Performance Marketing Best Practices

By: David Sweet, VP of Marketing and Growth at Spruce

As the competition for consumer attention continues to heat up, marketers are pushed to elevate their brand positioning through newer, more appealing methods. Performance marketing is one unique and strategic way to reach customers outside of traditional marketing channels, and has a proven track record of fueling business success even in a turbulent market. The key difference between traditional and performance marketing is that with performance marketing you pay for the anticipated outcome and hold yourself accountable to your results (and the efficiency of those results), such as leads, versus the standard payment for a broader campaign regardless of outcome. Performance marketing can be an invaluable asset for growth because of its tie to the delivery of results, which enables us to continually optimize our spend. Blending performance marketing with a qualitative view on investment in brand and traditional campaigns is the quickest and most efficient way for marketers to prove they are truly masters of their craft.

Why It’s Time to Invest in Performance Marketing

When it comes to performance marketing, it’s never too soon to start investing. Why? There are a few key benefits brands can gain from implementing a performance marketing plan. First, you’re likely to see an increase in general brand awareness, as no campaign is truly 100% performance or 100% brand, there is always a crossover. Using performance marketing methods allows you to increase the public perception of your brand, while personalizing the message, and driving a desired action at the same time. It helps establish trust and sets your brand up for increased engagement with performance initiatives down the line.

Marketers utilizing performance marketing are also likely to increase revenue streams, specifically through affiliate marketing. This method allows your team to reflect on how your short term campaigns are impacting the larger and long term goals. It opens your brand up to a variety of voices to tell the consistent narrative you’re pushing.

Lastly, performance marketing offers a more creative way to reach those audiences you haven’t yet swayed. This can result in higher levels of engagement, considering traditional marketing doesn’t allow for that heightened interaction with customers. With traditional marketing, marketers are forced to play more of a long game and cross their fingers. With performance marketing, marketers can pursue a short term strategy with quick results that can become indispensable for generating quick leads and sales. To be clear, traditional and brand marketing is and should be a piece of the puzzle, but performance marketing is the vital piece that brings it all together.

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How You Can Measure Against Performance Marketing

A huge part of properly utilizing performance marketing methods is the measurement of results, both short and long term. One important way to ensure your team is delivering high value is by setting key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are a quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific objective. Setting these before beginning a campaign allows you to not only track performance progress, but also confirms that your efforts are consistent with the greater business goals.

For example, marketers can use measurable strategies such as cost-per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-action (CPA) to measure performance. These methods guarantee that brands are only paying for methods that will deliver results. CPA is a performance marketing model in which leads are only paid for if they complete an action like purchasing a product. Alternatively, CPL is when an advertiser pays a predetermined price for each lead generated. By alternating and testing out these two methods, marketers are able to pivot their strategy if they aren’t seeing a return on their investment. The data collected throughout campaigns is crucial in deciding which marketing strategies you should continue moving forward with. By taking your performance marketing data into account, you are able to bring evidence of your success to ensure buy-in for additional investment from key business stakeholders.

Deciding which Performance Marketing Strategies are Right for Your Team

 Now that you know all of this, how do you get started? How do you know which specific marketing strategies are the perfect fit for your brand? When you decide to begin your brand’s performance marketing journey, there are a couple of things you’ll want to keep top of mind throughout the whole process. For starters, marketers should always choose the strategy that allows for maximum alignment with the greater goals of the business as this will ensure marketing credibility in the entire organization.

From there, you should hone in on what you want to achieve, then see which performance marketing method most closely aligns, taking into account timeliness and relevance. For example, affiliate marketing is best for immediate cash flow into the business, whereas sponsored content is best for increasing engagement on social media and establishing trust. Which you choose to pursue ultimately depends on your goals, and when, how and why you want to reach potential customers.

Performance marketing is ever evolving, and while this is not a comprehensive guide to it, it’s a sure place to start. Marketers can expect quick and positive results after implementing performance marketing effectively. It’s important for the long term success of your organization to jump in sooner and reap the benefits. As you make performance marketing decisions down the line, keep your overarching goals at the forefront, because performance marketing is an effective way to boost your brand at all stages of its life.

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