How to not get stuck in a performance marketing rut

Kris Tait, US MD of Croud
We have a problem in marketing. We're spending our lives focusing on short term tactics, at the expense of long term results, strategy and measurement.

The performance marketing rut

What’s the difference between a rut and a grave? Dimensions.

Ruts are one way: you can’t just do the same thing again and again and expect to get different results.

As marketers, we can’t expect one channel to be your entire strategy. In the talk, Kris gave the example of Facebook where only 63% of US men are on the platform, and 74% of adult Facebook users said they have taken a break from the app or deleted the app within the last 12 months.

This plays into the current environment, which is constantly shifting. Look no further than the case of TikTok potentially being banned by the US Government, Facebook boycotts, the antitrust rulings and more to show how quickly things can change. If TikTok was your only channel that proved effective, you would be in trouble.

So, multichannel works!

In the 10 Key Factors Driving Advertising Effectiveness, Mark Ritson showed that the ROAS from 1 channel = 1, but for six channels, ROAS heads up to 1.37, i.e. a 37% improvement. Mark talks about this point as with the same budget, it’s better to do Facebook AND YouTube, rather than just double Facebook.

Kris shared a case study to illustrate this point, where using YouTube audio ads, Croud was able to register a near 5x growth in branded Google Search. What this shows is that even if one channel isn’t ‘working’, the combined effect of the channels results in uplift for the brand. The argument here: more channels can be better, but you have to view them as a combined effort, rather than just siloed channels.

Short-termism vs long term

The impact of short-termism is real. Kris illustrated this point with the chart below. Here, brands start investing in marketing advertising, and eventually see their CPA rise, meaning they pull back on spending. Inevitably, this knee jerk reaction results in a reduction of spending, and the cycle begins again.

This plays into the current environment, which is constantly focused on the short term and questions we all hear like:

  • Will this display activity return an ROI?
  • Can we just work on the revenue-driving tactics for now?
  • Have you ever seen prospecting work to a CPA?
  • Can we just start with the things that will work, then expand to other tactics?
  • Love it, but does that work – other than influencing the conversion?

Kris uses the example of an eCommerce store who’s marketing activity mirrors this trend. The light blue line going across the middle shows the baseline sales for a brand declining because all these bursts of activity erode the brand equity of customers.

Strategy vs tactics

As marketers, we so often make the mistake of thinking about strategy as tactics.

Kris defines marketing strategy as defining your long-term goals and how you’re planning to achieve them. This is opposed to tactics, which are the specific actions or steps you understand to accomplish your strategy.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noice before defeat” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

A good strategy doesn’t just build on existing strengths – it creates strength. This means to say that even if one thing is working for the moment, your strategy still supports further growth.

However, new tactics don’t always mean success. Kris gave the example where one of their clients introduced a new tactic into their mix – resellers.

In this particular occasion, on the surface, the reseller programme went great – traction was high and so was sales. But this came at the cost of other channels and control over the brand, leading to a devastating result for the business. Just like new channels like the YouTube Audio ads can add to the mix, new tactics can also take away.

As marketing managers, it’s therefore our job to understand the challenge, the business model, and only then begin with a marketing strategy and the tactics to suit. Finally, we have to be sure to be measuring!


Kris gave a full talk on Marketing Attribution at the first Marketing Meetup event in New York.

So, if you would like a more complete summary, we suggest you head here.

Resources Kris recommended:

About Kris and Croud:

Our guest is Kris Tait, US MD of the agency, Croud. Croud operates throughout the world, with an enviable business model. Croud use their team of 207 to deliver projects for their 81 international clients, but also lean on their network on 2,400 on-demand specialists when required.

For The Marketing Meetup, Croud was also integral in our big move stateside. It was Carly, their Head of Marketing, who initially made the suggestion to bring The Marketing Meetup to the States, and it was Croud who also gave us the venue to do so.

Kris was the first-ever speaker of The Marketing Meetup in New York. Watching Kris speak about attribution on that day (which, by the way, you can listen to on The Marketing Meetup Podcast), we knew we had someone on our stage who was operating on another level in terms of competence, which also being personable, welcoming, and blooming smart.

Follow Kris on twitter at and on LinkedIn at


Joe Glover 0:01
superduper good, right. Good afternoon, everyone and Happy Tuesday. It’s a Tuesday, three o’clock slot. We’re really mixing up the time slots here. And it’s really great to have you here. So thank you for being here for another great webinar session. As always, do take the opportunity to pop down in the chat box, where you’re calling from, it’s always good to see so many folks from around the world. To briefly explain why it looks like I’m in the world Starkey’s room. About three minutes before this webinar started. Then the whole of ground force descended outside my window there’s now a stream of like 100 men with with streamers. It seems like cutting the grass outside. The house is awkward. So I now have to do though my window. Hopefully soundproofed but if I’m not, then apologies for any background noise. And it’s also very important to just quickly start this session by doing something Which is always very much implied. But I don’t know whether I’ve verbalised it for a little while. So I just want to say how grateful I am, that you’re here today. It’s been ages since we’ve run an event in person, that in that time, even though I miss your faces, the sense of community is like, continued. So I just want to say thank you for being part of this today. Not to me, our community is absolutely the best. And I’m so so grateful. And today, our guest is Chris tent. He’s the US MD of the agency crowd. Crowd right throughout the world with an enviable business model. They use their team of 207 in house people to deliver projects their 81 international clients, but then they also lean on the network of about 2400 individuals from across the world on an on demand basis to deliver projects when required. Just like this was the case when Daniel Gilbert from brain labs With a couple of weeks ago, when I used to work in the agency world, I used to look at what crowds were doing both with a sense of jealousy but truthfully, but also admiration and taking inspiration from their actions. On a personal level and to the wider mark to me, a community crowd was so important in the marketing misako stateside, it was actually Carly who’s the head of marketing and crowd who suggested that we take the marketing metre to New York, and it was also offered up their offices for us to deliver our first event there. So they’ve been a huge part of our journey, and I’m especially grateful for them. So thank you, it’s a crowd. Anyway, speaking of New York, Chris was actually the first ever speaker at the marketing meetup in New York. stood there on the audience. I remember feeling jetlag nervous, but also had an overwhelming sense of being welcomed. By the whole team, they’re watching Chris speak about attribution on that day, which is available on the marketing metre podcast. So he’s a second timer. I knew that we had someone on our stage who was operating. He told me not speaking out too much about grunting. And he was operating on a bit of another level in terms of competence. But while also matching that with being personable, welcoming, and just a really smart chap, today’s session is relevant, because we have a problem in marketing. We spend our lives focusing on tactics, and often that’s at the expense of strategy and measurement. I’ve been there where as a marketer, I’ve been spending all my time spinning the wheels on tactical stuff, to the point where I get frustrated, I’m not able to demonstrate my value, and there’s no long term plan for what we’re doing. That systemic within the marketing industry ultimately is getting us nowhere. Watch me is really, really easy to do. So how can we avoid that at any level in the marketing? Well, today, hopefully we’ll have a better idea by the end of the session. This session will run as a presentation, and then we’ll have a q&a element as usual. And if you wiggle your mouse, you can see down the bottom, there’s a q&a feature. That’s where you get your questions. And please don’t get your questions in the chat box because I don’t look there for the questions. It’s a lot easier to get through the q&a section. Although as ever, I just encourage us to stay positively lovely with your questions. There is a thumbs up feature to use there. So if you’re commenting, or you see a question that you like, give it a thumbs up and we’ll start taking it from the top. On the topic of the chat box, however, don’t forget to change your comments to all panellists and attendees. Otherwise, only Chris and I can see it and it would be nice to sort of get you guys conversating amongst you can amongst yourselves as well because he has meet each other as well.

