How Performance Marketing acts as a game changer for brands in the digital era

Sarfaraz Khimani, Co-CEO, Performics India, and Anurag Gupta, CEO, Columbus India, explain the importance of Performance Marketing with case studies

PerformanceMarketing

Agencies are increasingly getting into Performance Marketing to grab a larger pie of the business by helping brands and their marketing departments create business plans. Agencies give brands an entire digital strategy, from ideating campaigns, planning digital presence and reaching the target audience to getting lead conversions and tracing revenues and ROI.

Sarfaraz Khimani Co-CEO, Performics India, the Performance Marketing arm of Publicis Media; & Anurag Gupta, CEO, Columbus India; explains, with the help of case studies, how Performance Marketing acts as a game changer for brands in today’s digital scenario.

Revenue in the digital media market amounts to US$150012m in 2019. Digital, being the fastest growing medium today, has become a combination of various aspects for brands to succeed. One of these aspects is Performance Marketing which constitutes online marketing and advertising programmes that enable the marketers and advertising companies to track a lead, a click or a sale conversion in an end-to-end process.

Talking about Performance Marketing as a concept, Anurag Gupta, CEO, Columbus India, says, “For most of the new-age businesses such as e-commerce, fintech, OTT and few legacy industries such as BFSI, using Performance Marketing is an essential component of their business metrics. Since digital media is completely measurable, advertisers pay when a precise action is accomplished, whether it’s a sale, lead, or a click.”

Elaborating on the digital solutions that Performance Marketing brings with it, Sharfaraz Khimani, says, “Performance Marketing includes stand-alone functions such as Search Engine Marketing on Google Ad Words, paid social, Advertising Facebook on social media platforms and organic way to rank a site on Google."

Gupta shares how Columbus India enables brands using Performance Marketing. “Columbus India uses the power of technology and data to help advertisers get the best last-mile results. We kick-started the agency to build innovative technological solutions for addressing the ever-changing needs of our advertisers. This led to the continued growth of the trajectory for us as well as the brands we have been working with.”

Khimani highlights how Performance Marketing helps brands in various ways with an example. “Amazon happens to be the third largest advertising platform after Google and Facebook. So, for us, having a strategy for Amazon is also extremely important because our clients are increasingly selling their products on these kinds of platforms. Amazon is a platform that works very differently from Google and Facebook, so Publicis Media has set up a commerce practice for it.”

Elaborating on the portfolio management services, Khimani says, “So now we try to create an end-to-end offering around commerce. It is not only about how to advertise on the platform, but also how to build partnerships in terms of inventory and portfolio management of advertisers on those platforms. So if there is a brand that wants to set up its practice around commerce, it will involve not only selling on Amazon or Flipkart but it will also set up one's brand store, not only from a technology infrastructure perspective but also how they are managing inventory, fulfillment, etc. So we might not do it all ourselves, but we will help them to build a partnership to enable end-to-end services.”

Gupta makes his point as to how Performance Marketing helps in providing digital solutions at the intersection of marketing technologies and data science. “One of the key factors that have contributed to the steady growth of Colombus India has been the agency’s capabilities in developing unique solutions in the data-driven digital marketing ecosystem. One such solution developed and successfully executed by the agency is Digital-Tele assist ecosystem created for advertisers in the BFSI space. We have got the digital media and tele-calling together under the ownership of Columbus, thus creating a unified friction-less environment leading to better customer journey and much higher return on advertising spends (RoAS). Any solutions we deploy will continue to have data & technology at the center and customer engagement as the top priority. We focus on the top, middle and bottom segments of the user engagement & acquisition funnel.”

Gupta talks about creating an entire digital strategy to evaluate a brand's overall performance and final conversions. “Our unique proposition integrates data at each intersection of the user engagement & behaviour. From CRM data to voice records at the call center, each unique data set provides us with enhanced knowledge for converting engaged users into a buying customer and improves our user acquisition journey. We look at buying behavior, interaction with the brand and help-desk as some of the key data points to enable innovative communication and product-level changes. We sit with our clients as partners and look at the entire journey from interest to purchase and optimise every friction point in the journey."

Talking about technology being programmatic from the Performance Marketing standpoint, Khimani says, “There are certain central practices of Publics Media for clients. Say, for Performance Marketing campaigns like data science, media tech, the technology is programmatic as well. It's essentially how you are giving attribution to channels that you are working on. So for example, if you are running a campaign across channels- Google, Facebook, publishers, Hotstar etc.- and your advertisement is showing on multiple touch- points, one of the key things that a data science unit will do is find which is the channel or platform that should get attribution for the brand’s final conversion. So data science is the answer to the question of how to weigh the credit of all the platforms.” 

Elaborating his point with a case study, Gupta throws light on the Performance Marketing process. “Max Life was looking for alternate digital channels to drive efficiencies and align media and call center as these two were earlier run by two separate teams and real-time data sharing was lacking causing inefficiencies upwards of 40%. Columbus India decided to create great digital assets for them to create fresh, mobile-intuitive landing pages with faster load times and excellent visual appeal for easy sign-up and more leads with OTP verification. Landing page creation & hosting, lead management and call center were all managed at one place to ensure smooth functioning."

“Columbus Tele-Assis model was deployed where lead sourcing and calling was brought under one umbrella. Artificial Intelligence-based chatbot was launched to improve prospecting and make it more engaging and interactive, providing a premium quote in the prospecting journey itself. While re-engagement was achieved as users, who dropped off during various stages of the funnel, were re-engaged with a new ‘click to the lead’ method, where click was equal to lead. Columbus 3 pillar framework was deployed to create great digital assets for the brand – for better prospecting, optimising supply for identification of good and bad sources with corrective action and deploying technology to further strengthen the process. Columbus is now the second largest digital partner for Max Life that helped lead to policy sold conversion rate grow by 4X contributing to 6 per cent to the total sales. The client saw 300% increase in return on ad spends,” says Gupta. 

Khimani also explains how Axis ASAP faced the challenge of becoming the instant account opening product using only digital media and how the brand was helped with performance marketing concepts.

“Axis ASAP is an instant savings account that can be opened by anybody in a matter of just a few clicks. We took a bold & novel approach of advertising only on digital media against competitors who had an intense focus on other avenues like television, sponsored events, and known celebrities. We combined the power of machine learning with creative personalization to implement what is called ‘dynamic creative optimization’. Here, we provided several options of text copy, images and call to actions to the algorithm, which churned out dozens of unique combinations and served each individual with the combination that would resonate the best with them. Our strategies helped us to get 1 million accounts opened in record 8 months at 2.5X efficiencies over benchmarks.”

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