DECISION INTELLIGENCE 101
November 16, 2022 at 5:00 am ET
In today’s digital age, brands face more pressure than ever before to demonstrate quantifiable return on investment from advertising efforts. Budget cuts, budget plateaus and mounting expectations of shareholders combine to create a challenging reality for brands as they try to appear omnipresent and favorable in the channels and spaces their target audiences occupy. To make matters more dire, brands face an additional uphill battle knowing that, despite their best calculated efforts, between 50 and 75% of advertising spend falls flat by proving ineffective or going unnoticed. With the goal of converting consumers not only into customers but also enduring brand loyalists, marketing campaigns are expected to do some heavy lifting for brands.
That’s why the dawn of Decision Intelligence is such a promising opportunity for brands to improve their marketing campaign performance through thoughtful campaign effectiveness analysis.
What is marketing effectiveness?
It’s important to level set as to what constitutes marketing effectiveness in 2022 across funnel metrics, key performance indicators and brand objectives, which are common barometers for gauging success for brands and their marketing departments. Simply put, marketing effectiveness is the measure to what extent a brand’s marketing efforts achieve brand objectives and generate revenue.
Perhaps a brand is looking to introduce an all-new product geared towards an audience outside of its current customer base, such as U.S. Millennials. In this example, a go-to-market strategy that generates awareness for over 50% of the U.S. millennial population could be considered effective.
What is marketing efficiency?
Determining marketing effectiveness when a campaign concludes is commonplace in marketing today. However, these analyses are somewhat limited by being retrospective in nature, and that they are only part of the evaluation. They are useful in determining how effective advertising campaigns are at driving brand outcomes, but marketers must also consider how efficient said advertising efforts are in creating branded memories. Marketing efficiency is the measure of how effective an advertising effort is at creating branded memories. This means the ad creative was impactful enough to enter a consumer’s already-crowded memory. In other words, will the brand readily come to mind when a consumer is faced with decision-making?
This portion of the “effectiveness equation” is integral to the modern approach toward campaign performance, which plays out in both the targeting and segmenting of a brand’s marketing strategy. Successful brands achieve both marketing effectiveness and efficiency in simultaneous fashion — so how is this accomplished?
Accurately identify your target audiences
Targeting, or aligning a brand’s marketing strategy and objectives to particular audiences, is not a novel component of marketing campaigns. Yet today’s digital reality offers new, deeper capabilities, leveraging demographics and psychographics to build an even more granular understanding of target audiences. To reference a popular example of today, Gen Z is a generational cohort garnering much attention from brands as marketers try to establish an intimate understanding of this influential segment, one that will only grow in purchasing power. Truly targeting this group requires much more than an age breakout, but rather uncovering the unique behaviors, attitudes and lifestyle elements that set them apart.
With this information, brands can devise marketing campaigns that establish much more than awareness. (Only focusing on awareness fails to ensure that advertising efforts will leave a lasting impression that drives future sales or even coveted brand loyalty.) This more elusive goal is known as establishing mental availability, which is the cognitive ability of consumers to refer to brands readily within their minds when faced with decision-making.
Tailoring marketing campaigns to target audiences
With a target audience in mind, the next vital step in pursuing campaign effectiveness is tailoring. Tailoring as part of an overall marketing strategy involves aligning campaign elements specifically to the needs, wants, desires and expectations of the target.
Choosing the right marketing channels
Tailoring requires a firm understanding of the key audience so that you can reach these customers where they already are — essentially, utilizing the marketing channels that parallel their habits and lifestyle.
Let’s presume one of the largest U.S. airlines is looking to gain market share of first- and business-class travelers with an improved premium seat offering. To reach this audience where they already are, perhaps advertising on a digital platform such as LinkedIn to a specific business audience that is most likely to fly premium or above, such as C-suite executives, would yield the type of results the airline in question seeks. The right channel can get you that much closer to the right audience, which is key to achieving the desired campaign performance.
Crafting messaging that resonates with your target audience
Just as important as knowing where to reach target audiences is crafting messaging that will resonate with them. However, this resonance has to go far beyond language or relatability to garner initial impressions. It must be stored in consumers’ minds to create strong brand associations and lasting memories that will be recalled in a time of need. Brands can build memories via two different avenues: by crafting functional messages that ladder up to general impressions about the brand, or by creating broader, emotional brand associations.
By identifying the appropriate channels and messaging, tailoring is an integral part of marketing strategy that can improve campaign performance. This is why advertising remains one of the primary vehicles for brands to drive lasting impact.
Monitor marketing campaign effectiveness and improve efficiency with Decision Intelligence
The advent of Decision Intelligence as a discipline allows brands to build a foundational understanding of how consumers make purchase decisions and the specific role that advertising plays in that process. Rooted in contemporary thinking and designed for tomorrow’s decision-making, this approach helps minimize any guesswork within campaign design and deployment.
How Decision Intelligence can improve marketing ROI
How does it work? At Morning Consult, Decision Intelligence provides the necessary scale, speed, flexibility and context in which to test campaign elements to then either course-correct or optimize based on the campaign stage. With Decision Intelligence, brands can apply real-time learnings and insights to enhance their targeting, tailoring and messaging — and drive campaign performance.
With targeting, campaigns can be tested with multiple audiences, and, if one outperforms, media efforts can be shifted to reach targets more efficiently. With tailoring and messaging, testing hypotheses in real time can held brands pause and strategize using questions like:
- Does the advertising garner attention?
- Does it refresh or build memories?
- Does it make the brand easy to choose?
- Does it drive a call to action?
With this Decision Intelligence framework, marketers can optimize ad campaigns before launch or in real time, increasing the likelihood of generating the desired return on investment (ROI). Once individual campaigns are executed and results begin to materialize, marketers and the brands they manage can turn toward analyzing more macro-level brand metrics to monitor overall brand health over time. Decision Intelligence can also be applied at these stages as well, contributing a unique perspective to a brand’s research on how consumers perceive, use, and engage with their brand. To learn more, check out our perspective on A Guide to Brand Tracking.
Let’s schedule a conversation.
Determining the return on investment and gauging the overall effectiveness of advertising is a tricky, complex endeavor that all brands face. As marketing budgets continue to fluctuate, and brands battle other business uncertainties that impact their bottom lines, prioritizing a thoughtful campaign effectiveness analysis with a Decision Intelligence lens will only grow in importance.
Care to learn more about better determining the effectiveness of your campaigns? Let’s discuss how we can drive advertising success for your brand.