14 Challenges Brands Must Meet To See A Strong ROI On Super Bowl Ads In 2023

Question: What Is One Of The 14 Challenges Brands Must Meet To See A Strong ROI On Super Bowl Ads In 2023?
Answer: Keeping Brand Messaging Light.

“For the upcoming Super Bowl, keep brand messages light, and don’t use it as an opportunity to interject opinions on global issues. Maintain messaging around how the brand is going to improve your consumer’s life, and, of course, do it in a way that will create social media buzz and a sharable moment.”
Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

For the full article go to “14 Challenges Brands Must Meet To See A Strong ROI On Super Bowl Ads In 2023” at Forbes.

The Great Consumer Reset

Lady using mobile phone
Credit: Getty Images by Elena Noviello

2022 is in full swing, and while marketers are “innovating” with applications of new dressings on old sales models, many are missing the paradigm shift that’s also upon us. The machinery of consumerism is in disrepair: supply chains are broken, prices are rising on household goods and other items thanks to inflation, the U.S. Postal Service is intentionally slowing down, and many shelves are quite simply bare. Strong headwinds, to put it mildly.

It’s important to realize that it’s not just the mechanics of efficient supply and demand that’s been disrupted. There’s a psychological component that has been building for years, and a seismic shift in the way people think about buying goods and services has already occurred. This year, the “Great Consumer Reset” may show up in unexpected ways, and marketers need to be ready.

The Shift in Consumer Thinking Was a Long Time Coming

We experience earthquakes as sudden events, but in reality, pressure builds slowly and almost imperceptibly until tectonic plates shift in a sudden release. Similar pressures are at work in the Great Consumer Reset, which has been building for more than a decade. Millennials and Gen Z experienced the Great Recession and the failures of previously solid institutions and economic ideals during their formative years, which made a lasting impression.

Unsettling political and socioeconomic events sowed seeds of doubt about ingrained cultural concepts, including immediate gratification for consumers, globalism, and capitalism itself. Climate change is another pressure that’s impossible to ignore. Add the devastation and confusion of the pandemic to the mix, with the resulting global economic dislocation and social isolation, and millions are rethinking how they’ve ordered their lives.

This resetting of priorities may be what’s prompting record-breaking numbers of Americans to leave their jobs. People are questioning what they need and want, and they’re reassessing what they’re willing to do and how much they’re willing to spend to get it. And it’s all happening as millennials and Gen Z are stepping into their peak purchasing power as consumers. A general theme that seems to be emerging is simple: less is more.

That doesn’t necessarily mean people will spend less this year, though inflationary pressures will affect budgets. Marketers need to keep in mind that the purchase consideration timeline has lengthened, making impulse buys less likely. People are taking more time to think about the necessity of a purchase, considering DIY options and assessing brand values before clicking “proceed to check out.”

Marketing After the Great Consumer Reset

So, what does this mean for companies that produce goods, and marketers who sell them? Products will need change to meet emerging consumer expectations. Sustainably sourced and ethically produced goods have already gained mainstream traction. That trend will accelerate, affecting industries like fast fashion and other sectors with a reputation for toxic production processes and negative environmental impact. Inflation will drive price sensitivity, but consumers will also take time to evaluate their needs and assess production processes and the impact of their purchases.

The Great Consumer Reset could lift up companies that focus on small-batch production, hyperlocal products, artisan goods and farm-to-table ecosystems. The shift in mindset opens up new opportunities for companies that stay in sync with evolving expectations and marketers who tell a compelling story that aligns with customer values.

Turning Customers Into Brand Advocates

For marketers, the most salient fact is that the purchase funnel has changed. There’s now an extended consideration phase. Broken supply chains forced consumers to wait, but now waiting and taking the time to consider broader priorities has become a habit. Marketers can adjust to that with a sequential messaging strategy that goes well beyond product features and instead becomes a timely and honest narrative during the extended consideration phase.

Features and benefits are still important — potential customers need to know that the product provides what they need. But now, there’s an opportunity for marketers to address consumers’ other priorities by talking about what the brand is doing to create a greener, more just world, whether through sustainable sourcing, ethical business practices, or contributions to charitable causes.

Marketing in general after the Great Consumer Reset will be different because priorities and expectations have shifted. Marketers will need to give people a deeper reason to buy and a true, verifiable story that builds trust in the brand, turns customers into advocates, and drives long-term value and return on investment.

Christian Jones is currently the head of marketing at Hawthorne Advertising and brings over 15 years of proven success in business development and sales, creative digital media, and technology to his role.

15 Ways To Show Marketing ROI Beyond Sales Revenue

Some agency clients may think that an immediate bump in sales revenue is the only way to gauge the ROI of a marketing campaign. Of course, measuring the results of any campaign is more complex than simply tracking conversions.

While agency professionals might be focused on other positive aspects and developments, the real key to success lies in making sure the client understands the value of these less obvious metrics. But aside from increasing sales, what’s one method agencies can use to show clients the ROI of their work when it’s not apparent to the client?

