Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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Twenty years ago, marketers knew how to use advertising to BUILD brands and how to PROMOTE brands.  The lines were clear. TV and magazines were leading brand builders; newspapers, coupons in the mail and shopper marketing were leading promotional tactics.

But things change.  Linear TV’s share of ad dollars has declined and has already been passed by digital. In the next few years, it is likely that TV will be surpassed by mobile as TV dips to about a 30% share of ad spending…its 1980 levels…when print was king. I’m not saying that TV no longer works to build brands but if only 30% of ad dollars will go towards TV that is not enough emphasis on brand building.

The most important priority for Marketers in 2019? Learn how to build brands in digital media.

Marketers…as digital increasingly dominates your ad budgets, you cannot only design tactics to perform as direct marketing/call to action or you will be mortgaging your brand’s future. The trap is that digital is nearly always judged by lift in short term performance pushing you towards performance tactics and away from brand building, resulting in media being optimized to drive short term performance.

As you make digital part of your brand-building program, it is important to think innovatively.  Clearly the literal translation of TV to digital is video but is that the only way, or even the best way…to build brands via digital?  Can you build brands via display if targeted to the right prospects programmatically? Evidence from my white paper “The Persuadables” would suggest “yes”. Can you build brands via mobile and drive performance at the same time?  The MMA SMoX studies prove this is possible. Can you build brands within the Amazon ecosystem that is both the leading e-tailer (10X the share of any other retailer online) and also #3 in ad revenues? Vizio and Chobani are two prominent examples of brands originally built at (physical) retail, so it seems the answer is yes, there should be a way to build brands within Amazon.

Marketers, honestly ask yourself, “How comfortable are you today with your knowledge and instincts when it comes to brand-building via digital, and especially mobile, marketing?”

Researchers…do you even know how to address this question? I’d say most don’t…tracker brand metrics never move and lift studies often use reasonable sounding soft metrics like purchase intent without any evidence they pay off to performance lift down the road.

Seeing the gap, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has asked me to work on an initiative we call “Brand as Performance”. We plan to run a number of studies that will extend over the course of a full year to help marketers find a better optimal solution for brand vs performance marketing rather than being misled by only looking at short term sales and conversions.

More specifically, this project has learning goals such as…­­­­

  • Compare and contrast the brand building power (vs. performance power) of 15 or so major media tactics (TV included)
  • Finding media tactics that not only drive performance but also drive brand at the same time, delivering a double benefit.
  • Measuring the longer-term performance effect of building the brand.  Is lift in brand metrics the annuity we think it is? In other words, do media tactics that drive up brand favorability have a higher sales multiplier over the course of a year vs. those that just drive short term sales spikes?
  • Can you build brands from the purchase forward…i.e. win the purchase, then create loyalty?

Why will we succeed? The key methodological aspect is that we are creating a user-level longitudinal design at large scale so we can study the same unified IDs over time.  We are pre-matching survey panels, DMPs, and smart TV data to ensure we have a large enough pool of users to study over the course of a year. This allows us to compare the conversion curves over a longer period of time between brand favorables vs those who are neutral or negative and quantify the value of creating more brand favorables.

We are in the final stages of signing up leading publishers and marketers to fund and participate in this research but if your organization might like to participate as well, please contact me quickly. or

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3 Responses to “Rethinking how to build brands…beyond linear TV”

  1. Hi Joel,

    Very cool study for you and MMA. Best of luck on implementation and insights. We will all be looking forward to seeing what comes of this.


  2. Joel, this will be a groundbreaking study, so needed in today’s fragmented and fast-moving markets, to renew our understanding of how marketers can best use media and branding for profitable growth – today AND long term. Good luck heading up this important work!