Trillions of dollars are spent each year on costs that are included in the overarching category of “marketing”, even if exact figures are tough to pin down. Most companies roll up the external costs of advertising (both creative and media) into the broad qualifier of marketing, but this is also where they account for investments related to merchandising and promotion, point-of-sale shopper marketing, packaging, and brand management. Many companies include PR, events, influencer marketing, and sponsorships in the marketing budget line. Some companies even include the salary cost of staff dedicated to managing marketing activities. Depending on where insights reports (into Marketing versus Analytics), market research costs may be reflected there as well.

A closer look at marketing spend

In the past, large companies – particularly in the B2C space – have spent as much as 15% of revenue on marketing in an effort to drive growth. The pandemic and all the resulting impacts on business took their toll on marketing spend across all verticals as a percentage of revenue. As Forbes reported in November of 2021: “Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey found that in 2021, marketing budgets fell to their lowest level in recent history, accounting for only 6.4% of company revenue in 2021.”

While reports from the first quarter of 2022 seem to indicate marketing spend levels are creeping back, inflationary pressures, supply chain difficulties, and geopolitical risks are keeping brands cautious and marketing budgets remain below pre-pandemic levels. Bottom line: the cost of marketing for virtually every company is still high and more pressure than ever is felt to ensure every dollar spent on marketing delivers measurable value.

There has been a debate for decades as to the overall purpose of marketing with some falling on the side of “activation” that can be attributed directly to sales as the key goal. Others insist fame is the key objective of marketing, hypothesizing that, over time, fame will drive value growth, be that in revenues, pricing power, or a powerful combination of both.

As we look at how we serve our clients at Behaviorally, optimizing the impact of marketing, more and more we keep coming back to a quote that has been attributed to American automotive and business pioneer Henry Ford: “Nothing happens until someone sells something.”

What defines marketing value?

Marketing value is created when a consumer actually selects your product and makes a purchase. Nothing matters until money changes hands and the consumer chooses you, your brand, and your service or your product. Whether that transaction is made in online retail or in a brick-and-mortar physical store, we believe that the most important metric for predicting shopper marketing success is being selected at the moment of purchase transaction. This is, quite literally, the most important moment in marketing.

At Behaviorally, we have spent decades amassing behavioral intelligence, category expertise, and the world’s most robust database of KPIs for enabling that moment of Selection. We have invested in technology to make shopper marketing analysis faster and more predictive through the application of AI image recognition. And, we have defined and diagnosed the factors that influence choice and the purchase transaction in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. 

Arguably we are the experts in helping our clients create the packaging touchpoints that enable their products to Be Seen, Shoppable, Seductive, and Selected, and we have shared our expertise, as it relates to the Power of Packaging, as a component of marketing in an e-book that bears that name. 

Equipping brands to optimize their marketing value

Along any shopper journey that leads to a transaction, brands need tools that help identify the instances and mechanisms for establishing (and hopefully strengthening) their relationship with customers. And that is why we have:

  • created a simple behavioral framework for evaluating marketing in the context the Benefits and Barriers to consumer choice that would lead to (or create friction and derail) a purchase transaction 
  • evolved digital-first consultative methodologies for mapping the omnichannel path-to-purchase and diagnosing the best opportunities in which to influence choice
  • developed solutions for AI-based tools that can, at scale, optimize images featured in e-commerce product detail pages and lead to improved conversion to purchase 
  • continued digital process innovation, by doing so scaling our capacity to execute quickly and cost-effectively at a pace in line with business decision making

“Now more than ever, the most important thing an insights partner can deliver is a partnership that enables clients to seize that moment in which all their hard work and investment in marketing pays off.”

We are investing ambitiously in tools that can accelerate clients’ decision-making that will lead to transactions across a vast array of categories, at the digital shelf, in physical retail, within the metaverse, and beyond. 

Now more than ever, the most important thing an insights partner can deliver is a partnership that enables clients to seize that moment in which all their hard work and investment in marketing pays off.

The moment in which a transaction takes place and tangible value is created.

This has been our purpose since our inception over 50 years ago, albeit perhaps expressed more narrowly. It is the motivation behind the innovations we have delivered to the behavioral research methodologies on which our reputation has been built. The passion each of us at Behaviorally brings to this objective is why we are making the conscious choice to articulate it now as our brand promise.

We are Behaviorally, The Transaction Experts! We are proud to enable the most important moment in which marketing value is created.

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