Here, members of Forbes Agency Council discuss 15 unique methods of showing ROI to marketing and advertising clients that illuminate a far bigger picture than the number of sales.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Set Micro-Goals For SEO Campaigns

SEO inevitably becomes the least expensive acquisition channel for all businesses, but those results don’t come until you put in strong efforts early on and accept that you’ll see little return on those investments for weeks, or even months. It’s important to set micro-goals in these scenarios. We look at how many times a ranking occurs before we look at how many times a ranking gets clicked on. – Brent Payne, Loud Interactive, LLC

2. Track Clicks To Show Activity And Interest

Long-term partnerships often take time and don’t garner immediate growth for a client, but the revenue driven in the end is worth the wait. Setting expectations and early KPIs (other than ROI) can help the client focus on what’s important at the launch of a campaign. A good example of this is tracking clicks to show activity and interest before jumping into revenue. – Abby Campbell, Perform[cb] Agency

3. Study Customer Journey Analytics To Set Expected Timelines

Study the customer journey analytics closely for time dependencies to set client expectations. For example, unknown brands with high price points will see a much longer customer journey across a variety of touchpoints and devices. Pro tip: In Google Analytics, you can see this clearly in the Multi-Channel Funnels and Path Length reports to set a baseline for when to expect ROI on campaigns. – Jacob Cook, Tadpull

4. Measure Inbound Traffic, Queries And Social Media Engagement

It is unlikely that clients will see an immediate increase in sales. A better way to measure the success of your marketing or communications campaign is to look at your analytics for an increase in inbound website traffic, queries and social media engagement. If you don’t see these increases within the first quarter, it’s time to reassess your tactics. – Valerie Chan, Plat4orm PR

5. Use Different Metrics Across Different Time Horizons

There are many metrics used to gauge the ROI of a campaign, and it’s important to look at these metrics across different time horizons. For instance, sales, engagement and impressions are great metrics to measure across both the short term and the long term; repeat purchases and increased LTV are great metrics for the medium and long term. – Michael McFadden, eAccountable

6. Focus On Upper And Mid-Funnel Outcomes

Focus on measurable outcomes throughout the upper and middle parts of the funnel. This could be video completions, PDF downloads/content consumption or lead/contact form submits. Measuring these actions and optimizing toward an efficient cost per action allows us to prove that our marketing efforts are working while also collecting an audience that can be retargeted for future, lower-funnel efforts. – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo

7. Show Clients Metric Tracking Data

Showing clients metric tracking data does the trick. Numbers are harder to argue with than vague ideas of what successful sales goals should be. One method we use is to show exactly where and how marketing efforts are impacting visibility, increasing traffic and spurring growth. Set up a comparison of industry standards for perspective, and then you can say, “Look here—these are your dollars at work.” – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

8. Review How Boosting Longer-Term Indicators Also Lifts Revenue

ROI in terms of increased sales or revenue is usually a key indicator of a successful campaign. Other, longer-term indicators of a successful campaign include increases in activity, engagement with consumers, responsiveness, impressions and overall brand sentiment lift. These metrics should eventually lead to revenue lift as well. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. Think About Lifetime Value

In many instances, it actually makes sense to take a loss on a new customer or first-time purchase if you know the long-term value will be profitable for the business. Think of your loss leaders as “gateway” products that can bring you loyal customers willing to buy big-ticket items. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

10. Report Both Returns On Investment And Returns On Influence

There are two methods of reporting ROI to a client: as a return on investment and as a return on influence. Influence focuses on visibility, engagement and audience numbers. Investment is specifically targeting conversion-based metrics that you can track and tying them to the investment. Together, they tell the full story. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

11. Prove Aspirational ROI With A Quarterly Survey

ROI can only exist in two categories; it’s either part of an objective or part of an aspiration. Objective measurement is easy because it’s tangible. An aspirational ROI is far more difficult to measure, as it requires understanding what behaviors need to happen over time that will lead you to that goal. One way to do that is to create a baseline survey and distribute it every quarter. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

12. Use Distinct Metrics Based On The Client’s Biggest Goals

It depends on what the client’s biggest issues and goals are. For example, if there is a negative brand perception, do pre- and post-campaign surveys to measure the change. If the goal is more leads, measure website traffic to landing pages used in email campaigns and paid digital. Sales cycles vary; in healthcare tech, for instance, they can often last 12 to 18 months, so ROI should be measured in other ways too. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications

13. Measure The Incrementality Of Advertising

One important metric that clients overlook is incrementality, which is defined as the lift in your chosen KPI that can be attributed to advertising. Your true advertising ROI should reflect the amount spent on those who need it to convince them to buy, not what was spent on people who were already shoo-ins. That number might be lower, but it is a better indicator of how well your advertising is performing. – Jeremy Fain, Cognitiv

14. Give Clients Data They Can Use To Target More Specific Audiences

Not all ROI has to be measured with sales increases. Show clients consumer data such as page views, demographics, location, gender, age, interests, clicks and more. This is valuable information that companies can use to market to a more specific audience that already likes their brand. Data is a measurable ROI that may not necessarily be an increase in sales, but which can lead to it. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media

15. Show The ROI Of Clients Maximizing Value For Their Customers

Many brands measure value gained from customers, but few put the same effort into maximizing value. As such, most organizations meet a fraction of customer needs and values. By exploring the link between customer performance indicators and customer lifetime value, companies can optimize how their brands help customers function and succeed while ultimately growing their bottom line. – Camille Nicita, Gongos, Inc.