Finally, I want to thank all the sponsors, all of whom have been absolutely unbelievable. Like, I don’t even know and curvy strip I don’t even know. You know, the marketing journey has been going on for years and every one of these decided to step by us in like this recent period or for a far longer period. Everyone has been well mentioned before the session in the lead in email. And there will also be mentioned afterwards and thank you, Mina. If you could do one thing for the marketing meetup to help us continue doing what we’re doing. It would be simply to do to thank the folks who are linked in those in those in that email. So I’m not going to mention in great length here, but I do want to thank pitch content cow fibre, red gay, Cambridge, Boston College, we do brand further third, like Bravo and human. Please just take the time to thank them. So I’ve seen so many lovely people. It’s coming in from people all over the world. And it’s wicked to have you here. And thank you, Caroline, thanking the sponsors, too. So Chris, is over to you, my friend.

Kris Tait 6:12
Excellent. Good morning, everyone. I’m here in

New York City in our lovely 2.0 office that is beautiful, clean and default. So I thought I’d come in today to present. I’m just gonna share my screen.

Let me know if we’re good, Joe.

Unknown Speaker 6:30
Okay. Okay.

Kris Tait 6:32
Good. So, as Joe kindly kind of alluded to, we’re going to talk about how not to get stuck in a performance marketing rut. And I’ll define what that is. And we’ll talk about why we get into it and what it looks like. It may be a chart and your data and talk about how we can get out of it, and a bit more around that as well. So that’s a quick introduction to myself. Started in the industry in 2009. And it was in a small town up in northern England and called barrack upon tweed. And I started for an internet marketing company, kind of a tech company that basically did everything possible to get you ranking on Google as a hotel or bed and breakfast or restaurant. And I think it was very interesting gave me the inner workings of Google, and it blew me away. And that’s what kind of made me interested in the marketing industry. moved to London in 2011. I joined crowd in 2012. And been there ever since, obviously, and moved to New York in 2015. And, I mean, if anything, it tells you, you know, wherever you are in the world, you can make it to New York. So I bet no one’s heard of barrack upon tweed, even if you’re from England. So it’s been it’s been an awesome journey. And we’ve been in New York for for five or six years now. And started the business over here. Got about 30 people in the office, which we’re now in Soho. And really partnering with some super exciting brands in the US as well or double AMC Eventbrite globally, so you can find me on. I mean, most of my time I’m on Twitter trying not to tweet back to Donald Trump on LinkedIn. So please, you know, connect with me. And we can be can be connections on that. In terms of the agenda, so what we’re going to talk about today is the performance marketing rut. And I’m not sure that’s an industry defined term, but I think it describes what we’re going to talk about today. Well, we’re going to talk a little bit about the current environment, politics, society, what customers are saying what the platforms are having to answer for in, in Congress. The algorithm dilemma, which is a little bit about giving control to the to the machines, rather than taking it back and doing it manually. We’re going to talk about strategy and tactics, which which Joe alluded to, I’m excited to talk about that one, and some thoughts on measurement as well. And as just said, we talked about it attribution session, the last time the marketing meet, meet up was in New York. And I thought that was really useful. So I don’t want to go into that in too much detail, but more provide a framework and some tips on what we would recommend to brands that we

work with.

Great. So firstly,

what’s the difference between a rut and a grave? Just ponder that for a second. So that’s a picture of a rut,

a tire tractor tire effectively. And what’s the difference between that and a grave? Well, the answer is dimensions. And it’s a bit of a nihilistic start to be fair, but hard truths and everything. So the point being is that when you’re in one of these ruts, the direction of travel is kind of only one way and you need to, you need to recognise that you’re in it right. And you need to recognise that you can’t get out of that rut by just testing your way out of it. Which I think is A lot of people think they can do right you know, a new tactic, a new test AB ABC, let’s get out of the rut and crack on a business will be very, very difficult. And so that’s what I want to talk about today. Why do we get stuck in it? How do we recognise it?

And how do we get out of it?

So what am I talking about when I say performance marketing, right?

The first thing and this is just for illustrative purposes, the first thing is that single channels shouldn’t be your strategy, right? And I’ve used Facebook as an example here. But when I started, and certainly when I started a crowd search was effectively the only thing that worked, right. You knew that someone was searching for you. You could stick an ad there, you could get your organic listing there. It would deliver return, deliver marketing return. And then Facebook didn’t really work back then. But it has emerged as a very good advertising channel. And now it works and Again, we’re gonna, the reason I’m doing air quotes for works is because we’re going to get into what means what works means. And but you know, 90% of the spend any new advertising spend goes to Google and Facebook still, but they’re not they’re not the internet like Google search is only there when someone’s searching. But there’s a lot of other time spent online gaming watching video wherever it might be. And as you can see from Facebook stats, you know, it is in decline across a lot of different demographics. The one on the right is huge. And this is like a recent study in 2019. But 74% of adults say they’ve either taken a break for several weeks or deleted the app entirely in the last 12 months. I’m included in that. I don’t have the app on my phone right now. I used to use it all the time, of course, but you can’t reach me if you want to advertise on Facebook.

