Q&A: Status Quo Marketing Strategies are Trash

Originally published in Digital Journal on May 16, 2019.

COVID-19 has illuminated the trend that the typical marketing strategies aren’t providing tangible return-on-investment for B21. To gain an insight, Digital Journal spoke with Frans Van Hulle, CEO and cofounder of PX. According to Van Hulle, the name of the game right now is agility, speed with smarts. Performance marketing is the way to drive successful return-on-investment home.

Q&A: Status quo marketing strategies are trash with Digital Journal

Digital Journal: How has the COVID-19 situation impacted sales and marketing?

Frans Van Hulle: The pandemic has disrupted businesses in just about every sense. With no consistency and such an incredible amount of change, marketing and sales teams that we work with as clients have shown an amazing agility — to do more with less and deliver the same, if not better results. Take, for example, the sales and marketing efforts for home security companies, who rely heavily on home visits to both market and install their products. The speed at which those companies have pivoted and adopted new strategies to fit within our new reality has been inspiring.

DJ: What is the impact on business revenue and operations?

Van Hulle: As everyone continues to ride out the crisis, we see how many operations have become uncertain and companies are coping with a great amount of variability and volatility in different verticals. Executives everywhere are taking a deep dive into their budgets, looking to improve actionable data from almost every department in an effort to save money and continue operating – this goes double for marketing and sales teams. One of the great lessons we’ve learned through this is how efficient our team has been while working remotely. Before March, we had reservations about full-on work from home situations. But in the last two months, I’ve been amazed by the incredible perseverance people have shown and how efficiency has increased. I’m now convinced that working together in one physical space doesn’t have to be the end all be all anymore.

DJ: Why are traditional marketing strategies not succeeding?

Van Hulle: Traditional (non-performance-based) marketing models tend to charge their campaign costs upfront regardless of results. With all of the uncertainty ahead — and the need to watch every dollar and make it count — that creates a contentious, risky investment many companies are simply unable to accept right now. As a marketer in 2020, if you are unable to proactively track the performance of your spend, you are, in essence, playing roulette with your budget. And you cannot easily direct senior leadership to the results of your efforts, regardless of the outcome.

DJ: What are performance-based marketing models?

Van Hulle: Unlike in traditional models, with performance-based marketing strategies advertisers make payment once a placement has delivered on a specific result. Performance media traditionally has been reserved for digital campaigns that are more easily measured, but as the media industry continues to transform, we’re seeing an increase in unique KPIs for these models. Not only does performance marketing provide a clearer picture of the outcomes of your spending, it also provides the ability to shift strategies quickly when the effort is not hitting its desired ROI.

DJ: Why will these models succeed in these strange times?

Van Hulle: From awareness to conversion, marketers can see what resonates with their target audience and adjust specific tactics to produce optimized results. It’s like course correcting in mid-stream. Good performance-based marketing models take into account more than just one end or the other of the funnel. They provide teams with insight throughout the customer journey, which is critical when that journey is adapting to a world of change. With good performance-based marketing models, KPIs are completely reflective of a company’s business; they reduce or eliminate the risk of upfront spending, and they provide marketers the opportunity to adjust their efforts immediately when landscapes change.

DJ: Are there some key examples you can cite in relation to this form of marketing?

Van Hulle: Well, here I’ll cite some of the features that you’ll find in our platform — where DTC marketers buy leads and calls in an open exchange. But these are also things that you may find in other exchanges, for buying digital advertising. One key example is dynamic pricing for a lead purchased through PX. Dynamic pricing transfers the focus of the transaction from valuing the input (a lead), to the result. For buyers, that result is a new customer. And for publishers, that’s optimizing the monetization of their inventory. Another is the presence of real-time performance insights and tools that enable a marketer to immediately act on the results as they see them. For example, our clients will see if a lead buying campaign is meeting its CPA (Cost per Acquisition) targets at any moment in time, and they make real-time adjustments based on that.

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