How 14 Agency Pros Measure ROI For Their Own Marketing Activities

Marketing is essential for promoting and expanding all businesses, including agencies. While these firms execute plenty of marketing campaigns and measure ROI for their clients, it can be tricky to devote enough time and resources to determining their own.

Nonetheless, as with any client, it’s critical to measure your agency’s own efforts and initiatives to ensure that you’re seeing a return on those investments.

The members of Forbes Agency Council know how important it is to track the results of internal marketing activities. Here, they share 14 strategies and metrics they use to measure the ROI for their own campaigns.
Forbes Agency Council

1. Urchin Tracking Module Parameters

Set up proper UTM parameters for each campaign, both organic and paid, create events and goals in Google Analytics, integrate your contact form with your CRM and use plugins to track UTMs for each lead that reaches out. If you have everything under control, you will be able to calculate CPC, CPI, CTR and average contract size by acquisition channel. – Alessandro Bogliari, The Influencer Marketing Factory

2. Facebook Ads Manager

We measure and track ROI for our internal marketing activities directly inside the Facebook Ads Manager, just as we do for our clients. We measure cost per lead and overall sales to ensure that we have an ROI with all of our efforts. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

3. Non-Revenue Metrics

When ROI is measured solely by revenue, you can miss measuring and tweaking some of the KPIs that indicate progress through the sales funnel. By measuring and analyzing web traffic, social media engagements and qualified leads generated (versus a one-dimensional revenue number), you have the opportunity to tweak and improve throughout the process, which leads to continuously improving ROI. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

4. Qualitative And Quantitative Leads

It’s about qualitative and quantitative leads. Does your inbound pick up? Do you have those out-of-the-blue requests, or is it one of those Google Ads-based campaigns where you spent tons of money, got (unqualified) leads and your website’s bounce rate went sky-high? Rather than being about an absolute ROI, it’s about being clear on your objectives (top/middle/lower funnel) and focusing on that! – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications

5. Brand Awareness

There are easily tangible KPIs to track for marketing, including the number of inbound leads generated and, even better, how much revenue is generated from those inbound leads. But we also need to keep brand awareness in mind, which is more difficult to quantify, but can be measured through things such as overall site traffic or page views per month. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX

6. Customer Lifetime Value To Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio

Our agency assesses the customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio (LTV to CAC) to determine our ROI. The LTV to CAC ratio measures the value of a customer over time compared to their acquisition cost. The ideal LTV to CAC ratio is around 3 to 1, where a customer’s lifetime value is three times the cost of acquiring them. Anything less than 3 to 1 means your investment is higher than your return. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media

7. Money Spent Versus Money Made Per Campaign

We measure ROI for ourselves the same way we measure ROI for our clients: how much money is spent versus how much money is made on an individual campaign. For example, if we’re doing PPC (pay-per-click) for ourselves, we take into account the budget and the revenue generated from said PPC campaign to measure its effectiveness. – Garrett Atkins, VIE Media

8. Sales Leads

What’s great about digital marketing is that everything is measurable if you have the right tools for tracking it. You can measure the value of the digital traffic that you received; however, the real ROI still comes through your sales. See if your marketing efforts still lead you to the next sales lead. It doesn’t matter if it’s just one. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

9. New Client Acquisition And Yearly Revenue

ROI is measured from new client acquisition and revenue for the calendar year against the number of resources invested in the activities, both time and financial. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

10. Web Traffic Value

We’ve been blessed to be ranked No. 1 on Google for “Facebook advertising agency.” This came from years of hard work, blogging and PR. We track the estimated costs for that keyword and the amount of traffic we receive each month. Since we know the value of the traffic, we know what to invest to ensure that we remain in that top position. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

11. Return On Influence

We focus on return on influence as well as return on investment. So we are tracking engagement and growth on social channels, email marketing metrics, website traffic and visitation metrics, as well as referrals and inquiries. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

12. Cost Per Key Performance Indicator

We measure ROI for ourselves exactly the same way we do for our clients: We define our goals beforehand (impressions, engagement, clicks, leads, etc.), and then assess what we’ve spent, what we got and what it cost per KPI (CPC, CPI, CTR, etc.). We look at the analytics to assess what was strong and where we can improve next time. – Christoph Kastenholz, Pulse Advertising

13. Revenue Versus Ad Spend

You can only put profit in your pocket, so we measure revenue versus ad spend, also known as ROAS (return on advertising spend). Generating site traffic, brand awareness and inbound leads is meaningless if they don’t turn into paying clients. Those KPIs simply give us direction to help keep the business on a plan. Deals are always in the sales funnel. – Michael Fox, Corberry Digital

14. The Same Metrics And Tools Used For Clients

We measure our agency’s performance with the same metrics and tracking tools we use to track ROI for our clients. If I, as a small-business owner, wouldn’t be satisfied with the metrics being provided, then I shouldn’t ask my clients to accept them. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

Measuring Marketing ROI: 13 Simple And Effective Strategies

It’s pretty common to see marketing agencies focus on a singular dollars-and-cents approach to explaining the effectiveness of a marketing strategy to their clients. The vital misstep in this approach comes from assuming that clients are solely interested in the cost-to-return ratio of a policy. In many cases, businesses are less concerned about the spend and more worried about the value it generates, whether that is in returns or less-tangible metrics like customer loyalty.

