Last week Lidl joined the movement of scaling back its digital investments, a move that the brand claimed was due to ROI not being as effective in digital as in other media channels. Similar moves have been seen across the FMCG industry from major advertisers including P&G and Unilever, and more recently Wetherspoon’s, albeit for slightly different reasons.
Conversely, where some brands are struggling with ROI, there are others who openly praise the success found through a holistic channel mix. So, is it more that digital is hard to show ROI, or in fact brands are not using it in the right way? Of course, it could be simply that the hype and expectation of what digital could achieve outweighed what was realistic. Consequently, and to use a Gartner term, we are now in the ‘trough of disillusionment’.
There are frequent examples I hear about through my network, where some brands are still running towards digital as a saviour for other business challenges. Often there is little understanding about what they hope to achieve and what is a realistic result. For example, an SEO strategy with no content isn’t going to be a successful, similarly driving awareness via Instagram won’t guarantee you sales.
From an agency perspective, we want to deliver great work and amazing results (our clients wouldn’t stick around if we did any less!), which often means taking clients on a journey to find the best solution for their business. A great agency will provide the analysis and insights on what is working, what is not, spot trends and opportunities, and importantly recommend solutions that may break from convention. In fact, this is vital today in order to stand out in a very crowded, content saturated market, where end-users need to be entertained in order to engage with a brand.
Without a clearly defined business proposition and a unified channel strategy aligned to realistic deliverables, we will continue to see poor ROI. Inevitably this will see budgets shift away from digital never to return. So, it’s important that brands take stock of their marketing strategy, set clear objectives and by being agile, bold and creative finding the right solutions to deliver that all important ROI.