Go Beyond Transactions, Build Brand Traction

Posted in Search & Social

Once you have a brand that expresses your vision and experience, the work has just begun. Across paid, earned, and owned media channels, you’ll need to hone your best approach to growing brand awareness, prospecting new audiences, and acquiring or retaining your ideal customers. This can be a tall order with countless moving parts. So how do you ensure your approach is up to the task?

The key is to think beyond purely transactional marketing into something we like to call “brand traction.” Brand traction plays out in the real world in four key ways:

  1. Builds an increasingly efficient omni-channel system
  2. Inspires meaningful, measurable customer actions
  3. Values customer relationships at every stage
  4. Builds on and from the core brand vision

Pressure often accompanies paid media programs, but your tactics should address more than numeric concerns. The secret sauce is equal parts driving numbers and the value behind the numbers; more transactions and clicks may not mean more ROI. It’s more than possible to drive quarterly sales, launch products, or deploy marketing tactics to ramp up metrics in the present while also building toward long-term brand health.

To get there, keep four important considerations top of mind:

  • Invest in an earned and owned foundation. Building an increasingly efficient engine means thinking short term and long term. In the mix of paid, earned, and owned media, it’s important to build a baseline of earned and owned tactics that pays dividends over time without needing to always “buy” transactions via paid media. For instance, owned tactics like SEO, website optimization, and organic social are intended as slower and steadier tactics that grow over time like an annuity. They may require investment in content generation and other engagement tactics with the goal of deepening customer relationships as well as enticing new ones.

  • Understand the difference between converting a transaction versus acquiring a customer. There’s a substantial value difference between acquiring a new customer versus driving a transaction. Often marketing partners will recommend emphasizing branded terms and searches in the marketing mix, and while that’s a useful approach for some organic or “earned” media, in paid media it often means you are paying for transactions that you may have naturally acquired through your organic efforts.

  • Adopt a lifecycle and lifetime value mindset. Maintain an emphasis on what happens after the initial sale with investments in email programs, owned media (like digital destinations), and social engagement. These are the elements that help companies own customer relationships and grow into their organic ecosystem, rather than always depending on bought transactions from paid media channels.

  • Always build up the brand. There’s no reason that marketing with short-term results in mind can’t support long-term brand health. While your goal is to drive calls-to-action, remember to “make a deposit” in your bank of brand equity. Through this lens, the brand vision is what continues to drive and inspire your performance portfolio in its entirety.

A few case studies speak to the benefit of putting paid, earned, owned brand traction in action across a variety of industries:

  • For Symantec’s Norton, establishing a series of specialized owned and earned content marketing platforms helped supplement paid media and OEM channels, and earned top rank on key search terms like “Mobile Security.”

  • For Mumm Napa, an integrated email, social, and blog program drove direct-to-consumer commerce and increased celebratory purchases and use occasions.

  • For The Estate Yountville, migrating marketing and operations to an in-house team required a refreshed paid media program to drive new customers, resulting in a +200% increase in wedding bookings and a +125% increase in overall web transactions.

  • For Beacon Grand, the debut of an all new brand name necessitated a switch to more compelling campaign creative around key stay occasions, and drove the single highest revenue month for social campaigns in the history of the hotel, resulting in a +500% increase in monthly average bookings.

  • For Canyon Ranch, an increasingly competitive wellness landscape spurred a marketing transformation across brand strategy, digital experience, and digital marketing, resulting in an 84% increase in annual organic revenue and a 58% increase in YoY revenue.

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