ROI isn’t the only way to connect with clients. Below, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council discuss the metrics and strategies they use to explain the success of a marketing campaign to their clients in simple, understandable ways.

Marketing ROI - 13 Simple Strategies

1. Create A Measurement Dashboard

We help our clients create a measurement dashboard with marketing metrics that all lead up to achieving their sales goal. These could include number of email newsletter subscribers, number of fans and followers on social media platforms, number of people who attend live in-person events, number of sales calls made by sales staff, and number of inbound phone calls inquiring about a new promotion. – Nancy Marshall, Marshall Communications

2. Show Clients Where The ROI Is Happening

While clients love to see results, they love seeing a breakdown of the results even more. When you show clients the individual channels that are experiencing a steady ROI, you form a bond with them. They’re more appreciative of you showing the exact marketing channels they are excelling in as opposed to “we’ve seen a lot of growth.” It provides a sense of clarity, honesty and trust. – Charles Mazzini, Hyperlinks Media, LLC

3. Specify Measurable KPIs

Definitions of success vary depending on many variables, including the type of the campaign, media selected, or the product/service position in the marketing funnel. It’s important to clarify agreed-upon goals early on, then create key performance indicators (KPI) that will help the agency and the client measure and track the success of the campaign. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

4. Treat The Marketing Spend Like It’s Yours

Traditional marketing agencies use acronyms that most clients can’t bank on, like ROAS, CAC, CTR and CVR. These are all ratios that a client can’t put in their pocket. Think of it as your own money and put it in terms of whether you drove profitable traffic into their pocket. Our agency found that it’s important to measure gross profit, which is sales minus cost of goods sold and marketing expenses. – Michael Fox, Corberry Digital

5. Measure Each Activity Separately

One thing that works for us is segmentation. It helps our clients understand and appreciate our marketing activities much better. If you can segment metrics down to each marketing activity, it becomes easy to track ROI. We normally track sales, the lead volume against website traffic, the sources of traffic and total traffic over different periods of time. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

6. Tie ROI To Client-Specific KPIs

It’s helpful to educate clients so they understand that ROI measurements will vary depending on the marketing tactic being examined. PPC campaigns will be easy to track and measure while content marketing campaigns are more complex. We like to develop specific KPIs connected to the client’s organizational goals and agree on those before campaigns launch. Then we monitor and report on our progress. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

7. Look At Share Of Voice

Organic, earned media and share of voice are ways we measure ROI. We look at PR impressions, social media impressions and engagement to offer insight into the impact of the campaign. Share of voice percentages also resonate well and allow better articulation of ROI in specific markets. – Dustin Callif, Tool of North America

8. Measure Brand Awareness

The first reminder for the clients lies in the fact that the long-term investment in SEO and content marketing doesn’t lead to a sale immediately. So we measure brand awareness (clicks, interactions) constantly and show the dynamics. Another indicator is customer lifetime value or the customers’ loyalty, because about 80% percent of the company’s profit comes from 20% of the returning customers. – Oganes Vagramovich Barsegyan, Digital Beverly Marketing Solutions

9. Assess U&A Metrics Affecting Purchase Intent

Business impact is ultimately what clients seek, but it can be challenging for them to articulate. And it’s not a universal metric. For instance, I work with many commodity boards and trade associations that are charged with increasing demand for a product category (i.e., not directly selling). So we assess key usage and attitude (U&A) metrics that affect purchase intent, such as preference and health attributes. – Edward Hoffman

10. Look At Cost Per Acquisition

Every business/client is looking for ROI. The easiest way to know if your campaigns are working is by tracking the metrics. Google Analytics can work for this. Take a look at your attribution report in analytics to quickly find out the number of leads/purchases per channel (Google ads, organic, social, etc). Use the number of leads/purchases and divide it by the cost associated with each channel. – Sean Allen, Twelve Three Media

11. Keep A Pulse On The Market

Beyond immediate ROI, brands need to look at their overall brand lift and halo effects, which naturally raise other channels as a result of marketing efforts. Brands need to value the agency’s core competency in marketing and have a wider purview on the entire market. If a brand tries to leverage in-house, it’s hard for them to keep up with fast moving media marketplace trends, which is invaluable. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

12. Measure Customer Interactions

One great feature about today’s modern era of social media and digital discussion is that you can actually see what people have to say about your brand. Being able to show an increase in positive sentiment and engagement among customers will go a long way with clients. Happy customers go hand in hand with dollars and cents. – Darian Kovacs, Jelly Digital Marketing & PR

13. Look At The Customer Journey

Clients expect our revenue-driven actions to be profitable and scalable, so it’s important to track your results using the right data. For the most part clients will want to see an immediate return on a month-to-month basis and in order to manage expectations and track your true ROI (not just ROAS) there are some KPIs you should not overlook, such as cost per acquisition and customer lifetime value. – Alex Quin, UADV

11 Ways to Measure Your Marketing ROI

11 Ways to Measure ROI

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: March 5, 2019

Sometimes, marketing efforts feel like day after day of trial and error in an economy that’s constantly evolving. Technology is changing, social media sites rise and fall, and “hot trends” that work for one business might not be suitable for another. To ensure you’re investing in tactics that will deliver the best results for your brand, you’ll need to regularly review your efforts across the board.