And you know, only 63% of men,

teens as a huge group that are not really on Facebook. It’s declining. They are from lower house. Whole income families, even if they’re using Facebook, so you’ve got to be very clear on what audiences on Facebook and again, I’ve just used Facebook there this can apply to any channel. Study after study says that multi channel, not single channel multi channel works much better for brands and I know Mark Ritson was on on this podcast sorry on this webinar a few weeks ago, which was brilliant, but he presented some data in the 10 key facts about driving advertising effectiveness. That said, he basically looked at how many channels are in a campaign. And if there are that many channels, how effective is that campaign? So what you saw was, here’s an example. Let’s say the row asked for one channel, Facebook is one getting one row is just illustrative. If you six channels you will get a 37% better return. Brilliant and that only goes up and he only he only went to 10 channels but only goes up the effectiveness only goes up now. No, it’s not easy. You know, you’ve got to break down silos across your business, you’ve got to make sure marketing is choreographed and targeted across all of those channels. You’ve got to make sure that the attribution and the way you track it is somewhat cognizant of what’s going on. But the more channels you use, the better results you can drive. And here’s an example. Wouldn’t be a presentation if I didn’t stick a case study in there. It’s just a very recent one that happened with a brand that we work with that we’ve worked with for years and we’ve worked with across loads of different channels. And we recently introduced a new channel audio ads on YouTube, YouTube Music, I believe, specifically, but the big result was that it drove nearly five times more people to search for their brand that had been exposed to the to the audio ad, which is amazing because we’re not expecting people to convert from an audio ad on YouTube, but we are expecting them to convert when they search for our brands. So it’s just a very good illustrative example of introducing new channels making the effective effectiveness of all of your marketing and expand, I think the equation that mark used was, and a times b is always better than to a or to B. So for example, use Facebook and YouTube, it’s always better than double Facebook. And that’s a very good way of thinking about it and something to remember when you’re bit nervous about going into another channel. So ruts can happen when marketers think like this. And by the way, they think about this think like this a lot. It’s a very linear fashion. It’s very, you know, stuck in your way of that. Well, retargeting definitely works because that’s over here and people always come back and the rest is really strong. But when we do display doesn’t really work. And there’s loads of things in between that sometimes work and sometimes don’t work. And and I get it right this these are these Ways to say yeah, retargeting is really good. But it’s obviously good because people have been to your site and you’re blasting ads in front of them till they come back and convert. So they if you’re thinking like this ruts can start to happen, don’t think in this kind of linear way on to put it in there because it is how people think. And it’s frustrating. why it’s happening. So let’s address it. You start seeing charts like this, love this chart, I made it myself. And it effectively shows that here’s your cost of marketing, basically, your media spend, right? Let’s take, let’s just take Facebook, here’s how much you’re spending on Facebook. And this is your cost to acquire a customer. So let’s say you’re trying to get someone to sign up for your service as you so your cost per customer is really efficient down here.

And as you scale your marketing, the cost

by customer gets really expensive and therefore everyone panics. They do get their marketing more efficient. stop spending, it comes back down to this level, we’re like, great, we’ve cracked it, our CPAs Good. Let’s start spending again and it happens again. And this happens all the time. You bet you’ve seen charts like this. And it’s like when these pull backs or CPA got really expensive. And this is a simple simple chart. So if you’re seeing this, you’re probably in a little bit of a rut. And here’s a real life example from a client. And what this shows so policies if you can’t read it, I’m going to tell you so the blue, the blue is effectively their baseline ecommerce sales when they are not doing a sale, you know, money off when they’re not doing a new product launch. Yellow is a big sale green is a small sale. And what it’s what it shows you here is effectively the baseline ecommerce sales is declining over time. You can see the blue line declining over time so when they’re not doing a sale, they’re actually regression regressing as a business by it’s very hard to recognise That, because all of these great things short term, we’re giving them nice boosts to revenue and they’re probably hitting their target. But we also suggest is just targeting your current, you know, the same customers that know about you. They’re buying when there’s a sale or a new product launch, not when there isn’t. And therefore it’s you’re getting into this rhythm of like sale sale. So, and this chart, you can overlay this chart, which I’m sure quite a lot of you’ve seen, which is effectively from Burnett and field 2013, the long and short of it and it talks about long term brand building versus short term marketing, and then sales activation. And you can see here like Guess what, the people that do this sales activation short term, during the sale switch the Facebook ads back on it’s like a you know, it’s like a drug just press the button and get the get the hit. And who performs better in that first year. Actually, the person doing the sales activation, they’re performing better because they’re getting all of these great increases of revenue. Long Term brand building is not actually kicking into the year. But as soon as that comes, you’re really in a bad position here when you’re when you’re marketing is short term. And this is what’s happening in this chart behind here. So you’ve got to be looking at this longer term brand building alongside the short term activation. And I think the mix, the perfect mix is 60%. Long term 40%. Short term, very hard to get there from day one, but the least 5050, right. And by the way, the CMO is the one that gets sacked most often the CMO struggles in the first year, but he’s the one that’s there the longest, and so bear that in mind as well. And while we’re on short term thinking versus long term thinking, these are all questions that people have asked me in the last month that I’ve noted down, because I knew I was going to be doing this webinar. And and

I mean,

you know, we all ask them so They’re very, very short term questions. And they’re very frustrating to me because they’re they’re just a little bit ignorant in the way that we know, they’re not the right way to ask things. But we’ve been pushed down this kind of like performance performance, just get the revenue driving tactics, can we just do them then expand? Or if we just do them, then expand, we’ll never just, we’ll never then expand, we’ll just keep doing them. And so that’s a really, really good point. And, you know, things like, love the strategy, but, you know, will that work other than just influencing a conversion? Isn’t that the point? You know, we want to influence these conversions. And these people don’t know us, so we have to influence them. And so, you know, it does make my head explode a little bit. And I think what we can all do is just commit to not being that marketer. Think a bit more, you can be more considered in your questions. And just Be a bit more curious and strategic about why you’re asking those questions and what you want to get out of it. Because if you keep asking them, we’re gonna stay stuck in that rut. So that’s the kind of outline of the session, I think that’s what that’s we’re going to talk about. That’s performance marketing, right. That’s why we’re in it. They’re the kind of charts that you see. And so the other thing and we’ve touched on this is the over reliance on Facebook, or Google or Amazon or any single channel is risky. And there’s a clear signal of that right now, in everything that’s going on in the world.

