in 2023, CMOs worldwide expect to spend 9.1% of company revenues on marketing compared with 9.5% in 2022, and down from 12.1% in 2016, according to data from Gartner.
With decreased budgets, the need for immediate results has led too many marketers down a path that prioritizes only performance media tactics over brand-building tactics and campaigns. This is often short-sighted and favors a buy-now message that does not develop a meaningful emotional connection with the consumer.
According to Morning Consult, 77% of Gen Z consumers are willing to try new brands in most categories, the highest share of any generation. But in an environment where there are plenty of choices, consumers must be repeatedly told why they should shop a brand.
So, how do brands remain top of mind, move fast enough to keep pace with consumers’ shifting expectations, and stay true to what made them beloved in the first place? It starts with a solid foundation.
Prioritize brand tactics within your budget. Due to flat or decreased marketing budgets, you’ll need to shift where and how your marketing budget is spent. You should have a portion allocated to awareness tactics. These efforts should integrate paid media, events, public relations, and partnerships, and may flex into one area over another based on your brand's priorities.
While you may optimize awareness campaigns based on media metrics such as reach and engagement, it is important to evaluate as part of your marketing reporting KPIs that are tied more closely to business outcomes. Try assessing CAC:LTV ratio, paid vs. organic traffic mix over time, and social sentiment.
Develop a data framework. Consumer behavior is changing at lightning speed, and we recommend looking holistically at your customer data framework at a minimum every six months to stay relevant. When planning a brand campaign, ground yourself in your existing customer data and the ideal future customer profile. Once you have clear audience segmentation, you will be able to guide future decisions on where to invest and what to message to each respective customer segment.
Prioritize customer values. With a clear
understanding of your customer at the center of decision-making, develop content that communicates your brand’s value proposition and ties to your customer’s values. It sounds simple, but
it’s not. We often see brands skipping over this critical step in developing a solid brand awareness strategy.
Test, learn, iterate, and RE-INVEST. Brand awareness campaigns are not silver bullets -- but with an aligned group of stakeholders and the ability to assess performance, evolution is possible. Think of your brand awareness strategy as “always on,” with key campaigns activated throughout the year.
If one doesn’t succeed, forge ahead with a deeper understanding and ability to pivot strategy. We often see brands reallocate these funds for ROAS-driven marketing campaigns. Each time you stop, the work gets harder as your brand loses momentum. Be transparent with the results and keep going.
Igniting meaningful growth for brands in today’s crowded marketplace requires consistently communicating your brand value proposition to consumers. It demands a re-prioritization of marketing budgets to brand awareness tactics and campaigns, which should be rooted in deep customer understanding, communicate a clear value proposition, and be evaluated rigorously to drive future optimization.