It’s time to challenge the narrow view of performance that is now holding back a lot of brands from achieving their full growth potential. Performance isn’t limited to granular channel KPIs and ROAS windows; it should be a tool that helps us understand the impact marketing is having on your business as a whole.
If you’re too focused on KPIs and ROI without taking the bigger picture into account, you may be setting your business up for short-term success, but you’re also undermining your brand’s long-term prospects.
Don’t get us wrong: we are a performance marketing agency. There’s nothing we love more than conversions, revenue, and ROAS. But we need to redefine performance marketing to focus on overall business impact, not just bottom-funnel metrics.
That’s why we decided to bring together some of our favorite marketing leaders to solve for a new kind of performance equation. Learn how Google’s Chief Measurement Strategist Neil Hoyne, Meta’s Head of Agency Jeff Sikaitis, and Wpromote’s own VP of Strategy & Planning Claire Perez are changing the performance game—and why their insights will help your business.
Make the case for long-term growth to finance by prioritizing lifetime value
If your growth obsession is based on acquiring low-value customers, that’s a bad model in the long term. You need a better understanding of which customers have a higher lifetime value to figure out where you’re willing to spend more money because you get a better long-term return.
In the early days of a business, quantity is often king because acquisition is everything. But as your business matures, so should your growth strategy. Knowing exactly who your highest-value customers are, what they want, and how they’re interacting with your brand should be your top priority.
“We often talk about lifetime value from the marketing side. Who are the most valuable customers, the least valuable customers? But to the CFO it represents something different: How valuable are our customers as an asset? In this new paradigm, the challenge for marketers is figuring out how much we can grow the value of that asset.”
According to Google’s Neil Hoyne, you need to be ready to translate lifetime value into terms finance can understand to make the case for investment. Because your company has already had some level of success, it can be very difficult to make the case for doing something different.
Instead, Hoyne recommends a diplomatic approach that gives the business time to adjust by including lifetime value in your reporting and metrics without making people accountable to an unfamiliar metric immediately. If you don’t give your organization time to adjust, the onslaught of changes could end up harming more than helping.
“People won’t get as defensive. When the data is available to them and they’re looking at their campaign performance, you can take a softer approach: ‘Look, this was really great at driving some short-term results, but none of these customers are coming back.’ They start to ask questions, they look at the new data, and the organization moves.”
Start by making the data available as part of your reporting, then make sure that each of your touchpoints, not just the conversion point, is set up for performance success.
Access to those lifetime value insights should make the change intuitive. If your leadership is still resistant after they’ve gotten the chance to get comfortable with the data, it might be time to evaluate whether it’s the right fit for you, because what they’re really doing is refusing to grow.
Get comfortable with less granular data by thinking holistically
Speaking of data, too many marketers are panicking in the face of ever-growing privacy restrictions, from platform changes to future legislation. Hoyne points out that there’s a simple way to look at the challenge because digital marketing is defined by the auction: let’s call it The Bear Rule of Marketing.
Because the bear of data deprecation is coming after everyone, including your competitors, you shouldn’t waste your time desperately trying to claw back the data you used to have. Nobody has it anymore! You don’t need to outrun the bear, just win the auction against the other guy.
Wpromote’s VP of Strategy & Planning Claire Perez cautioned against the danger of getting too caught up in understanding every nuance of privacy changes, particularly as they continue to roll out at a relentless pace. Instead, keep it simple and focus on what you know instead of obsessing over what you’ve lost.
“Instead of wasting time trying to reverse engineer what’s happening in the black box of data privacy, define and understand your marketing inputs and outputs. Then you can come up with a hypothesis for what’s happening in the middle, test against it, and come up with a more defined conclusion. Getting comfortable with that now will future proof the way you evaluate your marketing.”
The speed of these changes means that if you don’t get comfortable with this new normal now, you’re going to find yourself way behind very quickly. That black box is only getting more opaque, so a strong testing strategy is essential to understanding how your marketing inputs influence the outputs without getting caught up in understanding every single thing that’s happening in the middle.
Once you’ve established some conclusions, you can start to scale those new best practices and they become your new best practices and benchmarks for the future. The best part of this approach is that it sets you up for success for changes beyond data privacy, whether that’s the metaverse or whatever is coming next after that; it provides a framework for agile growth no matter what variables are shifting.
Diversify your creative approach to unlock more opportunities for growth
When it comes to the inputs Perez pointed to as essential components to futureproofing your marketing, there are a near infinite number of levers marketers have access to that can impact campaign performance. But one of the most important, according to Jeff Sikaitis, Meta’s Director, Head of Agency, is your creative.
Sikaitis takes an expansive view of creative. He’s not just referring to the images or motion graphics or video you’re using for a particular campaign, he’s talking about the development of a whole universe of potential assets and the rigorous testing required to understand how to deploy them effectively in pursuit of your business goals.
“Right now creative is one of the biggest opportunities to drive performance. When we think about creative, we need to think about creative diversification: not just a single asset that we’re putting out across channels, but testing new formats, personalities, tones, different types of assets, and ways to avoid creative fatigue.”
Testing is a crucial component of all three of our experts’ recommendations, and highlights the need to continue to push the envelope and innovate as part of your redefined performance agenda. It’s not enough to do what you already know how to do. You’ll get left behind.
Making the case to prioritize your highest-value customers, discovering connections between your marketing inputs and outputs despite data restrictions, finding new shapes and forms our brand narratives and ads can take can take… these are all essential to accelerating business growth in today’s marketing world.