So I posted on LinkedIn last

night that I was waiting to update all my slides to 5pm because every day something new happens on antitrust or the boycott or Tick Tock and, you know, it’s it’s very apparent and very, very in the news, and it’s interesting because I work in this industry, I’m following it. Very good. Closely but I wonder what the impact is on consumers as well. And but the point is that if you if your Facebook and Instagram is your strategy, and there is this boycott, where all of your customers expect you to be involved in that boycott, because everything around what that boycott stands for, is everything that your brand stands for. Now, therefore, if you turn on Facebook, because it’s a boycott, and Facebook is your marketing channel, your business is not going to work like it can sustain no revenue for a month. So you’re in a very tricky position. And then the antitrust case that was going on last week, by breaking up Facebook and and anti competitiveness. They’re asking very hard questions to Google and Facebook and Amazon and apple. And, you know, it’s a clear signal that they are taking this seriously whether or not in the US they do take it as seriously because the US companies as the European Union, for example, you know, Germany have just really That Facebook did abuse their power of dominance in in Germany and in Europe by combining the data from all of the networks, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and that was, you know, bad for consumers. Now consumers will have the option to opt into that or opt out of that. us are unlikely to do that, I think quickly, but it just gives you that sense of insecurity, right, if that is your business on that channel. And then obviously, the privacy stuff is huge right now. And ccpa, which is the same as GDPR in California, has been a bit lacks, has been a bit. You know, people have sort of looked down and gone, okay, we’ll do it. They are going to get much tougher on it. When we’ve seen some signals coming out that it will go to other states and then who knows and across America, but you’ve got to take privacy seriously. And we work with some hospitals, some refugee charities like they do not want their data shared by The social networks, for example. So there’s a lot of concerns here around what might happen with these platforms. Obviously, the Tic Tac tic Tock bands are gathering pace. And this was the slide that’s thinking about dating. I didn’t end up doing it. But you can see that, you know, Trump can say something to reporters on Air Force One in between is Gulf visits and don’t want to get political or you know, he can say something and things can change like that. influencers go straight on to tick tock and start pushing people to their Instagram and their Twitter, because they’re worried like the built the whole audience there and brand should be worried too, because it’s being used as this political pawn. And, and it’s getting very, very interesting. So if Tiktok were to get banned from the US, and it sets a very interesting precedent, but also for brands though, I mean, I’m speaking to a brand right now that really targets teams on tech. Talk that is absolutely that audience. And until a week ago, we were like heavily going into that as our kind of basis as our strategy and in a day can change. So we’ve got to be very careful, we’ve got to look at other channels, we’ve got to take the risk away from one channel.

And we live in this kind of

society that everyone, we all kind of, you know, mill around, and we go to work, and we get our coffee, and we go on Facebook and Instagram, and we think everything is stable. But it’s just an illusion. Like it can all change in a day.

And I think to be honest, we all know that now. 2020 I heard that aliens is next. So be prepared. And so and then the last thing to sort of mention on this is brand protection. So with a lot with all of our advertisers, I mean, some more than others, for example, hospitals are very, very cognizant of where their ads appear online and If, you know what we’ve seen with some of these brands is that they’re not prepared to advertise on some platforms that they can’t control a blacklist or whitelist, where they’re gonna hear how that can be construed like, you know, with the way these algorithms work, they’re probably not going to show your content against black lives matter Coronavirus content, because contextually that could be a bad thing. But actually, more and more brands are seeing that that’s quite nuanced. And if it’s the New York Times writing about Coronavirus, your brand might want to appear there. So you have to train these algorithms or have manual kind of manual controls to be able to say yes or no. And but we’ve all seen that this can go very, very wrong in a second, right people can screenshot your ad post on Twitter and your brand looks very bad. So it’s something to be aware of and it does, again, just limit the channels that we can go on.

Unknown Speaker 25:56

Kris Tait 25:58
the other things to talk about in

This kind of control V not control and diving in on one channel versus multiple is the machine learning and algorithmic kind of optimization methods of the platforms. And we we all lean on the machines a lot. I think Facebook and Google and Twitter and Snapchat, they’re all using algorithms to optimise they’re all using that opt in data from all of their consumers and how they use the platforms in order to optimise and you know, there are good Bad’s for this, the good is that it normally works pretty well. So why wouldn’t you? And we can’t like I can’t do that much optimization. Like I can’t know that that person just searched that term, and is online searching another term and visited that website yesterday,

and then up my bed temps and on that person,

but the algorithms can do that. So therefore, it makes sense to use them. And so I understand we use them. We have to lean into the way that Facebook, Google etc going that pushing us to to use them. But there are trade offs. So there is a lack of control with a lot of these products, for example might be budget control, creative control, and campaign budget optimization. And Facebook is taking away a bit of the control and optimising optimising your your whole campaign rather than sets ad sets within the platform. And then Google’s smart shopping, which is, you know, relatively new product, but more or using Google Shopping across the internet, whether it’s on YouTube or display ads, in Gmail, etc. And again, it’s using the algorithm to optimise for you, you are lacking control there. But Google and Facebook are pushing people to use those products. CBO has been paused a little bit, and they haven’t pushed it on people. You can still not use that if you want.

But again, that that leads to a lack of transparency.

