Mark Ritson wrote an article for Marketing Week titled ‘Funnel juggling’ is the answer to marketing effectiveness (Sept 18, 2020).

« While I see a ton of companies now working with the concepts of long and short, there is a significant challenge in turning theory into praxis. Specifically, a lot of marketers are struggling with funnels. »

« Three approaches to ‘funnel juggling’ »

« 1. The sequential approach… A brand focuses on the top-of-funnel, emotional messaging and builds brand equity first. Then, with suitable amounts of awareness and positive affect in place, it exploits those advantages with targeted, product-based offers that convert all that brand equity into growth and incremental sales. »

« When Covid-19 lumbered into view, NRMA’s customer acquisition – like that of most insurers and many other companies – started to fall off a cliff… NRMA’s CMO, the appropriately named Brent Smart, took a different approach. He realised there was little point in running the usual short-term insurance campaigns… Smart shifted all his marketing money for Q2 into long-term brand building and then went upstairs to ask for even more. While others were pulling back, NRMA upped their media budget by 68% for the first three months of the Covid crisis and spent every penny on emotional, top-of-funnel, long-term brand building. »

« 2. The simultaneous approach… it often makes more sense to devote resources to both long and short marketing activities in a separate but simultaneous fashion. The fabled 60/40 rule about the proportion of budget to invest in each might still be guiding the execution, but that money is being spent at exactly the same point in time – often with different agencies and usually with very different media choices. »

« 3. The singular approach… [Ken] Roberts makes a convincing argument for aiming to achieve both long and short objectives within the same execution. It is a creative challenge but he recommends an approach that delivers both the emotional impact and the rational product arguments that activate sales performance. His example is Bendigo bank and its current advertising campaign, which aims to deliver both a sense of anger at the dominant, lazy status quo of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks and then segues into a strong product and price offer. »

« And Roberts makes a further argument in favour of the singular approach. He points out the piss-poor performance of most advertising when it is held accountable with the two most important basic metrics of effectiveness. First, does the consumer remember the ad? Second, do they link the sponsoring brand with that ad? You need both in order to have effect, and yet most data suggests that only around 20% of campaigns are both remembered and then correctly associated a day after exposure. That’s a scary stat at the best of times, but when you contemplate its implications for separate long and short campaigns – working separately but in tandem, in either the sequential or simultaneous approach – it becomes positively horrific. Roberts uses the example of a client of his that achieved a 26% success rate for the long, emotional, brand-building campaign and then a paltry 9% for the simultaneous retail activation.  »

« I can see arguments for and against all three different funnel juggling approaches.  »

A comment on consulting and not being able to travel during the pandemic.

« If I could put a number on it I would tell you that about 50% of the consulting job happened in the allocated sessions in HQ and the other half in cars, bars and around the back of a restaurant smoking cigarettes in the snow. »

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