Andrew Willshire wrote an article for MarketingWeek titled Focus on the short term and the long term will take care of itself (2017). It is a contrarian view to the Binet and Field 55/45 model of long-term brand building and short-term activation advertising.

« some caveats:

  • The product or service needs to be good. As Bill Bernbach said, nothing kills a bad product quicker than good advertising.
  • The advertising must not be tied into a price promotion….
  • The measurement must be robust. I’ve discussed digital attribution
  • I’m talking about real metrics. Click-through rates and brand awareness indices doth butter no parsnips; profit is the only metric worth a damn. And provided that your price remains constant, sales volume is an excellent proxy for profit.  »

« the best predictor of which brand someone will buy in the future is the brand they buy already – it’s the most ‘mentally available’. In the car market, repeat purchase rates can be as high as 70%… As Byron Sharp put it: “Loyalty is often more a function of habit, familiarity and lack of caring rather than unbound devotion.” Marketers should be aiming to create that habit and familiarity. »

« The combination of mental availability and post-purchase rationalisation means that measuring brand awareness will tend to reflect recent purchases rather than drive them. »

« short-circuit the customer’s decision-making process and make your brand the obvious choice when they pull the trigger on a purchase. »

« Crucially, though, getting inside the [OODA] loop means reaching consumers close to the point of purchase. It follows that the most effective marketing strategy is to convert the people who are going to buy tomorrow, not next month and certainly not next year. If you reach them too early, you leave them open to your competitors’ messages, blunting the impact.

This isn’t a new idea. Erwin Ephron wrote about recency planning back in 1998: “Whether a consumer is ‘ready to buy’ is more important than the number of messages the consumer receives. When a consumer is in the market, a single message can have an effect, but if a consumer is not in the market, multiple messages are not likely to make the sale. Reaching three consumers, once, will generate more purchases than reaching one consumer three times.” » Erwin Ephron is the author of Media Planning from Recency to Engagement.

« Given that most researchers think the total effect of advertising is relatively weak, why do we give credence to the idea that an advert from six months ago is a significant as the one seen yesterday? »

« It is common to define long-term brand-building media as having a broad reach and being highly emotive while short-term media is tightly targeted and information-rich…  we have two types of underperforming media: intrusive, minuscule-reach, high-frequency digital advertising, which companies like Procter & Gamble are abandoning due to the total lack of impact; and big showpiece campaigns with high reach but content that is only vaguely related to the actual brand (see Mark Ritson on the recent Heineken advert). When neither type of advertising does much to drive sales, we have a problem. »

« Long-term thinking also provides an excuse for poorly performing media… I would contend that if media has a long-term effect, then it must have a short-term effect. Media that doesn’t change behaviour tomorrow will not change behaviour six months from now. »

« To clarify, I’m not saying that brand awareness isn’t important. I’m saying that awareness is most useful when it receives a boost close to the point of purchase and that the best driver of sustained brand awareness is consumers buying the product, using it and liking it. This means that the most important factor is to drive an individual’s initial purchase and to target as many purchase moments as possible.  »

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