And the other thing is that a lot of these algorithms can be really good at hitting your objective, but bad at scaling your marketing. So you know, they can be excellent at hitting your cost per customer that you want. But they’re not they’re not able to like scale it and spend money and it takes quite a lot of time for them to learn if there’s not enough spend on on data. So that is a limitation. And as marketers, we hate that we hate that we can’t control it and scale and growing up as a search marketer. We love the control, like we love to be able to control to control everything. And and then there’s the bad side of it as well. So the black box element, you know, there are a lot of platforms out there maybe retargeting platforms or things that you just can’t see into. You set your budget, you set your goal and that’s it. can’t know where they’re appearing. You just don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know how many times the targeting consumer is not nice and I get why people use them but it is a bad thing. algorithms. The other thing is that it can limit the blacklist sites or the or the negative keywords that you don’t want to appear against. Not great again, when I’m talking about brand protection and brand safety. And then obviously, you know, if you’re bad data in equals bad performance, and if your conversion events are not quite right, if the tag isn’t firing, if the first Pi Day you’re feeding into it is not great, like it’s a bit messy, and it’s just all of your customers. And then it’s not going to work very well. And you can’t just rely on the algorithms to do that. And then lastly, you know, don’t just trust it blindly. And don’t drive into the lake when the GPS tells you to. And the office isn’t the only case of this. I think a lot of cases have this worldwide where people do this. So just be careful, right? Don’t just trust the machines completely. You need to be able to control it. And so if we do give the power to the machines, what can we Focus on

Excuse me. So,

next to the next bit strategy versus tactics, I think

one of the big things that is happening is that we’re focusing on these tactics. And we’re focusing on these short term hits to our sales. And we’re focusing on things that we think are going to work quickly. And it’s all short term thinking. And it’s tactical. It’s very tactical. And we have gotten into this pattern of doing it and no one’s really taking a step back and looking at why we’re doing it. So a lot. I actually think a lot of the time, when people are talking about tactics, they think they’re talking about strategy. Maybe they are talking about strategy in their mind, but they’re actually talking about strategy tactics. And these two get interchangeably used a lot in advertising. And it can be very tricky. It can be very confusing for everyone. But it is worth just remembering what each of them are. And I’m sure I mean, again, it’s very basic, but it’s worth just stating this strategy. Of course, looking at your long term goals, how you’re planning to achieve them, your mission, tactics are the things that are going to get you there, right, the key actions that are gonna make you hit your strategic objectives.

In other words, Facebook, so you shouldn’t really say,

what’s the Facebook strategy? It should be what tactics we’re using on Facebook to hit our strategic KPI a bit more of a sentence but correct and I think the key point of this you know, quote, this isn’t new two and a half thousand years ago people talking about this. They don’t they’re very they need they need each other right. You can’t do strategy without tactics. You can’t do tactics by strategy. That bit pointless without each other, right? She just sort of navigating nowhere and So this is a really good quote, strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory and tactics without strategy or just noise, before the defeat kind of plays into that forms marketing rock term as well. So a good phrase framework to remember and just a reminder of what goes into each. What I think when when you peel back the spreadsheet, or the Google Slides deck that someone’s come up with, and say, you know, what, what is this trying to achieve? Like, what are the objectives? What’s your budget? How are you measuring it?

Most of the time, like, I’m

not really sure on that, but Facebook ads, and so you know, just remember why, what these things are, when you’re diving into like trying to achieve something for your brand. Have you have you done? Have you looked at what the competitors doing? Have you done a simple SWOT analysis, right? These tools have been around forever. Have you done the four P’s Have you defined Target, like, what’s the target that’s going to make your business successful business and a lot of people come to crowds or me and say, we don’t have a target you guys give us that? And that’s fine. That is fine. You know, that is our job. But I don’t think it’s that hard. I think I think you can work things back you go, what is our, what do we need to hit for this to work? Like, right at the top? Clearly, we can’t lose money, like no business can lose money for a long time. What do we need to do, and work it back, work it all the way back to say, okay, that’s what we need. This is how many customers we need. This is how much we can afford to pay for a customer. Therefore, this is our budget and work out your your timeline on that, you know, at the start, you’re gonna have to invest. If you keep investing for that three months at the level of it not working, then it’s not going to work. So tell me what you need. Tell me what what how it’s gonna work and and then work on the tactics of how to achieve that. And I think that’s the very important bit, have the things on the left make sure you thought about it before you dive into tactics Facebook strategy. You see, I just did it Facebook strategy. And before you dive into to what you’re doing on these channels and tactics are pretty clear lifecycle lifecycle CRM, PPC, content marketing, Google Shopping, tick tock, etc. And there are loads of nuances of each one of them because there are many products on each on each platform. This is when I was doing sort of a bit of research for this talk. And this was probably my favourite quote that I came across. And it’s from a book called good strategy, bad strategy by Richard remelt. A good strategy doesn’t just draw on existing strength, it creates strength. So what I took from this is that, you know, your strategy can’t be to just do do the tactics that work and keep doing them because you’re going to deplete yourself over time. And in the same way, you know, if you you One your strategy to strengthen itself over time. So you should choose tactics that reinforce and build strength as they are deployed in your marketing strategy. And they, they do require upfront costs. But as they proceed, you don’t see this kind of like, up, down, up, down, up down, you see the long term brand building. And if one falls down, if Tick Tock gets banned, your business, the works, your marketing strategy still works, other other channels rise up and support that one that’s failing. And so a good marketing strategy doesn’t lean into existing tactics that work. It creates strength by building brand awareness, expanding your audience and scaling your business is the modern quote of that one. But be careful, because new tactics don’t always equal success, and you have to be clear on why you want to do those new tactics. So this is a simple kind of illustration. I have a client that we worked with a few years ago. And they were doing really well. DTC, you know, selling products on their website direct to consumers. And then they started introducing some niche kind of reseller agreements with the likes of Amazon for people like that. And they noticed that was doing quite well. So they started ramping up the orange line in q4 ready for ready for the sales Black Friday Christmas. And but what what we lost is the brand was all of the control over price and promotion. And we didn’t have any incentives to bring customers back. So customers just went shopping at Amazon, Sephora and everywhere else and we lost all of the business on the site. So it looks great. Look how good that reseller programme looks. But it was terrible for the business. We lost all the customers we lost the direct relationship. And and we’re on this sort of like short term here, business decline and it was very hard to get back. So you have to be careful the tactics need to make sense for your business.

And so the point is, don’t think like this, we’ll try not to try to be a bit more considerate about the strategy and how the tactics are gonna, you know, achieve that and think more like this. So, you know, what, what are you actually trying to achieve? What’s the challenge? What is this thing that your business is going to, you know, blow everyone out of the water with? Do you have that, like, if you’re a marketing manager, does does your boss have that? Does the CEO Can you tell you that? Try and get it? And then the business model should obviously try to address that challenge via metrics that make sense or a product that makes sense. Then you’ve got your marketing strategy, then you’ve got your marketing tactics. And don’t think like doesn’t work work sometimes have a model to measure it? And, you know, we’re going to come on to this in a second. But if you

sort of saw a tweet yesterday that said, there isn’t a place pyramid that a, there isn’t a business problem that a pyramid on the slide can’t solve.

