SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Chris Kelly feels marketers’ pain.

The CEO and founder of Upwave, a brand analytics platform, says chief marketing officers (CMOs) are pressured by chief finance officers (CFOs) to invest in short-term, bottom-of-funnel marketing tactics.

But, in this video interview with Beet.TV at Beet Retreat San Juan, Kelly says marketers can combine both upper- and lower-funnel techniques nowadays.

Chasing the bottom

Kelly empathizes with “the CMOs dilemma”.

“That dilemma is, bluntly put, to waste money or get fired,” he says. “A lot of CMOs are very open with their fears on this and their struggles talking to CFOs.

“The ‘waste money’ portion means they’re driven by CFOs to chase short-term goals to a fault.

“They’re over investing in lower-funnel tactics that they know will hurt the brand a few years down the road, because they’re choking that top-of-funnel investment in demand generation.”

Collapsing funnel

Historically, the marketing funnel construct has seen the “top” used to build brand awareness, while the “bottom” is all about converting actual sales.

In the last few years, digital marketers have gravitated toward the latter, because data can appear to prove return on spend.

That leaves traditional upper-funnel media clamouring to generate data that might prove the efficacy of brand-building spend.

Kelly notes: “If they just invest in the way they want to in top of funnel, but don’t have the measurement to prove it works, that’s the risk of getting fired, of a CFO saying, ‘If you spent $200 million in brand building, you don’t have the metrics to prove this’.”

He says CMOs are looking for upper-funnel media that can use rigours modelling to prove return, even if it is months or years down the track.

Performance branding

In truth, though Kelly doesn’t think marketers need to view the “funnel” divergently anymore.

There is much talk in the industry about a “collapse” of the funnel, as more software platforms focus on bringing analytics to the top.

“A misconception is that you have to either choose to take a performance approach for performance goals and be very analytically rigorous, or take a brand building storytelling approach and be very squishy and fuzzy,” Kelly says.

“Maybe that was true in the past, but it’s certainly no longer true.

We like to cite a McKinsey phrase that they coined called ‘performance branding‘ that argues you can absolutely be as analytically rigorous with your top-of-funnel brand investments these days, you don’t need to think of top-of-funnel as squishy and fuzzy anymore.”

You are watching coverage from Beet Retreat San Juan 2022, presented by AppScience, Infillion, MadHive, SpringServe, Univision & VideoAmp. For more videos, please visit this page.