How to Make an Impact with Zero-waste Marketing 

by Jaywing

Marketing budgets are continuing to recover from the effects of the pandemic with experts1 predicting an overall 5.9 per cent growth in ad spend in 2021, and search spend projected to exceed pre-pandemic expectations for 2022-2024, whilst retail sales permanently shift to online channels.

Despite this positive growth, it’s estimated that marketing professionals waste up to a quarter of their budget on ineffective strategies2.

With overall reduced marketing budgets having to work much harder than ever before, it’s imperative that every penny achieves an impact on brand goals with zero wasted spend, which is where there is not enough return from marketing investment, or activities don’t meet the desired outcomes.

Hanna Wade, Marketing Effectiveness Director at Jaywing, lists the five key reasons this might happen and what you can do to prevent wasted spend:

1. Incorrect distribution of investment

There could be an incorrect distribution of investment across the most effective mix of channels for the brand or target customers. With so many communication channels, it can be difficult to know where to start distributing investment. By identifying and establishing the impact each channel has on marketing goals, a holistic view of where investment should be directed in order to create the most value can be gained.

2. Too many or too few ads, with a lack of understanding of their optimal value and frequency

By understanding the value of ad activity, brands have the potential to not only save costs but also maximise potential within other channels.

3. Wrong place, wrong time

Ads are being served at the wrong time and place in the journey where significant optimisations could be made just by reducing the amount of post-purchase targeting. Google’s viewability report unveils that 56 per cent of online display ads are not seen by consumers, making it vital for brands to invest in marketing spend optimisation efforts. 

4. Media targeting is too broad

Casting the net too wide can result in wasted spend and an over-saturation of messaging, while reaching an unintended and indifferent audience.

5. Inaccurate attribution solution measurement

Businesses are not using an accurate attribution solution to measure the true value of their marketing activity in driving their desired outcome and identifying efficiencies, therefore making decisions based on inadequate data. Forbes reports that marketers that spend 10 per cent of their marketing budget on measurement are three times more likely to hit or beat their sales targets.

The growth of media channels, and fragmentation of today’s consumer journey on and offline, demands that a robust, granular, and strategic measurement science is applied to evaluate all nudges and touchpoints along the journey, to truly understand their influence on conversion decisions.

Simplistic single-touch models, which significantly over- or under-value channel returns, no longer truly support decision-making. Yet so many brands still rely on these inaccurate approaches, despite the fact they don’t reveal the holistic value of their total investments.

Many brands are already rethinking their strategy, for example Airbnb’s recent announcement3 that they have moved from performance marketing to brand marketing, whilst reducing their marketing investment due to maintaining 95 per cent of their traffic levels during the pandemic despite their paid channels being switched off. Google has also noted that brands are focusing on brand building on its platforms4.

It’s therefore imperative that marketers truly evaluate and understand the right balance of both short- and longer-term strategies to ensure that all paid marketing activity reaches the right audience, minimises waste, and encourages audience longevity.

For more tips on how to employ a zero-waste mentality, visit: