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Increase marketing ROI with the help of a creative agency: part 1

increasing marketing ROI

Increasing ROI is always a hot topic in marketing. That’s why we decided to update one of our most popular articles in which we look at how cooperating with a creative agency can improve your marketing performance. In the process, we’ll zoom in on some of the solutions in our portfolio, namely:

The proliferation of digital marketing platforms has presented exciting opportunities for businesses to reach potential customers using a multi-platform marketing strategy. On the flip side, it can also mean that marketing teams struggle to keep up with all existing marketing platforms. In addition, faced with the challenge of generating enough engaging content and needing in-house resources to produce campaigns, teams can quickly become over-stretched.

Marketers should concentrate their efforts on activities aimed at growing the brand. This includes strategies to generate qualified B2B or B2C leads for the sales funnel, and nurturing and converting these leads into life-time customers (LTV). Other elements, such as campaigns or website changes, can be dealt with by a creative agency.

When working with a full-service creative agency, you can draw on its extensive experience and skill sets to create unique USPs that will help your brand really stand out in the market.  

As well as providing you with the latest digital marketing expertise, an external agency can also be more cost effective, regardless of whether you choose a project-based approach or a retainer. Not only will you thereby avoid incurring expenses on your P&L for full-time creative resources, but it will also free up your marketing department to concentrate on growing the brand.

Having to provide a board with detailed analytics and evidence of ROI is something that will always keep marketers up at night. Working with a performance-based creative agency will alleviate some of that stress: they will be as focused as you are on generating a return on your marketing activities.

A good creative agency will take the time to understand your business and develop original ideas that will resonate with your target audience and, equally importantly, help you achieve your sales goals. Data insights should sit at the heart of every marketing project, so task your agency with building campaigns that are aligned with your own objectives and which have measurable outcomes.

Ultimately, the agency will choose marketing channels based on where your audience is, your specific marketing objectives for the campaign, and the level of budget you have available.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the main channels and how working with a creative agency can help you increase marketing ROI.

Branding – does branding really influence marketing ROI?

Think of the world’s most successful brands: no doubt names like Apple, Nike or Amazon spring to mind. Branding is one of the most effective strategies that businesses can use to connect with their target consumers. It enables them to forge a strong core identity and to establish themselves as different from the competition.

Over time, this trustworthy reputation will invariably lead to increased brand loyalty which will, in turn, create increased revenue opportunities through premium pricing, new product development and brand extensions.

That being said, how do you actually measure a brand’s ROI?

This is an extremely complex question and there is no simple answer. The power of branding is obvious in the tech world where branding has come to play an important part in the valuation of companies. Slack is a workplace communication tool with a total revenue of $273.4 million (Q1 2022). Not all of its features are unique but what sets Slack apart is “(…) the perception of it as a tool for hot young start ups, being a relatively young start-up itself. In this case, it’s the branding that has done the most to facilitate this perception (…).” (Forbes)

This is why it is so important to get the branding right. If your brand comes across as tired, outdated or no longer relevant to its target market, it could be time for a brand refresh or even a relaunch.  Talking about the studyThe Dangers and Opportunities for Tired Brands”, Ben Hyde of Impero concludes:

“Fixing brand tiredness can boost profits and win back shoppers, and is a particularly effective way to engage younger consumers and higher earners.”

Hyde also adds that 85% of respondents would return to a brand they previously loved, if it were to reinvent itself. This demonstrates that a rebrand can generate marketing ROI

In that respect, good creative agencies aren’t just designers but strategists too: they will develop creative ways to connect your business with its target audience and come up with a brand identity and campaign ideas that aim to achieve your sales objectives. They will guide you in finding the right strategy, including brand positioning and tone of voice, as the example of the recent rebrand project for Ulterior Events shows.

Once the rebrand has been launched, it can be complex and time consuming for marketers to monitor whether the new brand identity is being implemented as it should be. A creative agency will help achieve consistency and uniformity, thus providing a cohesive overall brand feel across all marketing and advertising campaigns.

Having a strong brand has been proven to build consumer trust and shorten the sales cycle. It’s therefore easy to conclude that focusing on your brand can improve your marketing ROI and help improve customer acquisition.

Video – why video is essential to increase marketing ROI

As Bill Gates said, “content isking.” However, there is one form of content that trumps all: video. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers.

According to a report by Cisco, the streaming of online videos and downloads will account for 82% of total internet traffic in 2022. That’s not surprising considering that close to 80% of people claim that they watch online videos every week, while 55% of them watch videos every day.

With video content, the viewer will retain up to 95% of the message as opposed to only 10% when they read an article. This clearly supports the finding that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.

Studies show that using video e.g. YouTube ads can help you drive conversions and sales. Over 90% of people surveyed are discovering new brands and products on YouTube and 40% of those people have purchased one or more of these brands and products. In addition, simply adding the word “video” in the email subject line can increase open rates by almost 20% and click-through rates by 65%.

The numbers are clear: video is a powerful marketing tool. Over 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. It’s worth noting that viewers appreciate genuine content that showcases the human side of the brand rather than sophisticated productions that don’t tell a story. 

Since videos are no longer expensive to produce, it’s now possible for smaller brands to include them in their content strategies. Nonetheless, while a smartphone can produce a decent quality video for personal needs, it’s important not to be tempted to use one for professional purposes. To generate excitement about your product and engage your audience, you’ll need to produce a professionally-made video so consider hiring a creative agency to do the work for you.

Is video worth your time?

The short answer is: yes, definitely.

Let’s see how and why it can help you boost your ROI.

Video can boost engagement rates

When you’re looking at video statistics, engagement refers to the length of time that viewers actually watched or interacted with a piece of video content. In a world where video is becoming the new norm, shareability is also vital to achieve a return on your investment.

We’re not saying you need to go viral if you want to see significant results, especially since going viral is not a quantifiable success metric. At the same time, if avideo’s views can mostly be attributed to your internal team then creating it was a wasted opportunity.

When developing the creative and marketing strategy for your video content, think about what will interest your audience – are they looking for:

  • entertainment
  • information
  • or inspiration?  

    Here’s a great example of a promotional video that helped the Ritz Club grow engagement and increase ROI on its memberships. By providing relevant content in line with what your audience is searching for, you will retain their attention, help them feel invested in what’s being communicated, and persuade them to act.

    Video can improve SEO

    A key factor Google takes into account when deciding which sites to rank first is the time users spend on a particular page. Research shows that 80% of people prefer video over written text. According to 83% of video marketers, utilising video has helped lengthen the amount of time website visitors spend on their page.

    Simply embedding a video on your website isn’t going to be enough to increase ROI. You also need to optimise your videos and make it easy for both users and Google to navigate the pages featuring them. Ensure you include catchy, relevant titles and descriptions, add a link to your website or landing page, and make it easy for prospects to take action. 

    Video is the best form of storytelling

    Video advertisements increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.

    Using video can make your brand feel more authentic, relevant, and in tune with what consumers want. Video creates an almost-instant connection with your audience and can also help you differentiate your brand from the competition.

    But, how can you make sure that your videos are telling an engaging story?

    Choose the main idea you want to focus on and be direct in the way you communicate it. There is so much pressure to be creative and have an out-of-the-box approach, that brands sometimes try too hard and forget about the essential message they want to get across.

    Storytelling is not an easy job – you need sensibility to help people become emotionally invested in what they are watching. Without emotion, content can quickly become bland. Compelling videos help the audience feel like they are part of and contributing to something bigger.

    Semrush – Shape Your Story, a global 360° campaign including video, photography, gaming and interactive experiences.

    Video makes your brand more engaging

    Your brand is more than just a product or service; you need to bring it to life for the audience to connect with it. This is where video can make a difference.

    It’s easy to understand why video has become so popular – it’s accessible and easy to digest. Because it is so emotionally engaging, it has the potential to provide a significant return on investment for your business.

    Photography – using original and unique imagery

    People often say an image is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to marketing a brand or a product this is not always the case. In marketing, factors including quality, composition and relevance will have a lot of influence on the story an image tells. If these elements are not quite right, the message can therefore get lost.

    How professional photography can make a difference

    Imagery has never been more important than it is today. We’re not just talking about the rise of the Instagram generation; there’s also the fact that images can create a strong connection with your target audience on numerous different channels and locations. That’s why, when a business recognises how important it is to have good-quality photography, amazing things start to happen.

    Photography requires the trained eye of a professional to convey quality, communicate value and capture emotion. Many marketing goals can be achieved with professional photography, from communicating a specific message using a single image to making your product range stand out in a sea  of similar products.

    Stimulate sales with packshot photography

    With packshot photography, you capture your product – including its labels and packaging – in a still or moving image. There is little room for creative licence with packshot photography as images need to depict the product as it is in real life. This means the photographer must take care that the form, colours and branding are conveyed accurately. When done well, products can leap out of the page and generate a sense of urgency to buy.

    Capture a moment in time with still-life photography

    Still-life photography is an ideal way to promote a product. It can create a moment in time, illustrate the harmony between product and customer or the emotions a brand provokes.

    A still-life image, when planned and captured well, can show texture, colour and light in ways that really bring your marketing campaign to life and resonate with the viewer.

    Set the scene with conceptual photography

    If you’re looking to create a marketing campaign that is thought-provoking and gets people talking, conceptual photography is a great option. Conceptual photography, as its name suggests, puts across a concept or idea in ways that are not necessarily obvious. It is often imaginative and can distort reality resulting in a creative campaign that is eye-catching and unique.

    If you are looking to create a viral campaign that will be shared far and wide, conceptual photography could be the best way to go about it.

    Unique imagery adds a human touch to your brand

    Our experience working with brands is backed up by numerous studies that prove that original imagery is far more effective in engaging audiences than stock photographs are. People are quick to judge a company based on the quality of its ads, social media posts and website, and images play a significant role in the making of this decision. Original images will help you establish a stronger connection with your customers/fans.

    Stock photos can seem appealing to businesses because they are a relatively easy option. However, disillusioned viewers who are constantly bombarded with marketing content will easily spot them. With stock images, you also run the risk of using the same visuals as a competitor, which will confuse your audience and make you look bad. 

    Conversely, unique, original photographs produced by a professional photographer will help give your business its own identity and give character to the products or services you are promoting. Furthermore, custom photographs increase click-through rates, as this study demonstrates.

    Start a new story today

    There are no limits to how you can use images in your marketing campaigns as a means to get your point across. A creative agency with years of experience will work closely with you to bring your ideas to life while also ensuring you get a good return on your marketing investment.

    Stay tuned for part 2. We will continue talking about ways of increasing marketing ROI by using digital design, print, and creative tech solutions.