Ready for a Reboot: Performance Marketing as a Challenger

What is performance marketing? How to get your Challenger Brand started.

At 5&Vine, we believe Challenger Brands are born out of discomfort. Rather than being driven by purely profit, Challengers are hungry to upend the status quo. Over the past months we have been using our blog and platform to inform brands looking to the power of community, commitment to the environment and even Dr Dre, in hopes of being adaptive and using discomfort to survive and thrive.

Throughout all of this, there has been one constant; one thread that ties everything together: There is no better time for brands to reboot alongside society. To rewrite your playbook to deliver great impact – socially and economically.

As you do reboot, there are a number of important points to consider, including your approach to performance marketing. In short, performance and digital marketing is when you invest in marketing that encourages consumers to complete a specific action – such as a sale, lead or click.

Particularly in a world led by analytics and data, performance marketing is useful and holds a number of clear benefits. First, because it’s charged only by an advertisement’s performance, you know where the value is placed. Second, because payment depends on these results, you’re given clear, accurate data in return.

We understand that staffing and budgets have been impacted, and you might not have the resources to dedicate a substantial amount to your digital acquisition campaigns but Challenger Brands need to invest in growth. Over the past months we’ve been working with Challengers so they can navigate these uncertain times to achieve measurable results. We’re committed to helping you do the same. So whether or not you engage an agency, here are some considerations to help you think about performance.


Step 1: Start from First Principles

You’ve engaged in performance campaigns and either paused your campaigns or reduced your spend to weather this storm. Some things have changed, so before you jump back in, let’s revisit your value proposition, messaging and target customer.

  • How has my target been impacted by COVID in terms of their mental & physical health, employment and social connection? Is there an alternative, or additional, target that has emerged?

  • Given that context, does my brand still play the same or an evolved role in their life?

  • Will the same positioning and messaging resonate? If not, is this temporary or permanent? How can we be helpful to them in the interim?

  • Does my pricing, size and assortment strategy still make sense? Should I be considering alternatives?

  • Has my competitive set changed? How has their pricing, sizing, assortment and messaging changed? Are customers seeking out new alternatives than in the past?

  • Where is my target spending their time, and where would they be most receptive to my message?

By answering these questions you’ll be able to thoughtfully define your new approach, including an evolution to your messaging, pricing and bundles, target audience, and possibly the channels and types of advertisements you want to use.


Step 2: Develop & test your hypotheses

Answering the above questions is likely to reveal a variety of possible answers but may not deliver the clarity you desire. Don’t worry. You have options and now you need to whittle it down to your chosen path(s).

We lovingly refer to this as the Mr. Potato Head phase, where you mix and match the different elements – headline copy, body copy, imagery, CTA, and targeting – and test them relative to your historical campaigns, to determine which works best.


Step 3: Establish clear KPIs & evaluate performance

Based on your tests, you will be able to evaluate ad and campaign performance at each stage of the funnel.

Each channel you advertise on will offer its own way to report results, but you should implement tracking on your website so you can compare each channel and campaign directly. We recommend Google Analytics, but there are other products available such as Adobe Omniture.

If you want to get information on specific actions completed on your website, be it a purchase or lead form submission, you’ll need to introduce deeper tracking to your website such as Goals and/or Ecommerce.

Allocating a specific cost-per-action will be beneficial in the long-run for all of your marketing strategies, be it online or offline. Once you’ve defined the highest price you’re willing to pay for a purchase, you can use your conversion rate to determine the corresponding highest cost per lead and/or cost per click.

Working backwards from these metrics will ensure you’re able to keep your return on investment firmly in mind.


Step 4: Scale & continue testing

The steps identified above should reveal the winners and losers. Pick the ones with the strongest performance and begin scaling them. But know that the platform algorithms can’t deal with major investment changes in short periods of time.

Such changes shock the system and their learning algorithms largely reset. We recommend no more than 30% per week. As for the campaigns that didn’t work, evaluate the differences in messaging, targeting and creative relative to the top performers, both to learn and determine whether you want to edit and retest. We strongly recommend continuous testing as your high performing Ad sets will reach a point of diminishing returns, and you need to be prepared with follow on Ads for when that moment happens.

At 5&Vine, we understand the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses, and are helping a wave of Challengers not just navigate this situation as seamlessly as possible, but reboot with a new perspective. Though the above are steps you can introduce to make change, we’re here to help. Whether it’s in a supportive role or as your performance lead, you can reach out to the 5&Vine team here.

For more 5&Vine insight, check out our winning process for developing a startup go-to-market strategy,  complete with a free downloadable template you can use for your brand.

A powerful go-to-market strategy is unparalleled in its importance. As well as clarifying why you’re launching a specific product or service, it helps determine who it’s for, and how you’re going to get them to engage with and buy it at scale so you can reach revenue, market share, and profitability expectations. In short, a good go-to-market strategy should offer all the clarification you need.

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Ready to challenge the
status quo and win?

👋 I'm Rahul, founder and CMO at 5&Vine. Reach out to schedule an intro call about your marketing challenges and let's assess how 5&Vine can help your brand win.

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