How many page views did we get last week? What was our view-through rate on that pre-roll spot? What’s our PPC conversion this month? How much has revenue increased this quarter?

We have a lot of ways to quantify marketing success. And, partly because of that, we’ve all become addicted to the quick fix. We want results and we want them now. As a result, many allow Marking Return On Investment (MROI) to dominate planning and strategy sessions.  

Ad spending supports that. A recent study conducted by Enders Analysis found that brands, which until recently focused 60% of budgets to branding initiatives and 40% to activation, are now devoting 50% equally to both activation and branding.

In one way, it makes sense. After all, when compared to branding initiatives, activation campaigns are easier to execute and quantify. David Golding, co-founder of Adam & Eve/DDB, put it this way: “It’s far more tempting to stick to smaller, short-term target executions with quick returns and limited risk.”

Short-term gains, however, can come at the expense of long-term success. Douglas McCabe, chief executive of Enders Analytics, agrees. “Direct-advertising alone won’t allow brands to retain market share,” he suggests. In other words, that short-term measurable may not always add up.

Perhaps no industry is more predisposed to succumb to the allure of short-term success than the automotive industry. You’ve heard the radio spots and seen the commercials. A lot of yelling and an emphasis on price above anything else. It’s a world driven by monthly sales goals. So it’s little wonder that many dealerships and service centers focus strictly on activation tactics. They’re concerned almost entirely with those questions that began this piece. Their brand is simply their latest offer. And that’s not sustainable.

While focusing on sales activation is important, the automotive sector would be wise to balance that effort with their branding efforts. Branding lays the foundation for all of your other marketing initiatives. It’s who you truly are. It’s how you differentiate yourself from the competition — something price rarely does. And it goes a long way toward boosting your NPS and, in turn, your long-term profitability.

Lindsay Pattinson, global chief executive of Maxus, advises that we all stop “follow[ing] the magic fairy dust of Google and Facebook . . . [and better] understand the long-term goals of branding.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


Sources: Campaign LiveEnders Analysis

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