11 Ways to Measure ROI

It’s not always easy to determine and quantify those results, though. That’s why we asked the experts from Forbes Agency Council to explain how they measure the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing efforts.

1. Launch A Content Marketing Campaign

There is no reason it should be difficult to measure ROI today. We have so many tools and ways to glean metrics, and the expectations on marketing to generate sales are too high for us to forsake data. If you’re not measuring anything today, start with some simple content marketing. Get a few campaigns going and you’ll have benchmark numbers—traffic, leads, conversions—in no time. – Sarah Mannone, Trekk

2. Understand Your ‘Whys’

A marketing campaign absolutely cannot be successful without a tight strategy. You should know the reasoning behind everything you do. These “whys” should align with all of your goals. These goals must be measurable, whether that’s in terms of engagement rates or direct sales. By doing this, you can show the ROI of each individual tactic throughout the duration of your marketing campaign. – Lisa Arledge Powell, MediaSource

3. Segment Your Activities

My startup is built around measuring ROI for marketing activities. Usually, I track sales, the lead volume against website traffic, the sources of traffic and total traffic over different periods of time. If you can segment branded search, traffic, leads and sales down to each marketing activity, then it is easy to track ROI. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Check Your Traffic Sources For Each Campaign

One of the most important places to start assessing ROI is looking at your sources of website traffic (organic, social, paid, referral, etc.) per campaign to see what is driving the most website visits and qualified leads. From there, determine what sources are driving the most customers. This data will help you see what sources are most impactful for qualified lead generation and customer acquisition. – Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions

5. Establish The Right KPIs

We all know some desired results are easier to measure than others. That’s why it’s important to establish quantitative key performance indicators, such as impressions, CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and sales, as well as qualitative KPIs such as loyalty, reputation management and third-party credibility. Measurement is not black and white anymore, and marketers need to adopt a modern mindset in order to measure true impact. – Ashley Walters, Empower

6. Measure Consistently

Every dollar of marketing investment should be analyzed to determine if it is effectively driving sales or critical KPIs. Tracking through online sales, leads, traffic, point-of-sale (POS) data or anywhere else needs to be brought into the same tech platform to analyze and determine marketing effectiveness and then be displayed in a dashboard or through a consolidated report. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, HAWTHORNE LLC

7. Conduct Customer Research

Good customer research is absolutely the best way to gain and measure the ROI of your marketing activities. Make research the foundation of your campaigns. Let it inform your strategy. Track your efforts with a comprehensive platform that integrates your contacts with your personas, website, email marketing and campaigns. You’ll be able to see and improve your ROI. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

8. Automate And Integrate

Marketing efforts don’t always show obvious results because they exist early in the customer journey. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot or Pardot, when integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM), can tie your marketing efforts directly to qualified sales leads and ultimately closed business. Connecting Web traffic to prospects and prospects to closed sales is the ultimate goal of measuring marketing ROI. – Keri Witman, Cleriti

9. Know Where Your Leads Are Coming From

We are in the digital marketing area, so all our advertising is actually tracked. For leads, we know we get X amount from search engine optimization (SEO). We get Y amount from pay-per-click (PPC). We get Z amount from social media. We have yearly budgets and track leads into clients and budget appropriately. Network events and conferences can be harder to track, but usually, you can attribute spikes in leads online to attendance. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

10. Revisit Your Goals Regularly

The first step to measuring ROI is not at the end of a project; rather, it’s at the beginning. That sounds contrarian, but during the planning phase, it’s imperative to align on the goal(s) in order to effectively strategize, implement action, track progress, communicate and pivot as needed, and then measure success. If you don’t define and continuously align on goals, the ROI will be impossible to measure. – Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing

11. Ask Your Clients

We have clients fill out a quick survey for their personal goals and the brands with specific KPIs, which is quite helpful for referring back to throughout an engagement. In e-commerce, we’ll use cost per acquisition against predicted lifetime value to measure what works across the online touchpoints. Both ways help get at indisputable numbers for what success looks like. – Jacob Cook, Tadpull

How – And Where – To Maximize Your Advertising Dollars in 2019

How and Why Advertising Dollars

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: February 1, 2019

Advertising usually takes up a large percentage of companies’ budgets each year. To stay relevant, businesses cannot solely rely on what they’ve done in the past; they must also utilize up-and-coming platforms and strategies or risk getting lost in the shuffle. This new year is sure to be no exception, with new advertising tools and platforms trending throughout the year.

How and Why Advertising Dollars

With so many advertising options to choose from, it can be daunting to know where to best spend your time and budget. To help, six members of Forbes Agency Council discuss where advertising dollars should be spent in 2019, as well as how agencies can take the lead in capitalizing on their predictions.

1. Utilize Digital Testing Technology For Higher ROI

We believe that advertising dollars in the coming year are best spent in the digital and social spaces. Google’s machine learning technology allows experts to test more ad variations much faster than ever before. Faster testing leads to faster optimization of ads and, therefore, higher positive return on investment. Social ads also continue to present a huge opportunity with fantastic targeting capabilities. – Bernard May, National Positions

2. Understand And Adapt To Digital Outlets And Audiences

What we definitely know and understand is that digital and social outlets are not going anywhere anytime soon. At this point, these outlets are bridging the gap between all ages and will continue to dominate the game. Agencies need to understand these outlets and their audience more and adapt these techniques through social and digital media platforms in a more clear and creative way. – Cagan Sean Yuksel, GRAFX CO.

