Strategies for Building Robust Marketing in Established Companies

Marketing teams in mature companies operate in a different realm compared to their high-growth and startup counterparts. While their primary mission isn’t to reinvent the wheel or aim for triple-digit year-over-year growth, their role is equally vital. They’ve already introduced significant initiatives and may have sought internal or external assistance to manage them. The success of these marketing teams now hinges on advanced factors such as tech integration, analytics, channel expansion, and brand marketing.

In this guide, we’ll explore various aspects of building strong marketing in a mature company, providing insights into major growth initiatives, essential team skills, and the critical decision of whether to build or buy the necessary technology.

Growth Initiatives for Mature Companies

John Wanamaker’s famous quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” has resonated with marketers for decades. However, in today’s landscape, especially for companies with ample resources, this no longer needs to be the case. There are several areas where advertisers are investing in 2023 that yield minimal returns. By focusing on these areas, mature companies can transform their advertising performance.

1. Programmatic Placements Governance

One crucial area for mature companies to explore is exercising more control over programmatic placements. Recent reports reveal that a substantial 17% of programmatic clicks in Q2 2023 were fraudulent, even for the largest advertisers. This highlights the importance of scrutinizing programmatic campaigns, which should not be limited to smaller, less-known platforms. Notably, YouTube’s placement practices have faced increasing scrutiny in recent times.

2. Assessing Marginal Return and Incrementality

Many marketers at leading brands tend to overspend in primary channels without thoroughly testing new ones or investing in engaging audiences that could convert organically. This results in substantial wastage in areas that often go unanalyzed. Analyzing the marginal return and incrementality of marketing spend can reveal opportunities for optimization and efficiency.

3. Moving Up the Funnel

Despite the myriad tools available in 2023, there’s a surprising reluctance among smart advertisers to embrace upper-funnel campaigns. While the bottom of the funnel may offer more immediate, measurable returns, the gap between upper and lower funnel activities is closing. Platforms like Meta are introducing native lift tests and branding measurement tools, and technology like predictive analytics and media mix modeling is becoming more accessible. Upper-funnel campaigns allow advertisers to reach new audiences more cost-effectively, and tracking the downstream effects of these campaigns has never been easier. For instance, Fortune 100 brands can employ digital campaigns to initiate the customer journey with potentially high-LTV new users, rather than relying solely on a Super Bowl ad.

Marketing Skills for Mature Companies

In mature companies, certain skill sets are particularly valuable to enhance marketing efforts. More than ever, there’s a premium placed on analytics and creative talent, even if it’s challenging to find these attributes in a single individual.

1. Analytics Proficiency

Marketing teams in mature companies should prioritize the acquisition of analytics expertise. This includes skills in incrementality testing, lift tests, cohort analyses, and delving into the intricacies of media mix modeling and predictive analytics. A strong analytics skill set can identify opportunities for improving campaigns across the entire marketing landscape, transcending individual channels.

2. Creative Prowess

Creativity plays a pivotal role in branding messaging, positioning, and visuals across various media. Crafting compelling narratives and visual content is especially important for upper-funnel initiatives. To excel in this area, it’s crucial to combine innovative ideas with the ability to scale the delivery of these concepts across different advertising channels and media formats.

Tech: To Build or Buy?

In larger marketing organizations that invest significantly in martech tools, the question often arises: should we build our technology in-house or purchase existing solutions? Custom-building technology can seem appealing, as it can be tailored precisely to the brand’s needs without superfluous features that go unused. However, real-world experience suggests that, in most cases, buying technology from experts is the more prudent choice.

Building in-house technology can present several challenges. It may require diverting existing team members from their core responsibilities to work on something for which they may not be qualified. Alternatively, hiring external talent to build the technology can be costly and might result in a product that falls short of established tools in the market. In essence, relying on existing, vetted solutions often proves to be the more effective and economical route.

What’s Next

A marketer’s work is never truly finished. Staying vigilant to fend off challengers and staying abreast of the latest industry developments is essential, even for companies at the pinnacle of their industry. Ignoring emerging platforms like TikTok, even for giants like Nike, is not an option. However, beyond this, there are substantial gains to be made by excelling in analytics, creativity, and holistic positioning.

A marketing team that carves out a competitive edge in these areas is likely to retain and even expand its market share. The synergistic approach of leveraging data insights, creative excellence, and well-crafted positioning can drive efficiencies and growth, paving the way for promotions and success across the board.

In summary, marketing in mature companies presents unique challenges and opportunities. By embracing advanced strategies, honing essential skills, and making informed decisions about technology, these companies can continue to thrive in an ever-evolving marketing landscape.

Author Profile

Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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