In a recent CMO Club virtual roundtable Paul D’Arcy, CMO of Miro, and Ryan Pitylak, Chief Marketing Officer and Founder of ZenBusiness PBC discuss the question: How do you build a brand if your company is focused on short-term wins and tying each dollar of marketing spend to performance outcomes?

Performance-based marketing is easier to defend to stakeholders because it’s much simpler to track ROI—but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better investment. As Paul D’Arcy puts it: “There’d be nothing easier as a marketer than me just buying Google ads at whatever volume I can get, in whatever price I can get, but it’s the wrong thing for the business.” 

So how do you sell your CFO on brand building when the spending may be hard to directly tie to new revenue? And how much of your budget should you be allocating to brand building?

I think of brand building as building a long-term memory structure within a person such that when they go to make a purchase, they remember you. – Ryan Pitylak

Brand building opens up your market

  • When most people make purchase decisions, they think of brands they remember first. If you miss that initial round of consideration, you miss out on the majority of the market. Only a fraction of people decide what to buy based purely on features or functional benefits. 
  • Effective awareness and brand building can dramatically increase conversion rates on your performance marketing efforts.
  • For most companies, a 60/40 mix of brand/performance marketing is ideal.

You want to be consistent, you want to be distinctive. You want to be recognizable, and of course, all of your touchpoints you want to make sure are optimized for an amazing experience. – Paul D’Arcy

Recognize that brand building is a long game

  • Performance-based marketing is about turning eyeballs into clicks and clicks into dollars as fast as possible. Branding is about creating long-term memory, so prospects who aren’t ready to buy yet will think of you in the future.
  • Eventually, all companies will hit a ceiling where investing more in performance-based marketing is no longer effective. Brand building takes time, so companies should start early.
  • A good brand is a moat against competitors. Research shows that consumers are more likely to use brand recognition as a shortcut when a market becomes competitive.

The reason to invest in brand is because it’s the highest ROI investment that you can make. – Paul D’Arcy

How to get stakeholder buy-in for brand building

  • Brand building and performance marketing don’t have to be exclusive. It’s possible to build long-term memories and have a CTA at the same time.
  • Brand building is about ROI. The benefits of a strong brand are sometimes intangible, but that doesn’t make them less real.
  • A strong brand increases optionality and business value. A business with a strong brand can pivot, move into new sectors, or launch new products more easily than one that is only known for a specific product or feature.
  • It takes time to identify what messaging works and which channels are effective. If you pitch adding more brand building campaigns into your budget mix, prepare stakeholders that it may take time to see results.