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Here’s the trap for a whole lot of established brands.

They need to engage with consumers. Because it’s 2018 and because of course they do.

There are a million and one places where they can do that in the digital space. There are communities and channels for every niche. The marketing technology landscape is cluttered and littered. But inevitably a brand will need to deal with the big dogs in social and search and sales: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, Amazon. These are platforms that promise reach and touch consumers where they already spend all their time.

These platforms are the simplest options. The obvious options. The budget-approvable options that are unlikely to cause uncomfortable moments in performance reviews because it’s Facebook and sure there was all that stuff about the election and the lying and the rotted out corporate culture but still Facebook connects the world. Right?

So, the brands invest.

Time goes by. Posts are liked. Content is shared.

Engagement reports are produced and they are beautiful and widely disseminated and maybe even read.

But sales are down this year.


We’ve spent the last few years talking to brand managers and executives about the pressures they’re facing. A chilling but incomplete list includes reduced budgets, uncertainty with brick and mortar, worries about the fall from peak social, shifting consumer tastes or outright consumer indifference, questionable value from agency partners, and challenger brands sporting big VC-driven budgets and take-no-prisoners approaches to carving out market share. It goes on.

Every dollar spent needs to deliver a bottom-line return.

And for a legacy brand under competitive pressure, the temptation is to look for solutions outside the brand. These bloody upstarts broke it. They can fix it.

But we’ve come to believe the answer is not really in the unimpeachably perfect mix of social spend or SEO optimization, or paid influencer gurus with bot-enhanced follower lists or anything that is just another line item in your marketing budget. These things are not directly connected to a sale in a way you can track and prove and humblebrag about when someone asks you: so what value did you create this year?

Because this question is going to keep getting asked.

And when the next recession hits, it’s going to get asked LOUDER.

We think the answer to these problems is an entirely new business model — built on your existing brand, not on a social network that may soon go out of favour or prove to be weaponized for political purposes. It’s a business model that leverages consumers and delivers actual ROI.

That means new sales, not more likes. That means revenue growth, not costly campaigns.

That means marketing makes money, which we admit might look better with three capital letters. Marketing Makes Money.

Yup, that’s better.

Let’s be even sharper here: if a brand’s marketing spend delivered provable, transparent, defensible-in-a-single-sentence-to-the-boss ROI, wouldn’t that change everything?

This is what we’re working on at IOVIA.