3. Take A Holistic Approach

Online and offline need to continue to work together, not apart from each other. Offline still has the largest reach but pushes people to online or brick-and-mortar locations. The key is carefully watching the data and sales to pull the appropriate levers and drive the best consumer engagement and action. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, HAWTHORNE LLC

4. Start Mapping The Customer Experience

The best investment this year is in tying all of your marketing efforts and measurements together to start mapping and measuring the customer experience (CX). Agencies can start by investing in journey mapping exercises and learning about CX measurement tools. – Greg Kihlström, Yes& Agency

5. Find And Target Your Relevant Audience

In 2019, I expect clients to continue to invest heavily in digital tactics, including targeted digital display with geotargeting, geofencing and lookalike audiences, as well paid and organic social media placements. Audio buying, including Pandora, i-Heart radio and Spotify, as well as over-the-top streaming video ads, will be hot as well, since they effectively deliver messages to relevant audiences. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

6. Choose The Media That’s Best For Your Brand

No one medium is the silver bullet for all ad campaigns. A specialist will always tell you their specialty. Ultimately it depends on the target, strategy, competition and cultural trends. For John Lewis, TV is wildly effective. Nerf and Dude Perfect were great social media partners. We made smart viral reccos for Blue Man experiential. Each brand’s DNA and media choice should always be different. – Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

In-House Transparency: 13 Pros And Cons Of Full Disclosure

In House Transparency

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: January 31, 2019

We’re all aware of the importance of transparency in marketing, especially when targeting younger demographics. People want to align not only with your company’s brand, but also your ethos and mission. Lately, the conversation about transparency has turned inward, with some agencies giving their team members full disclosure of the company’s financial well-being, such as revenue, profit and loss, and so on.

We asked 13 members of Forbes Agency Council to share their own transparency experiences, including if they have taken the transparency approach and are still implementing it or if they implemented it and then chose to stop. Read on for the pros and cons of how in-house transparency impacted their business and culture below.

In House Transparency

1. There’s No Reason To Hide Profit

“Transparency” is too often a buzzword agencies say, but don’t honor. We are an open book. Every budget we send to clients has a line that says “Agency Profit.” Not only does our team have full disclosure on what we make, but so do our clients. There isn’t a business in the world that doesn’t exist to make money, so why hide it from anyone? Our clients love it, and our employees love it. There’s nothing to hide. – Lucas Miller, Shop Marketing and Creative Group

2. Open Communication Informs Better Decisions

We have found it important to provide a certain level of transparency to our employees when it comes to our financial success. We set targets at the beginning of the year, communicate them broadly to the employee base and then provide updates on a quarterly basis. This helps get everyone focused on owning the year with us and making decisions in the business from an informed perspective. – Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman

3. Careful Consideration Is Needed

We have yet to implement this, but we’re thinking about it. Younger professionals appreciate openness and function better knowing how they fit into the business model. If finances are tight, the concern is that it may cause panic among good employees to jump ship. However, if profit is strong then it is easier for employees to understand their value and how they fit into that success. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing + Partnerships

4. Share What The Team Will Benefit From Knowing

We have practiced pretty radical transparency with our finances at times in the past. The result is that team members, particularly younger ones with less work experience, totally freaked out. It added stress to their lives. I’m the business owner, so I’m expected to lose sleep sometimes, but not everyone needs to join me. Now I just let them know what they need to know so there are no surprises. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

5. Transparency Fosters Trust

Prioritizing transparency and integrity internally leads to growth, both because customers see they can trust you to help grow their business, but also because it leads to more engaged, productive and effective employees. We share our financial goals and progress monthly so that our entire team can rally around them. When everyone is aware, involved and invested it leads to success. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

6. Sharing Finances Means Sharing Impact

In 2018 we transitioned to greater financial transparency. We shared revenue and profitability goals at the company and team level. At the six-month update, people seemed gratified to witness the impact their work had made. After the meeting, a junior planner pulled me aside to tell me that seeing the numbers on the page really made her feel that her individual effort had made a big difference. – Joanne McKinney, Burns Group

7. Transparency Goes Two Ways

We subscribe to full transparency and commit to the highest level of trust with the entire team. Giving that level of trust results in getting that same level of trust and respect back. When that kind of trust is inherent to your culture, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. And you can more effectively deal with the challenges when everyone is aware and working together toward the common goal. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®

8. Employees Earn Their Way Inside

We incentivize employees with a 10% net bonus on any new business they personally secure. If they bring in an account they get to see all expenses related to running that business, so when we write them the big year-end bonus check they know the amount is legit. Writing a fat check to someone who deserves it is my favorite thing in this business. – Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

9. Profits Are Better When Everyone Shares In Them

We are a fully transparent company. I believe it’s one of the reasons we’ve grown so quickly. Our internal mission is to be the best-paying boutique agency for the information technology industry. When everyone knows the revenue and profit targets they can see that when they are hit, they get better pay and it gets us closer to achieving our internal mission. Profits and work quality have never been better. – Giovanni Sanguily, TRIdigital Marketing

