HANGAR12 recently requisitioned a survey of 100 mid-market CPG brand managers to gather insights on what these stakeholders most value in an agency partner. We will be publishing a comprehensive report outlining all our findings later this quarter, but I wanted to share this rather interesting takeaway that jumped out immediately in our analysis.
There was a distinct division in selecting the most important success measure for an agency partner with respect to a CPG brand:
39% stated increasing brand awareness was most important.
48% stated that increasing sales was most important (retail & ecommerce).
13% stated consumer engagement was the most important.
Maybe that data point in itself isn’t all that surprising, especially since we seem to see both sales lift and awareness growth as requisite criteria (however contradictory) in most RFPs we participate in. However, once we peel back the onion a bit, we start to see a clear separation in thinking between these two groups.
Awareness vs. Sales
The sales-oriented group values formulating and executing realistic action plans 3x as much as the brand awareness group. Whereas the brand awareness group ranks account team candor/responsiveness and vendor partnerships significantly higher. Unsurprisingly, both value expertise in the consumer packaged goods category.
We go deeper and find that the brand-awareness group more highly values media planning, buying, and placement along with consumer promotions. On the flip side, the sales group rates consumer surveys and data analytics as more important.
I’m sure you’re already connecting dots here around a performance marketing vs. brand building ethos. That makes sense based on aligning the objective with the strategy, i.e. a sales objective coupled with efficient action steps, data, ROI, etc. OR brand awareness coupled with consistent media placement, consumer promotions, retailer activations, etc.
Bottom of the funnel and top of the funnel, a tale as old as time.
Why It Matters
But to circle back to the beginning, the most interesting thing we see in RFPs right now is a jumbling up of all the above in the stated objectives: increase brand awareness while driving conversion online and at retail through social media campaigns, targeted coupons, retailer specific activations, & programmatic executions.
Certainly not impossible, but definitely expensive, complicated, and on a long time horizon to accurately measure success. What we’ve seen as an agency is that when one of these objectives is selected, the narrower focus becomes significantly more effective in terms of aligning stakeholder expectations from top to bottom for a particular campaign. Consequently, demonstrating success and showing ROI (internally & externally) gets a lot easier when you reduce the variables at play. In some cases, it may even make sense to have two separate campaigns running simultaneously in their own ecosystem to avoid muddying the waters in reporting, analytics, and storytelling. And ultimately, you’re responsible for telling the story of how and why the marketing worked.
That’s where HANGAR12 comes in and in the words of one of our clients: “Hangar's work goes beyond just delivering the facts, the data, the media plan, or the creative; it tells a compelling story of our brand's journey the past year and sets the stage for 2024 and beyond.”
Reach out if we can be of help navigating this complicated brand building journey!