Depth is more effective than reach

[ Taken from WARC ]

LONDON: Marketers prepared to look beyond the traditional reach approach can generate a greater return on investment using a depth strategy which creates greater and more sustainable impact by generating advocacy and driving repurchase.
These are the conclusions of Omaid Hiwaizi, chief strategy officer, UK at Geometry Global, and Dan White, chief marketing officer at Millward Brown Europe, who explain their findings in the current issue of Admap.

They have developed a mathematical equation to address the primary and secondary marketing effect of a brand activity and to understand the reach of each and their impact per channel: effect of activity = (Reach of activity × impact per encounter) + (Reach of advocacy generated × impact per encounter).

Inputting Millward Brown data revealed that, for a mainstream consumer brand with a target audience of 10m, a reach strategy yielded a 2.1% brand impact, while a depth strategy returned a figure of 2.6%.

They argued that such results challenged conventional wisdom around marketing communications approaches.

Depth strategies drive the effects of advocacy and brand video-sharing, but the authors conceded that much depended on the quality of the creative.

“Just 15% of word-of-mouth campaigns reach over 42% of the total audience, they noted. “Brand videos do have the opportunity to achieve significant reach, with the 15% most viewed videos achieving an average of 454,000 views.”

Red Bull is a striking example of a brand built through depth of engagement, with last year’s Red Bull Stratos event – where Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier with a freefall jump from 128,000 feet above the Earth – something that will continue to be talked about and distributed socially for a long time afterwards.

“By reimagining success in terms of brand impact, the spotlight shifts to the unquestionable power of great creative ideas in driving greater returns,” they write, while suggesting that there is an opportunity for agencies and brands to change their ways of working to increase the frequency of these ‘hit’ ideas which work across multiple channels.

“As broadcast media continues to fragment, this new standard will cease to be ‘nice to have’, and become mandatory for work to generate a return.”

How agencies can unlock the power of creative technology

Marketing solutions have been transformed through the application of creative technology. Previously confined to the more forward-thinking digital agencies, creative tech has crossed over into traditional and integrated agency structures. This transformation is reflected in award-winning work but also in the real world, where it enhances creative expression and provides smarter ways of applying data.

While this innovation is arguably what defines the future of brand engagement, there remain several barriers to its progression, most notably in the areas of talent, operations and finance.

Agencies and brands often lack the kind of talent capable of developing creative technology solutions – more specifically, people capable of building both code and electronics for prototypes. Agencies also need people who understand both digital strategy and creative idea generation. While this talent can be found in tech development or creative departments, it is often better to recruit from outside the industry and nurture good people.

Operational issues also hinder the impact of creative technology. The linear waterfall processes led by planners and art director/copywriter teams are a particular barrier. To produce the best work, it’s preferable to develop concepts through an iterative process with a diverse team, recognising that the big idea can often come from a utility or technology opportunity.

Finally, and most significantly, are the financial barriers. Agency output is usually financed through marketing campaign budgets and needs to pay back within a short timeframe. Agencies often heavily subsidise the work to persuade clients to back an idea. Instead, creative technology should be funded through capital expenditure with a robust business case, allowing for larger returns over a longer timeframe. The impact is increased even further if clients and agencies can use a model that consciously builds innovation into their ways of working.

To unlock these issues, and to help agencies and brands create the future of brand engagement, the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) is launching a new initiative around creative technology. This starts with our first event later in January. More details can be found on our website.