10. Complete Accountability Fosters Communication And Ownership

When companies make the change and open themselves to complete communication and accountability it changes the way that people communicate as well as the attention that they pay to their jobs. What it means is that there is a complete change in the way that companies relate to employees, and employees act like owners and not like those who simply work there. It is also a way to start a dialog. – Jon James, Ignited Results

11. Sharing Gets You Rowing In The Same Direction

Sharing financials and company goals is important to ensure everyone is aligned and sets their sights on the same targets. If all don’t have access, you won’t be rowing in the same direction. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, HAWTHORNE LLC

12. Sharing Opens A Channel To Address Concerns

The executive board hosts a companywide meeting at the beginning of every month to review numbers, goals, problems and successes. During this time of transparency, we talk through any questions or concerns our team may have, providing the response direct from the source and limiting any false speculation. This practice leads to a greater understanding of the business and minimal water cooler talk. – Jason Kulpa, UE.co

13. Tie Your Company’s Financial Goals To Employee Bonuses

About three years ago we started sharing our financial goals, our profits and our “numbers” as often as possible with our employees. That was a deliberate, and critical, shift. We tied our company’s financial goals to individual employees’ bonuses, so our goals are now their goals. When we win, they win. The result? We’re all moving in the same direction. – Matt Moore, OH Partners

13 Things To Consider When Investing In A Digital Media Platform

Forbes Agency Council

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: January 4, 2019

Bloomberg recently reported that Snapchat is experiencing a steady decline in daily users, and its situation isn’t expected to improve any time soon. While Snapchat is certainly far from “dead” – there are still 186 million active daily users, according to Statista — many brands may opt to wait and see if engagement stabilizes before spending precious advertising dollars on the platform.Forbes Agency Council

Snapchat’s downward trend may well prompt second thoughts for many brands that were considering marketing on a digital media platform, including whether to move forward and, if they do, what the best strategy will be. Below, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council share their thoughts on investing in a digital media platform.

1. Positive Return On Investment (ROI) Should Happen Within Two Weeks

Determine your reach and frequency first. How many consumers are you really reaching via Snapchat? Then calculate your ROI on your ad spend. If you are not seeing a positive ROI within one to two weeks, remove the media and allocate the past spend to a testing budget, but do not continue on the medium. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, HAWTHORNE LLC

2. Timing Is Critical

The unsuccessful Facebook purchase of Snapchat was the pivot point. The acquisition was the preferred but not the only means for Facebook to provide the same or better offer, and it has the user data to edge out the competition with better personalization options. Snapchat made some investors money who saw that writing on the wall and got out quickly, so it is as much a matter of when to invest as in what. – Elizabeth Jean Poston, Helios Interactive, A Freeman Company

3. Consider The Platform’s Unique Audience

Snapchat offers a very addressable audience and, in some cases, an audience that is relatively tough to find in other places. What is most important for you to consider is if your target audience has sufficient scale and delivers performance above a point of diminishing returns. – Kieley Taylor, GroupM

4. Take A Holistic View Of Customer Trends

Just because the overall Snapchat user base is changing does not mean that their core users have migrated to another channel. As a brand, it is crucial to have an always-on understanding of customers, including their device and social preferences. When brands invest in a customer data platform, it gives them a holistic view of their customers’ actions, which can enable data-driven investment. – Preethy Vaidyanathan, Tapad

5. What Matters Is Where Your Brand’s Audience Is

Before worrying about a platform that feels like a media “ought to,” brands should first step back and determine if their target is even engaging there. Snapchat may have been a trend darling, but if a brand’s consumers aren’t interacting there, there’s no point in chasing it in the first place. If they are spending time on the platform, the dip in numbers doesn’t matter anyway. – Mimi Lettunich, Twenty Four 7

6. Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term, Viability

When there is a decrease in revenue in a tool and an application like Snapchat, it is very important to make sure that all of the long-term viability assessments of the tool have been looked at. What that means is that before you are putting your money into an application, you want to know that it is going to make a recovery. – Jon James, Ignited Results

7. If It’s Working For You, Stick With It

An “investment” really has nothing to do with the number of daily users, it has to do with the change in key performance indicators for your brand. While growing and massive social media platforms provide a wide audience, they also add the challenge of competition and cost. If Snapchat continues to build awareness, engagement, growth and a return on investment, by all means, continue to use it! – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

8. The Audience Is Waiting — Build A Smart Package

Snap reported 191 million users earlier this year. Instagram has hit 1 billion. There’s no need to wait on either platform. The eyeballs are there. You just have to get a pulse on the best way to engage on each, then develop smart creative and negotiate the best package. There’s a certain amount of parity between both, but one group is way more ad-friendly. – Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

9. Ignore Industry Panic

Snapchat has gone through waves of popularity and waves of decline. Although ROI should be your chief metric, be sure that you’re not jumping too fast in the natural cycles of popular social media platforms. If Snapchat comes out with a new feature or method of organization that brings users back in droves relatively quickly, you might feel silly for panicking too early. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

10. There Is No Silver Bullet

Many people believe that marketers know the silver bullet. In actuality, the best marketers seek to understand their audience well and fire 10 arrows all in the same direction, knowing only a couple will hit the target. Channels come and go. Facebook is already losing its golden-child status. Don’t be surprised, do what good marketers do: Seek to understand your audience and be flexible. – Jesse Marble, Magneti

