our data. So, instead of panicking about the data we’re losing, we should focus on the data that we do have - first-party data. 

He highlighted this point when talking about his recent paddle purchase - he had been targeted with marketing emails ever since his purchase, yet not one of the emails he received mentioned a paddle. If this sports retailer were to focus on the data they already have, they could carry out CRM analysis and personalisation. They could also choose which customer profile is best to target within their media, and add value to encourage repeat purchasing. 

In his keynote presentation, Croud’s Director of Data Strategy, Kevin Joyner, stressed how in today’s data-driven world, the role of analytics in shaping business decisions can’t be overstated. Only 53% of marketing decisions are influenced by marketing analytics, and despite advancements in data processing and automation, many initiatives fail to resonate with stakeholders or address fundamental business needs.

To address this, Kevin suggested solving the ‘who cares?’ problem with user stories. By identifying key stakeholders and their specific needs, organisations can prioritise initiatives that have a significant impact on business objectives.  He also shared the importance of selecting the right KPIs, building insightful dashboards, and fostering a culture of analytics-driven decision-making, to allow brands to unlock the full potential of their analytics Investments.

You can read more about this analytics approach in our latest guide: How to maximise your analytics impact

So that's a wrap! This year’s PMW Unlocked provided invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of digital marketing. From the emphasis on authenticity and community engagement to the importance of attention-grabbing creatives and data-driven analytics, the event underscored key strategies for success in today's dynamic environment. 

We hope you found this useful, and if you have any questions on the topics covered in this blog, please feel free to reach out

Sign up to Croud’s Digital Digest

Get Croud's monthly newsletter, which is packed with the latest news from Croud from across the globe, along with updates and commentary around the latest developments in the digital marketing space.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.