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The Future of Performance Marketing and Performance Marketers

By Cass Baker, EVP, Head of Strategy & Digital, GainShare

What is the most pressing thing for performance marketers today: achieving ROI or the ever present data challenge? It’s actually both. The ability to see ROI and understand return in how you optimize is, yet again, challenged by the data conundrum.

The majority of marketers understand there’s a new and bigger problem on the horizon (i.e., the end to third-party cookies) but don’t really understand what it is. Today, they know the methods at hand deliver a certain way. In many cases those methods have been developed over years, and ideal or not, they work.

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So, what is the most methodical way to think about the future?

Performance marketing is as much about marketing as it is about finance and procurement. At the end of the day, you’ve spent years drawing a line from spend to revenue. Data changes and privacy changes are taking everyone back a step on how that math works and right now, there is no one absolute answer.

Now more than ever, marketers are concerned about how much first-party data they have and where it should be leveraged on a regular basis. We are witnessing the rebirth of contextual advertising in importance as audience targeting becomes more difficult. Performance marketers are looking for ways to work within those new realities and must now focus on building direct relationships with prospects and customers alike.

Evolving and Solving 

Between what’s possible, what’s measurable and what’s targetable, you have to keep evolving and solving. At the very moment, when traditional advertising and digital marketing are finally integrating at scale (e.g. CTV scale, digital OTT and auction/real time inventory scale) we are losing some of the tools to enable true performance marketing. Brands large and small need to set their objectives and plans on how they are going to measure directly and through attribution.  Brands must drive their agencies, platforms and analysts to create solutions that work for them, their customers and unique brand journeys.

Solving this is not a one time solution or a ‘new’ technology. It requires a brand-driven measurement and company KPI strategy. Start by taking an honest evaluation of your current advertising and marketing performance measurement. Second, chart a path to where you are and where you need to be. From linear TV advertising to branded search to a store visit; what do you know now, what are you no longer going to know, and what do you need to know in the future?

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The only thing we know for the sure is that the path to the most robust ROI will be a bit more jagged than it previously was – not only because of data and privacy changes but because of changes in consumer knowledge and behavior. Everyday, companies are coming up with new technologies and alternatives to work within the evolving marketing industry. As performance marketers navigate those changes, they must challenge themselves to deliver relevant results all while working within new constraints.

About the author

Cass Baker, President & COO

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