For any business trying to promote itself in this day and age it can seem a daunting prospect. Unless there is an eight figure annual marketing budget to hand, the struggle to make not only sufficient noise but the right noise in the right place can often feel like an insurmountable challenge.
Every pound spent must be justified, but in a world with multiple touchpoints, ever-evolving audience behaviour and newer, faster, more original rivals hitting the scene all the time, being confident they are pursuing the best route is the bugbear of many a marketing director.
So, what can brand managers do to ensure they are giving themselves the best shot at cost-effective fame and getting on the radar of their target audience?
The answer, as ever, lies in the data. While that might seem obvious let me expand: while data holds the key to success, it is less about having access to or understanding the data (for many have the former but not the latter) and more a case of knowing what to do with the information the numbers are telling you.
Powerful creative is a must. Choosing the most impactful messaging is essential. And reaching the target audience through clever use of media channels is essential. But a perfectly planned ad campaign on launch day is a very different beast to a campaign that is a week, two weeks or a month in. The biggest mistake a marketer can make is setting a brilliant ad campaign on the world and then thinking their job is done.
Content optimisation is perhaps one of the most underrated concepts in any marketers' arsenal. Marrying creative and data so that they work in unison is the secret to solving many brand challenges. The most effective media agencies will access the very best and latest performance data of their clients' campaigns and conduct what is known as dynamic creative optimisation (DCO).
Adapting copy in response to the customer journey, campaign performance, data signals or even topical events, ensures it remains current, relevant and impactful and will drive more success and, crucially, a greater ROI.
Take, for instance, an ad that is shown initially to an enriched targeted audience via digital video. The agency or brand must identify which users have visited the brand site via content hubs - from clicks, SEO and tactical PPC - and optimise all content relevant to the individual user journey.
The value of first party data is increasing all the time as we head towards a cookieless future, and brands should already be working with their agency partners to use this first party data to build profiles and audience lists for the purposes of targeting and digital activation. This will ensure a seamless transfer into a cookie-free digital ad experience with minimal, to no, negative performance impact.
Another key part of campaign optimisation is connecting journeys across devices. Ensuring your campaign is working as a single unit across all touchpoints will guarantee a smoother journey and minimise any chance of causing friction with repeat messages, inconsistencies and what could be seen as an unwelcome bombardment of your ad.
Ensuring campaigns are ultra-targeted, whether that's using web, native, video, in-app or audio, with complementary content that maximises reach is key to building a brand and delivering effective KPIs and ROI.
The digitisation of more and more mainstream media means this does not need to be a complex task: audio is now largely digital, be it in the form of streaming music services, podcasts or DAB radio, while OOH now has a significant digital footprint which can be very effectively paired with both mobile and audio for a fully integrated campaign.
Examining the data that all these touchpoints return means there are scores of combinations of media available for any campaign, ready to be activated or upweighted at the click of a button for optimal reach and impact.
Data is a gift to modern marketers and today should sit at the heart of everything marketers do. Using data and behavioural insights to continually optimise a campaign's channel mix and content delivery throughout the customer journey is the best way for a brand of any size to mitigate against the risk of their brand message being lost among the noise of modern marketing while ensuring they are building a foundation for long term growth.