11. It Might Be A Great Opportunity To Reach Young Consumers

There is still a strong user base on Snapchat that is desirable (Gen Z and younger millennials). You might be able to get a better deal and reach your ideal, hard-to-reach young consumers. – Tom LaVecchia, MBA, X Factor Media

12. Move Around Media Dollars To Find What’s Effective

It’s not about whether a platform is in growth or decline, but whether it provides the best opportunities for your brand to reach your audience. You may leverage that platform while it’s trending, but decide if it’s the most effective medium. Because you can easily move your strategy with media dollars, brands aren’t committed to platforms long term and have the freedom to move to new channels. – Danny Fritz, SBX Group

13. Favor Steady Engagement Over Swift Monetary Return

As long as you’re seeing engagement and a strong following that’s not disassembling your budget, then it’s always worth it to keep investing in a platform. It’s important to remember that with digital media platforms, your monetary return takes time to establish. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer

10 Things To Consider Before Bringing Your Agency Work In-House

Forbes 10 Tips In House

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: December 19, 2018

As companies grow and gain more confidence in their capabilities, some consider bringing their agency work in-house. Some leaders may be looking for cost savings, while others may believe that no outside agency can truly understand their company as they do themselves. While switching from outsourced to on-staff marketing and PR can give you much more control over the process, it can also be a big risk — especially to those who rush the transition.Forbes 10 Tips In House

Below, experts from Forbes Agency Council offer thoughts on important things to consider before making the switch from outsourced to in-house agency work. Follow their advice to make your process as smooth as possible.

Members of Forbes Agency Council discuss some points to consider before bringing your company’s agency work in-house.

1. Avoid Financial Process Woes

Large companies have strict vendor set up, contract and payment processes. Net 60-, 90- and even 120-day payments are standard, whereas agencies usually pay faster. Will the in-house agency buy media, award production, source creative? If so, work out all contracting processes before internal departments are frustrated, legal is overloaded, suppliers are angry and your team is ready to quit. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing + Partnerships

2. Find A Better Partner

We’ve seen brands try to move some of their agency work in-house, but it is typically because a past agency or holding company has charged large fees and the brand hasn’t seen the results or the ROI. Look for an accountable advertising agency that provides analytics and an ROI on every dollar of media spent so you know how your brand and business are growing as a result of your media spend. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

3. Make Sure Your Team Has The Time

For some brands, creating an on-site team and taking their agency work in-house means having a team truly immersed in the business, with a complete understanding of the goals and the challenges. However, they should consider that there is the risk that the team doesn’t have enough time to explore external sources of inspiration to develop more unique and innovative approaches. – Daniela Pavan, The Ad Store New York

4. Look At It As Building A Second Business

I come from the agency side, but I have firsthand experience because I built an agency and I consult with companies who brought the work in-house. The biggest issue is finding qualified people who — this is hard to evaluate — work well with others. Essentially, you’re trying to build a small agency, and that may be a good move, but it’s harder and more costly than it may seem since it’s another business. – Rafael Romis, Weberous Web Design

5. Master The Various Marketing Functions

Brands need to acknowledge where they are strong and where they are weak. No outside agency is going to know your brand’s values and benefits as well as you. But you also need to understand how the various marketing functions work as a unit. Knowing where one set of responsibilities ends (product marketing) and the next begins (lead generation) helps everything work as a cohesive unit. – Bernard May, National Positions

6. Don’t Assume You Can Do It Better — Or Cheaper

It takes talent, project management and dedication to getting the work done at a high level to achieve big goals. If an agency has these, does it really matter what their employee badge says? The mistake companies make is believing that employees will do better work, be cheaper and be more loyal than an agency. I managed a $1.5 million budget in-house and can verify that an employee badge means zero. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

7. Accept That There Will Be A Learning Curve

There is no one-size-fits-all, smooth process of bringing an agency in-house. Often you’ll be building teams, talents and processes from the ground up. Be willing to learn, always seeking out new metrics, and be willing to pivot continuously until you find the process that makes it work for you. Things will go smoother if you don’t expect them to be a well-oiled machine right off the bat. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

8. Study Your Old Agency’s Processes First

One thing that is important to know is all of the strategies that are being used by the agency. In addition to that, it is important to know what their planning sessions were. Before doing this, it seems it would be helpful to shadow the old agency and learn their process to know what they do before you take it in-house. – Jon James, Ignited Results

9. Realize A Lot Of Skills Are Required

I work on both sides of the fence, as a marketer within a company and as an agency owner. The agency was born out of the fact that specific skills, such as audio and video production, are not typical marketing skills that are available in-house. Beyond graphic and web skills, most companies fall short of the skill sets available within agencies. These skills and areas of expertise must be considered. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta

10. Bring Back Your Agency If You Need To

I have lived this many times, having owned an agency for over a decade. Recession, budget cuts, restructuring or new thinking can lead to in-housing services. I call it the yo-yo effect because it’s often up and down. Clients often believe they can manage it all in-house. This is easier said than done, and sure enough, they call us back. It’s not always the end of the road. – Priya Chopra, 1Milk2Sugars