It’s pretty, it’s pretty funny. And it’s actually probably true. So as long as you’ve got this thinking like this, you’ll get somewhere, right? You start making sense of why you’re doing these tactics. And you shouldn’t be doing the tactics if we don’t achieve your business model and the challenge that you’ve set out to do. So success, I want the last section here. And success doesn’t come without measurement. And measurement is very difficult. And so I wanted to give a couple of Well, there’s a couple of slides from the presentation that I did in the last marking me up and only only a couple, just to give you an idea of where we’re coming from on this marketing attribution challenge. And so to set the scene, most of us talked about digital attribution to start with. And so that’s when credit is assigned to a digital touch point. So someone’s clicked on an ad someone’s viewed in ads or downloaded an app and we all get really obsessed with this. And then there are a couple of other ways that we can do attribution. So econometrics or media mix modelling, which is a regression analysis and it looks at all of your sales as a business and then pairs it up with other factors like when you turn on your TV ads, or when you spend 100 k on Facebook or whenever you did something else. And it’s, you can only do this after the fact. And so it’s great to kind of understand big activity, but it’s not great for optimising media on the fly. controlled experiments are another good way of doing it where you would say, Okay, let’s look at Northumberland. It’s not that many people in Northumberland where I’m from, and the south of Scotland, two different counties, two different sort of areas in the UK. And let’s do one, we’ll put advertising dollars into one we weren’t let’s see the impact of the sales like the uplift on sales, right? And you can kind of look at it like that, and we do that a lot over here with Different states to try to understand the impact of media in the different states. And then over the last 10 years, I think it’s fair to say that most of us have done this. So we’ve ever relied on last interaction. The last thing that delivered the sale, give that the credit. Or we’re on this kind of road to say, well, let’s give things equal credit, or let’s give things the first touchpoint credit. And we’re getting a bit more of an understanding of digital touch points. And you probably started sort of playing with this in Google Analytics, where you have a last interaction and the first interaction and the position based and you have all of your channels nicely defined, and then you say, Well, okay, well what happens if we give organic search First, click OK, it looks less valuable than last year than last click, and you start, and that’s very useful exercise to do. But people are starting to get obsessed with digital touchpoints. And I like I like digital attribution, not having something to go on is also a mess. See, but we can’t expect to get to this perfect ultimate attribution. Because things break, technology’s clunky. And third party cookies are going to get stopped in Google Chrome. And there’s just so many limitations to this. And I think we have to give up on this having the ultimate digital attribution, because there’s not going to be they’re just not, you know, you look at Apple kind of axing idfa. With app tracking, there’s loads of limitations and with privacy is only going to get harder to track people all across the internet. So what we’re doing to begin to be a bit more practical. And there’s two more slides and this is kind of how we think about it. And this is a an example from one of my colleagues that presented it to a brand and and talked about what they should be doing. And the first thing is this is a if no one is, if anyone hasn’t signed up to Avinash Kaushik email is a Google Digital Marketing evangelist analytics guy, brilliant email comes out I think once a week and it is always really, really good. But he talks about slaying the data puking dragon. And what he’s talking about here is that people are obsessed with metrics and obsessed with tracking everything.

And there isn’t, there isn’t a lot of kind of point or productivity in focusing on metrics, metrics, metrics, metrics, like click through a, just everything it gets in the way of what you’re trying to achieve. So you should focus on KPIs and just eliminate metrics. Really, should i’d scary, but you should. But you can’t have too many KPIs. Right? That will also be very bad for your company. So what if your CEO, your CFO, your boss, your director, they will give you five KPIs, you’ve got 20 KPIs, not gonna happen, you’re not gonna be able to do anything you’d be paralysed and not be able to run marketing and be scared. Do it. And but also, you know, I think one of the key things that you should remember is to have one objective one moonshot what this business is going towards. And if someone can’t tell you that in your business, then you’re in a little bit of a pickle. Because then how can you create all your KPIs if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve? And other than your little sort of box over here, where you do some paid search. So we think that you know, you should have one or two really key performance indicators but you need BFFs. For all KPIs means that the other KPIs can can give you an indication of why you hit your main KPI and i’ll come on to that in a second. Measurement should be forward looking, everyone spent way too much time looking back and trying to diagnose what happened and never quite getting to it making a decision on bad data. And moving forward with that, and it might not be the right decision, and then WWE what why expected outcome should always be looked at And so more specifically, keeping it simple. Far too many people look at this stuff. And it is the inflight metrics. It’s the diagnosis, diagnostic metrics and the things that you’re looking at daily weekly, and we’re obsessing over like click through rate, CPC rankings and things like that. And it gets in the way, what it does is it makes us make knee jerk reactions. When we see that a ranking has just dropped from one to three, we panic and the marketing strategy goes out the window, and the next three weeks are working out why that keyword dropped and doing everything to get the backup, when actually it could just be a fluctuation in the way that Google sees your page. And so, again, one of my colleagues, colleagues calls it the line of being worried. Don’t worry about the stuff on the left of this line. And just as long as you’re hitting your KPI, don’t worry about it. And that gets us on to the KPI. So the core KPI, I’ve made this one up in this instance, but it’s a good KPI increase revenue 30% from 1 million to 1.3 million for the financial year of 21. Very good KPI right has the number that you want to increase it by. It has the benchmark, which you did 1 million last year. It has a time that you need to achieve it in the year of the financial year of 2021. And it’s one thing increase revenue. So if you know and along the way, you have KPIs that you need to hit to achieve that. And they should be looked at as are we doing the right job here? Do we need to change anything but there shouldn’t be knee jerk reactions. If you have this one core KPI, then everything here can make it a bit more sense. And you can say no to people. It’s not going to achieve our KPI. You want to boost that tweet, no not doing it. And you know there’s so many things that you can start going it’s not going to hit the company KPI and it’s very hard to argue when people say, not worth doing. So this is kind of how we were thinking about it for the brand. And it starts really helping just solidify in their mind. Okay, so this is what we’re going to look at, we’re going to look at it quarterly with the CMO, we’re going to check on it monthly, and we’re going to check on it by the diagnostic metrics, but we’re not going to change our strategy based on Okay, we didn’t quite hit our revenue by 10%. This month, let’s do loads of sales to get it back up. Because then you’re just working in this short term thing. And you go back to that chart with the blue declining ecommerce revenue over time. So hopefully, that’s helpful. There’s a lot of nuance to tracking but it’s key to try and get it as simple as possible. And then you should always have your moonshot as well, right? gives you a bit of hope it gives you direction gives you something to aim for, which might be market share. Again, you need to define it don’t don’t just say market share.

