Brand Performance and Marketing 2022

09.07.22 | By Jess Hatzis-Walker | branding

Where to from here? Building a brand in a post cookie world.

How to allocate spend and resources for your brand.

If you're a marketer that exists on planet earth, you've probably spent the last few months - and the last few weeks in particular - asking yourself what your priorities should be for the second half of 2022.

In a post cookie world, where the full extent of COVID is finally impacting at a brand level through supply chain issues, inflation and rising CACs, it's natural to feel nervous. The age old question still stands: what will get the best result?

The one-dollar-in-five-dollars-out machine no longer works, with many brands experiencing negative ROAS across performance channels for the first time. Coupled with the rising costs of influencer activity and freight costs that have risen by 3X - further eating into the bottom line - it's the marketers job to ensure fiscal responsibility now more so than ever.

With budgets that have likely been reduced and increasing costs of just about everything - how do you grow a brand through an impending recession? If you don't know, outside of my role as founder of Willow & Blake, I am also the co-founder and CMO of skincare brand, frank body. We've grown from a $5000 investment to a $100m+ brand and we've traversed the ups and downs of building a business for the last decade. Here are some thought starters as to how I am approaching marketing for the second half of 2022.

Start at the end
In a world of endless data it's easy to be overwhelmed and it results in us consuming numbers without taking action. My tip is to start at the end: look at the very last point of your customer interaction. Their cart is full, their wallets are out and then all of a sudden - they're gone. It would be like disappearing into thin air midway through your physical checkout at the supermarket. Focus on your abandoned cart rate and experiment with how to improve it. It's a lot cheaper than trying to acquire new customers right now. Web Analytics founder, Avinash Kaushik, is full of great ideas like this.

Focus on brand & top of funnel 
You can't force someone to shop. You can win them over and put yourself in their consideration set for future purchases through great creative. This is an exciting time for marketers: think great messaging, partnerships, and the ever elusive V word - viral moments. It's time to put the unthinkable, the unfathomable and the usually undoable on the nap, challenging ourselves, our teams and our agency partners to come up with low cost ideas that deliver great return across PR and social. It's the perfect time to be taking a brand first approach, ensuring that when the economy does stabilise, you are ready to take advantage: update your tone of voice, refresh your website, create a memorable campaign that will ultimately aid CRV and ROAS. We're particularly good at this at Willow & Blake, if you want an agency partner.

Reduce performance marketing spend
Speaking of ROAS, if yours fell off a cliff recently, you're not alone. The changing privacy landscape, coupled with the dual effect of decreased supply and increased demand has driven CAC up to new heights. Between ad blockers of which 35% of people are estimated to use, Apple’s iOS14.5 changes undermining Facebook in particular, Google no longer supporting 3rd party cookies and the potential GDPR style legislation slated for Australia I am taking a drastically different approach to all things performance marketing. Due to our restrained ability to create unique customer profiles, I have wound back growth focused spend across channels that have a ROAS of less than 1 and for any remaining spends I am ensuring I measure both last click and assisted conversions to validate my decisions. I'm using this as an opportunity to double down on SEM, SEO and all owned content. It doesn't mean these channels aren't important, it means they work differently to the way they have historically, so your approach needs to change.

Keep measuring effectiveness
This is not the time to rely on fluffy metrics, and personally I don't care for them. Creative solutions should also be backed by data: both through the measurement of short term metrics (very easy in the DTC world) and long term brand saliency and key metrics such as LTV. You're going to need the CFO on side for the foreseeable future and they respond well to numbers. I am a big fan of custom attribution models to help tell a clear story about the role creative and brand play in the funnel. I also love qualitative data at a time like this: what's the consumer sentiment? Use this as an opportunity to connect with your customer through IRL events and surveys. These don't need to be expensive: host your top and bottom spenders in your office and learn directly how and why they do or don't engage with you.

Question everything
That is the mandate to my team. Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean you should keep doing it. We're living in an entirely new world, on the precipice of an entirely new way of building and marketing brands, which means a new way of thinking should be embraced. Cut out superfluous activity and nice-to-have spends. Get your hands dirty.

Have fun and lead with energy
This is a scary and uncertain time for teams; they need their leaders to show up honestly and with passion for solving the problems ahead. Some team members may need to be redeployed to other areas of the business as strategies change which is an incredible resume building exercise, so do this collaboratively with them and get everyone in your organisation on board with the changes ahead.

If you're looking for assistance with your brand, get in touch. We'd love to help.

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