‘We can’t reach in-house talent on weekends’: Brand marketers sound off on in-house agencies and Facebook

Figuring out the best way to rejigger the marketing mix continues to be a challenge. But for marketers, in some ways, everything old is new again: Many are moving away from relying so heavily on Facebook and Instagram and reconsidering TV. Here is a sampling of what brand marketers, gathered in Napa, California, this week, say their biggest challenges are.

Rethinking Facebook and Instagram
“We were heavily over-indexed on Facebook and Instagram because it was the easiest. We’re on a mission to diversify the spend.”

“We shook up our Facebook and Instagram spending at the end of last year. Now, we’re looking at experiential, direct mail and a loyalty program. But with direct mail, we haven’t been able to get the costs aligned. [Direct mail] still feels like a risk.”

Affiliate is not always ideal
“All of our channels from a performance marketing standpoint are diversified, but when you talk about the affiliate space, from a brand standpoint, it’s not always 100% ideal. The volume is there. Now, we’re trying to diversify our affiliate strategy because I don’t want to get all my customers from rebates.”

“Publishers don’t want to commit upfront to a return.” 

Going too far with performance marketing can hurt
“We were an early adopter of performance marketing, so anything that didn’t prove itself was iced for the last 15 years. Everything had to be proven. We’re trying to re-balance that extreme now.”

Testing unconventional avenues to find consumers
We actually created a video game. It’s not kids who are playing it, but moms, and they play for 50 hours a month. They spend a lot of money in the game. It got people very engaged with the brand. We gave people actual physical rewards. We didn’t pay for it. That was the key.” 

“[With audio,] we’re testing Amazon Alexa using voice. It’s hard to judge engagement and quantify ROI, but it’s an exciting space to be in.”

Moving dollars from digital to TV
“Certain digital channels were just checking a box. We were taking a test-and-learn approach, but there was no learning. We were happy to test things, but if I can’t do this to a scale to properly measure it and declare it a success, then I’m going to put those dollars back on TV.”

“Our brand was a yard sale. We had big issues, and we’re fixing that by using TV. We did a TV test in select markets, and early tests are very positive, which is a big win for everyone at the brand.”

“We are exploring more opportunities in TV. It’s a way for us to tell our story in a more authentic way than the blurbs you get in display or search.”

“We treat TV the same way we treat digital channels.”

“Are we shifting dollars from digital to TV? Isn’t it just digital TV? Isn’t it just a video bucket?”

Measurement still isn’t there yet for podcasting
“How do you measure engagement [with podcasting]? It’s so fragmented, particularly if you’re going after niche audiences. How do you gain scale?”

“For small tests, it’s not really great. It’s about repetition which does limit it for smaller, more nimble brands.”

“Agencies have failed a lot of brands. I understand why a lot of brands are bringing things in-house.”

“In-house agencies always feel like they’re competing to prove they can deliver the same value as agencies. There’s a lot of internal bidding that you don’t see. It’s a constant battle to try and get funding away from agencies.” 

“Agencies will always do a quick turnaround. We can’t reach in-house talent on weekends.” 


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