So let’s wrap this up. We talked about are you in a rut or grave. You know, recognise it, understand you’re in it, work out how you can get out of it. And don’t get stuck in that kind of linear. This channel works back channel doesn’t work way of thinking. And try very hard not to rely on one channel or two channels for your strategy just because they work. And remember tactics be strategy, but be deliberate in your language, be deliberate in your thinking, be deliberate in your planning, and then measurements hard and no, it’s hard, but have a framework that you can hold yourself accountable for. And if you have that, then your job becomes easier because you can say yes, you can say No, you know what you’re aiming for. And track try and have fun. I mean, it’s hard, but we’ll try. And that’s it.

Joe Glover 47:47
Brilliant, did amazing, like from start to finish and like, I think the quote right at the end there we were saying about don’t change the strategy to match the short term metrics, the fact that you bought it all the way around. From start to finish was Yeah, pretty bloody incredible. So thank you there was so much there that incredible work. And likewise, we’ve had some folks being saying stuff like, you know, get me these slides now, because it was that good. So, so just breathing work. And we’ve got about 10 minutes for questions. Do you mind if you stop sharing your screen, mate, and we’ll, we’ll see your lovely face. There we go. Sweet. So we’ve got a number, I’ll take them from the top, but I will say might throw a few of mine as we go. As I say we’ve got about 10 minutes, so we’ll keep it short and sweet. And so the first one is from Daniel, who says, I think we’ve all suffered with bosses or with clients of bosses, who don’t buy into long term thinking, how do we get them to understand long term strategy compared with short term tactics? Now, I think this will be largely covered in what you’ve already said. But as a short and sweet answer is there potentially even The way that he navigated those, those quotes, which I’m pretty sure that we’ve all heard, at different points in our careers.

Kris Tait 49:07
I think one of the things that’s always worked very well for us is presenting them with the data that just shows them what’s happening. That chart that we showed earlier, with the blue line declining over time as the baseline of sales. That chart doesn’t get through to your boss that were in decline, when we’re not doing sales, then it’s never gonna get through to them. So you bet it did. It did get through to them. You need to show them it’s happening, and present the data, do some analysis, and it really, that is the key thing that will get through to someone, not just saying it.

Joe Glover 49:46
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And if I was to take it one step further. So you’ve given the example of some data if you can’t find the data, where do you Go. I mean, do you see the logic? Or do you? How do you the magical or what, what would you do if you’re doing something that’s never been done before as an example?

Kris Tait 50:13
Probably, I would go back to all the theory on it. I wrote an article about the short term CMOS recently. And it was just argument, it was an argument for like not sacking CMOS after year because they’re not achieving the goals. And because if you’re just getting into this constant cycle, and there was like, the gap cmo who came in with an amazing strategy, long term strategy and sort of like a big strategy for turning the brand around and by time she could even do it, she got sacked. And this is constantly happening. I think if you build up some of that theory, and shot I mean the Name field and that field and long and short of it is available. Good piece on if you can read that around longer talk longer short term building with many case studies. And I think there’s a tonne of case studies out there with brands that don’t exist anymore and diagnosis their marketing. And so yeah, I’d say research come, you know, what I’ve always done is come to the table with research and things that you can do about it and new products that you can use, you know, you Everyone should aim to be the smartest person in the room, right? When you go to that, when you go to that meeting with your boss and your cmo, you’re saying things that they can’t argue with? You’re in a great position.

Joe Glover 51:38
Cool. Okay, so we’ve got a we’ll take one from Kevin first because I read that and then we’ll go to the one from Milan. So the question from Kevin reads, in terms of leaning on the machines, is there a minimum number of clicks slash budget size that you recommend the campaign has before even attempting to use machinery as as a fundamental part of the job. And I guess I would also add, do you think there’s a baseline responsibility of marketers to understand the platform before we look to automate it as well?

Kris Tait 52:12
So the first question is that there is a baseline. And it isn’t something that isn’t something that and there is like one answer, because the platforms are all different. But you know, there are many cases where on some platforms, you need 50 conversions a day. And that’s very difficult for some brands, right, that might sell a very high product price item or they’re not spending enough money. So what you can do is obviously move your conversion event a little bit further up. So the conversion event for a company that we work with is actually add to cart because it’s a very big item. It generally takes 90 days to decide that you want to purchase the item. So when you put it in your cart, that’s a huge signal that you’re interested and there are a lot more people putting it In the car, so then we can optimise for people that look like that person is optimising in the same way. Right? And so that’s a good way to get around the sort of limitations and budgets and just think about, okay, if only 10 people are converting a day 300 people getting in there, or maybe 1000 people getting in the card a, let’s use that. Yeah. The second question was around understanding the platform. What kind of like what it does for your brand? or? Yeah,

Joe Glover 53:28
yeah, I mean, so I mean, as an example, I guess Google ads have the option now to automate your bidding. However, if you went in there as a newbie, and you just let Google run the ship without understanding the platform first, then presumably, you could lose out. But that being said, the flipside is the options less automated, so why wouldn’t you? So do you think marketers have that responsibility to learn or can we just leave in some machines? A little bit more.

