Please turn your mobile phone to portrait mode for optimal navigation on our site.
Please turn your tablet to landscape mode for optimal navigation on our site.

  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Loyalty
  • Article

Marketing performance must combine the short and the long term

Overcoming the opposition between performance marketing and brand marketing is necessary to design a global approach to marketing performance, reconciling short- and long-term performance.

Opposing the short and the long term is a commonplace in marketing.

On the one hand, performance marketing is focused on measuring KPIs (traffic, acquisition, conversion, CAC, ROAS, etc.) that are now accessible almost in real time, with increasing depth. While absolutely necessary for performance marketing success, focusing only on these KPIs is still a short-term view.

On the other hand, long-term marketing, “branding”, which aims to build a strong, coherent brand over time, and is based on a more strategic vision: positioning the brand, making it attractive to its target.

These two camps are often opposed. And yet, it is clear that combining the two approaches is not only opportune: it is vital. Real performance is measured in the long term, but short-term management gives more reactivity.

It is time to design an approach reconciling the two temporal dimensions of performance, in order to support marketing departments in the creation of value and return on investment over time.

Aim for long-term performance

Marketing departments are often judged on short-term KPIs, sometimes for lack of anything better, and often by inability to give themselves time, in the face of strong economic pressure.

But real marketing performance takes time to settle in, and to be measured. It is about the value generated for the brand and for the company thanks to marketing levers.

This value is not just about measurable short-term sales. It is essential to focus on customer loyalty. A company is all the stronger when it knows how to build loyalty. However, by definition, loyalty requires time to be tested and measured. Loyalty is based on the customer experience, the quality of the customer relationship, the brand’s promise of value in exchange for this loyalty… Unlike promotional operations, loyalty is therefore a question to be considered over the long term.

Certain marketing effects whose value is not directly economic must also be taken into account: strength of the brand and its products (notoriety, attractiveness), knowledge of the market, first-party data collected, audience captured, etc. Do not take take these strengths into account and focus on sales would be a mistake. The performance measurement system must therefore make it possible to assign a value to these “assets”: the complete return on investment (R.O.I.) must ideally integrate the economic component and this “indirect” component.

Photo of the freefall jump from the stratosphere by Felix Baumgartner, organized by the Red Bull group. How to understand Red Bull’s marketing strategy if we do not take into account the “long time”?


Optimize performance continuously… and over time

The continuous management of KPIs makes it possible to optimize the levers

If the measurement of marketing performance must be considered over time, there is no question of abandoning the management of KPIs in the short term.

In fact, we must see short-term management as a means of optimizing the levers put in place, and of testing and increasing the performance of these levers. These indicators should not lead to changing the strategic framework, but to optimizing performance as much as possible within this framework.

Today, almost any marketing device, whatever its nature, can and must be driven with KPIs as continuously as possible. Digital technology makes this monitoring possible. When it comes to measuring the performance of a search marketing strategy, the contribution of different channels to traffic acquisition or even measuring conversions at different stages of a customer journey, this is obvious. When it comes to managing the performance of a TV advertising campaign or the traffic generated at a physical point of sale, it is a little less so… although more and more tools allow it (with solutions like Connect+ , which we mentioned in this article, for TV, or Track In The Shop to measure the traffic generated at the point of sale).

This continuous piloting does not make it possible to measure an R.O.I. complete, nor even to take into account the “non-economic” value, but it makes it possible to test and optimize devices by being reactive.

The measurement of the R.O.I. takes time

Thus, the continuous management of KPIs is important, and makes it possible to optimize marketing levers, whether it is acquisition or brand activation.

However, this short-term steering only allows for adjustments. To measure performance in terms of return on investment, long time is required. And this for at least three reasons.

Performance takes time to settle in. Take the example of search: for a brand to be effective in search marketing, it must not only design an effective plan in paid (SEA), but also in organic (SEO). If the first is a short-term lever, since it is a question of paying for its visibility, organic referencing requires substantive work: definition of the lexical territory, production of content over time, and progression in the results at the rate of Google’s algorithm… The brand’s natural referencing optimization efforts then benefit its paid referencing, which costs less.
Another example: for a brand to collect qualitative data on its customers, creating a loyalty program with a strong promise will be more effective than creating occasional contests.

The performance uplift measurement methodology assumes giving time for the effects to be generated and for its results to be statistically significant. It is advisable to adopt a rigorous protocol, with, for example, a performance measurement before and after the phase of use of the new lever tested, or even to define non-exposed control groups.

Measuring the return on investment (R.O.I.) requires creating a model integrating all the costs associated with the marketing lever implemented, and all the revenues, which are sometimes indirect. Due to the complexity of its calculation method, the R.O.I. cannot be tracked like a traditional KPI, and usually requires data work to update.

The performance of one-off activation actions increases thanks to the work of “branding”

A company that only invests in sales activation operations, focused on short-term business performance, cannot build a strong brand over time. As a result, the impact of these operations cannot grow beyond a certain limit, which will be determined by the economic effort on these operations.

To generate growth and amplify this impact, the company must strengthen its brand, and therefore work on the “branding” over time. The impact of sales activation operations will be progressively stronger and will contribute, in a more sustainable way, to an increase in the economic performance of sales activation actions. Indeed, between 2 competing brands that generate lead generation, the consumer will often choose the one he knows and therefore reassures him.


Source : Dr Grace Kite, Tom Roach


Beyond the pure work on the brand, the long-term marketing effort can contribute to the impact of activation operations in other ways:

  • more effective targeting (thanks to in-depth work on knowing the target)
  • better chosen communication channels
  • promotional messages that better reflect the positioning of the brand and the expectations of its targets

Reconciling creative intuition and marketing data

This dichotomy between branding and performance marketing, or between long-term performance and short-term performance, can also result in an opposition between the creative forces and the data-driven logic of marketing.

Even if it may seem simplistic, there is a very marked distinction today between:

creatives and strategists who are more interested in “top of the funnel” marketing, i.e. communication actions to strengthen the brand to generate visibility and attractiveness, and for whom intuition and the ability to “disrupt” (create a break with what is generally done and considered the norm) are often essential
data marketing experts, more interested in acquisition and conversion mechanisms using data, and for whom performance objectified by data is the main justice of the peace

For truly successful marketing, this opposition must be overcome and these forces must combine.

Effectively combining creative intuition and fine understanding of data increases performance at all levels. Creative work is guided by an in-depth analysis of target data, the market, the performance of levers, and data-driven levers open new doors to creative inspiration. Conversely, data-driven marketing devices will never have the same impact as when they incorporate a creative touch, consistency with the brand.


These publications You may also be interested in