Beyond Direct Response: Smashing the DR Glass Ceiling

As part of McCann Birmingham's ongoing thought leadership series, Great Minds, UM Birmingham will be hosting a live webinar on Thursday 28th April at 10am.

Scaling up direct response media strategies to move into awareness building and brand favourability activity is a perennial issue. Media planning, buying, creative and measurement are all executed differently, and there can be fear and uncertainty at board level when phrases such as “higher cost per lead” and “longer-term payback” are used. So how can advertisers successfully navigate the transition from pure Direct Response to Brand Response media?

Join our specialist media team for a live webinar as they provide a practical blueprint for evolving the Direct Response model. This 50-minute session will uncover how brands can break through the “DR glass ceiling” and successfully move into the awareness building space and continue to achieve growth whilst keeping key stakeholders informed and on board. Attendees will also have an opportunity to put their media questions to the team.

This event will be took place on Thursday 28th April at 10am. Missed it? Catch up below.

Beyond Direct Response: Everything You Need to Know

How do clients who have traditionally used media in the direct response space break through that glass ceiling and successfully incorporate brand or awareness building media into their plans? And how do they avoid cancelling their brand activity at the first sign of trouble when it comes to short-term sales numbers?

The case for brand

Direct Response and Brand campaigns each have their own benefits. Direct is great for short term return (1-2 years), whilst Brand is most effective for long term return (3+ years), however Brand campaigns are usually the first victims of in-year strategic changes when sales are under pressure.

Pressure from all angles (targets, board pressure, knowledge gaps, budgets, creative challenges and inertia) can leave marketers doing nothing, relying on DR and consequently reaching the same people over and over again. Although this can help achieve short term targets, the long term benefits of brand love and fame are missed.

The blueprint for success

At UM, the Futureproof approach relies on three fundamentals.

Growth strategy

It’s essential to balance both short and long term growth strategies and never prioritising one over the other. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of short term commercial pressures, but it’s also easy to get distracted with softer metrics of plans for 5-10 years’ time.

Fluid planning

We operate in a dynamic marketplace, so huge changes in audience behaviour over time are inevitable. It’s important to recognise that there might be some groups delivering high volume right now, but there could be others waiting in the wings who could deliver value over time.

Testing & flexing

Continuous testing and flexing are crucial, but it requires agile planning and a deep understanding of the data. The most effective testing relies on really great data. This means having data from all channels in one place to allow you to easily understand the relationship between channels and identify key KPIs and goals. Evolving from attribution to correlation will provide a much better, more informative view for your optimisation.

However, there is no one single answer for what the right combination of channels is. It’s all about exploring, testing and learning.

Understanding the creative challenge

For creatives, DR and Brand are very different beasts. Brand is the guy at a party you can’t take your eyes off and wish was sitting at your table. DR is the guy who is already sitting at your table, telling you about himself and giving you his number.

Brand = product or service + personality

Brand wants to make a memorable impression for a longer-term relationship, so adding personality is crucial. In contrast, DR is all about getting immediate commitment. Whilst there are no hard and fast rules to adding personality to your product or services, there are a few things to keep in mind when developing the creative.

Connect with emotion – make us laugh, make us cry, make us feel something! Adding a layer of emotion connects with the viewer and helps remind them that your brand is human too

Keep it simple – not just the messaging in your execution, but from the very start. From the strategy to the brief to the creative department, if the process is kept simple it allows the creative team to ensure that what they deliver is simple too.

Have I seen it that way before? –This is a question the creative department asks themselves and each other continuously. It forces us to try and do something new, to do something different each time.

Ultimately, every ad is a brand ad to your customers. They don’t care about strategy or say “oh this must be a DR TV” whilst watching. With that in mind, we need to treat every ad or piece of comms as a brand ad. Regardless of its purpose, it’s still got personality.

The metrics for success

The final fundamental for successfully breaking through the DR glass ceiling is understanding the metrics and data behind what you’re doing.

Whilst cross-channel short term media dashboards are still essential, attribution models need to evolve to understand the complex inter-relationships of multi-media campaigns. Moving from attribution to correlation and having full visibility of media and KPIs allows for proper budget forecasting for realistic future growth potential. Ensuring you have your data, KPIs and measurement framework aligned for each brand and response objective at the beginning is incredibly important in achieving both short and long term success.

Want more? Watch the full webinar here or get in touch.