Kris Tait 53:57
I think that we should be curious. We should definitely we do have the responsibility to learn about it. You know, there are many instances where people get tripped up, because some of the small print might say, Well, actually, we’re going to your budgets, 100 bucks, but we have the ability to go 20% over under that if we see the opportunity for your brand, and then all of a sudden, you’ve spent 120, and you’re like, they’re my budgets, 100. And a lot of stuff like that, you know, there’s a lot of things where they can do that. So you’ve got to be very careful about how you manage your budgets on a monthly basis. And I think we should all be very curious about how these things are working. And it just makes you smarter, and it makes you understand, like, why you should use that for your brand, rather than just diving in to the things that work easily. So yeah, I’m not discouraging people from using the machines. I think it’s very useful, and it saves a lot of time, or what you spend your time on doing. Now, there are loads of things

Joe Glover 54:58
that make sense. See? And so we’ll go to a question from James, he says. And so, in fact, to give it a context, we did a bit of research with an oximeter. A couple of months ago now, where we asked agency signing whereas client side, what were the things that matter to them the most. And overwhelmingly, on the client side of things, the thing that they said they valued the most was implementation. So James’s question is, Do you find that you end up helping with the strategy part is almost like unpaid work in the start, in order to deliver the crap tactics that the brand should be focused on? And sort of like implement later stage? So I guess, do you and if you don’t, then how’d you get around that? made

Kris Tait 55:54
amazing question. I mean, it’s spot is actually spot on with what we have done. Previously, I think, you know, because we built ourselves or previously had built ourselves over the past 10 years as a performance marketing agency. So people come to us, for the channels that are performance marketing and expect performance cost they do. That’s what we say we do. And but you know, it’s difficult if someone comes and says, Well, we want you to run our paid search in isolation of everything else that’s going on in the business. And so we have obviously recognised that over the last three or four years. And now, our proposition is more around, you know, working with clients on research, data and insights, planning, and feeding it all into a Reporting Suite that enables you to look at all channels in the business. Because if we’re just running, paid search or, or Facebook ads for a brand, then we get held accountable for that channel, but actually, all the channels interact and if we don’t see what’s going on With those channels, we can’t advise that business very well on what they should do. And so more and more is what I’m saying is more? Sorry? The answer is yes. We have to work on strategy at the start without getting paid for it to make sure that our job is good in the end. But more and more now, we don’t really work with brands that just want us to do one thing. And we want to be more involved with brands who wants us to consult with them on what’s best for their business. And, and that is a partnership. it you know, whether you say you’re an agency or partner, being a partner to the brand is the key thing that makes the brand successful and successful. And our business is set up to do that now. So we wouldn’t dive into Facebook without having a strategy anymore.

Joe Glover 57:48
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And actually, this leads on nicely to Mark’s question, and I think it’ll be a largely similar answer in different words, which is as an agency, how do you ask a marketing to pass Do coordinating with to actually go back and reprioritize on strategy. And the words he says is, without looking like a smart ask. Because, you know, it’s obviously there’s a human element here as well. So how do you manage those relationships with marketing departments?

Kris Tait 58:17
Yeah, is a tricky one.

What we do is we have layers in our organisation that match the layers and the clients organisation. So, you know, in order to events in order to convince the CMO that this is not the right way to do things, we can’t just keep talking to our day to day contact about it. And so therefore, you know, I need to have a level where I’m speaking to the CMO or the CEO once a month or once a quarter to diagnose what’s going on between our teams and and affect change, right because if I if I’m seeing things that my team is telling me that really frustrated with because the client isn’t doing this or isn’t quick in office, In the progress of this campaign that are needed, you have to tell the CMO that that’s happening, and that filters down. And it’s not about calling people out. It’s not about saying that someone’s not doing their job because everyone is busy. And most people are kind of a little bit under resourced in brands. And, and that’s why they use agencies, of course, but what we do is try and affect it on those different levels within the brand. And then it does work. It really does work. Being honest, we never used to do that, because we were small, and we had to, you know, we would manage a campaign and Facebook, have an account manager, that’ll be a thing, you know, with more and more clients and grow and grow. But now, we know that that’s the way to be successful. You have to manage brands on many different levels and be the partner that you said that you were going to be in the pitch. And so that’s how we do it. We don’t expect to have these conversations every day on the week. You know, the weekly calls and stuff and it happened it won’t yeah

Joe Glover 1:00:00
That’s perfect. And I’ll finish off with one question because I’m like, I need to be respectful of everyone’s time, despite it being so, so interesting. We’ve got this question from Andrea, who asks, and this again, links quite nicely. How do you influence other stakeholders in the business who have a more linear thinking way. So for example, sales or operations, and we will focus very much on the marketing teams here. And of course, we interact with other folks a lot here. So if there’s a more useful way to phrase the conversation, then potentially how you look at it and create a crowd or you can speak about it more why this happens.

Kris Tait 1:00:39
So how do we influence other teams in the business on marketing? Yes. Yeah.

And education, I think, is a big one. So

yeah, we need we need to what we do for a lot of a lot of the brands in the US is monthly education, training sessions. That Maybe, you know, programmatic display one on one programmatic display want to give them an understanding of how this stuff works and empower them to be able to do things within their department that could help the marketing teams sell more of their products. And one of the big things that makes me think that question that you just asked me is that some of the brands that we work with sales team or operations team or the merchandising team, still own channels that I would expect marketing to own? That might be Facebook, that might be email that might be sorry, not Facebook, Amazon, email, maybe the CRM stuff and it’s not closely tied to the marketing team. And marketing runs the world, right? Like if we can, right, you agree with this, it knows about your product and how good it is and what it does. Then what’s the point in all these operations teams that make the business run super efficient like needs people to come and buy your product? And so yeah, education was the big thing for us. And and I think the other thing would be just presenting the data on what’s happening, giving them the data, say, if you were able to help us with this, you know it, why aren’t we leaning into Amazon, right? The marketing team don’t own it. Therefore, their objectives are drive people to our website. And that’s all they targeted on. But for the business, it makes so much sense to lean into Amazon, but it’s not owned by the marketing team. So you have to go and educate and you have to go and show them the data that says do this, as you know, your business is going to do better. Without we’re not trying to lose people’s jobs, which sometimes it feels like because you saying my child’s not working as well lean into that one person that runs email gets very worried. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to still gonna be a job for them. We’re just trying to improve and expand their business

Joe Glover 1:02:50
as we can. Right I feel I’ve actually been writing down a bunch of questions which we haven’t been able to get to. But that’s because the thought was so fascinating, and there’s been a bunch of great come in as well. So do an incredible job. So thank you very much for spending the time and thank you to everyone that took the time to attend to I’ve no doubt he got a lot of value from it. You know, thank you all so much for being here, as ever. The talk will be available on the blog afterwards for about three, two podcasts afterwards. We’re running a webinar next Tuesday as ever, and we’ve also got compensation club on Friday. So thank you, everyone here for being here today. Please do take the opportunity to thank the sponsors in the follow up email. And thanks, Chris for taking the time put the effort in three

Unknown Speaker 1:03:41
three, take care of them.

Transcribed by