Allocate Your 2018 Marketing Budget for Greater ROI

In 2017, large businesses reported increases of over 50% to their media marketing budgets, according to a study by TargetMarketing. Now, brands are assessing the success of the past year’s allocations and making difficult decisions about how to generate greater returns in 2018.

They may also be shifting next year’s ad dollars even more than usual. Digital media spend is on the rise, but brands have already begun emphasizing high-quality experiences—both online and in stores—over ad volume in their budget allocations.

How can brands make sure they are putting quality over quantity and making the most of their annual marketing spend by learning from 2017 tech advancements. We explain three approaches brands can take to allocate their 2018 marketing budgets in ways that will bring about greater conversions and returns learning from and optimizing from 2017.

Integrate Campaigns into a Holistic Marketing Strategy

Sponsoring an event is often a go-to tactic for advertisers looking to raise brand awareness among huge crowds at sports games, festivals, and other events. But are brands that pour money into sponsorships making the most of their investment? A sports apparel brand can plaster its logo all over a stadium, but how do they know consumers are taking the message to heart?

Brands can strengthen the impact of their sponsorships by engaging with attendees on a personal level once they’ve gone home. First, brands can identify and keep track of audiences that were exposed to their ads with a geo-fence: they can identify unique device IDs based on 3G and 4G GPS data or Wi-Fi IP addresses within the event grounds. Then, with an integrated follow-up strategy, advertisers can capitalize on their association with positive emotions at an event by serving ads to these attendees after they’ve left.

But how, when, and where should they follow up? In order to engage consumers when they’re most likely to be receptive, advertisers should serve ads according to where they are and what they’re doing throughout the day. For example, the sports apparel brand can serve a banner ad to a man catching up on the news while walking to work. Later that evening when he’s second screening—watching a football game on TV while reading the highlights on his iPad—the brand can reach out with a 30-second video ad.

Creating “Phy-gital” Experiences

Brands invest a lot of money into ads designed to increase foot traffic. But once consumers have made it to the store, the job of the advertiser is far from over. By investing a few more dollars to enhance the customer experience or support consumers browsing merchandise, brands can significantly boost conversion rates.

Take the restaurant chain Chili’s as an example. It has adopted a new “digital curbside” initiative that relies on geofencing. A customer orders his meal online, and when he pulls into the parking lot, a Chili’s employee delivers the food to the car.

Thanks to beacon technology, brands can find out more than just when consumers drive into the parking lot; they can determine exactly when consumers walk into their stores and which aisles they’re shopping in—information that’s enabling advertisers to create captivating and personalized digital in-store experiences.

Nordstrom, for instance, is investing in new ways to merge the physical and digital worlds in their brick and mortar stores. The brand recently launched a new feature that enables customers to reserve apparel online and try it on in store. Nordstrom has also given shoppers the option of scanning products in-store and completing their purchases online. Similarly, Macy’s stores around the world are now equipped with beacon sensors that send push notifications to shoppers, telling them about new deals or helping them navigate their way through the store.

Seize the Moment

No matter how carefully marketers define their annual budgets, they are always likely to confront curveballs throughout the year. We recommend that brands reserve 10% of their budgets to be able to innovate and capitalize on unforeseen opportunities.

What’s the best way for brands to prepare for the unexpected? Investing in moment marketing provides one creative solution, enabling brands to respond to heightened interest around specific, often unanticipated, events. Using location data, brands can automatically tailor their ads to particular “moments” such as changes in the weather, significant local incidents, or when key words are trending on social media.

The yogurt brand Dannon, for instance, used moment marketing to reach out to consumers during “bad day moments.” When it was raining or when consumers were caught in transit delays, the brand delivered location-powered ads designed to bring some humor and levity to the situation. The ads turned out to be some of the most creative and engaging all year, resulting in a 218% increase in brand mentions.

Brands can strengthen their moment marketing campaigns and reach hyper-targeted audiences at scale by coupling location data with insights from other third-party data providers. For example, Dannon could harness insights into consumer purchase histories to target only those who have purchased yogurt in the past. That way, advertisers will see higher conversation rates with less wasted spend.

When brands give themselves ample creative and financial legroom, they’ll be not only reactive but also proactive when responding to surprising events and opportunities.

To guarantee maximum returns on their investments, advertisers will need to prepare their 2018 budgets in ways that prioritize customer interaction and integrate their campaigns into a coherent marketing strategy. All the while, they can ensure they’re making the most of their marketing dollars by measuring impact throughout the new year.

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