The question at hand: can agencies drive commercial growth for brands?
Have you ever been in a situation when you couldn’t explain to a set of people (outside your advertising/marketing circle) what it is that you do in your job?
Worry not, for many of us are in that very same boat. Everyone understands (or pretends) some part of what we do in whatever mental picture they can create while you explain your job. I bet everyone agrees on the power of marketing. But how would you do when you had to explain what tangible business impact it makes?
Businesses exist to make a profit. By the same logic – a marketing or advertising agency needs to add value which in turn helps the business to grow year on year (and quarter on quarter). Being in an agency for a long time, one would realize that our primary focus is an output like a film or KV or branding, a media plan, a platform, a content engine, and so forth.
As you start focussing on your commercial goals, you will start increasing your perceived value in eyes of the clients. Remember, creativity is not constrained to the creative department, commercial planning is full of creative thinkers too.
That is great, but it is crucial to keep your eye on the bull’s eye – is it going to help achieve a real commercial goal?
While most consumer packaged goods companies view marketing as a growth engine, many companies tend to see it as a cost center. Even CPG companies hardly perceive agencies to be growth drivers, they tend to see them as providers of a service or an output that broadly can be put under creativity or executing an actual media plan.
The question we are discussing is not new, there is a lot of evidence and arguments on marketing effectiveness. In fact, some of the best cases are marked by “creative thinking”, which a marketer inside a company would have never thought of and it unleashed an arrow hitting the bull’s eye on business goals.
Let us focus on how agencies can drive commercial growth for the next part of this article.
The Growth Goals:
The first and foremost question to be asked is very straightforward. Is the brief about new customer acquisition, increasing share of wallet via cross-sell and upsell, increasing frequency of purchase or driving premiumization?
Bring in Experience Design Thinking:
While traditional brand and communication planning is great, bringing in experience design thinking approach can do wonders. With deep empathy mapping for end customers, detailed customer journeys, and reframing of the problem in hand – the teams can generate scores of ideas that will give potential ways to hit the underlying business goal.
Advertising is not a Film:
The actual solution is usually complex. You must keep in mind the budget and the entire ecosystem at play. While a film is great for broader reach, and to have storytelling to build emotional response – it is not the end of it.
Today we live in the experience era – customers seek a best-in-class experience that helps them build responsiveness towards a brand and interaction further takes them toward the final purchase.
Be creative and make video content but think of Video Commerce or Live-streaming commerce.
Creative at heart, Number in the Head:
The teams today need to be informed by data through performance of the campaign, and not hesitate to make tweaks when necessary. You can be super creative with data and numbers, and it can force you to extract insights which make the campaign better at achieving its goal.
Close the Loop:
A million views is good, and brand lift is great – but do not shy away from closing the loop for your customer. Today the line between top of the funnel and bottom-funnel is disappearing. Always have a seamless experience for your customers which allows them to complete a sale if they wish to.
The views expressed in this article are personal, and not necessarily those of the author’s employer.