Can Marketers Have It All? How to Build Predisposition and Influence Sales

Short, long, brand, sales, performance, activation etc. Whatever words you use, marketers have choices in the objectives they set for their advertising, whether to prioritise long or short-term strategies. The truth? New Kantar data shows they can do both.

What does Having It All actually mean?

There has been much debate in marketing circles on the topic of short-termism, where marketing is expected to increase sales in the short term, usually referred to as performance, sales or activation marketing (such as promotions). Short-termism has more recently been prompted by the current economic uncertainty many are experiencing, where seeing a very real sales return on restricted marketing budgets has become more important than ever. The LIONS’ State of Creativity Study 2023 points out that 48% of the global creative community is now prioritising investment in targeted promotions over brand building and customer experience. We think this is a dangerous tactic.

Longer-term strategies address a brand’s immediate and longer-term future, helping to build predisposition and ensure continued demand and brand growth. There is a need for both: they are symbiotic.

Looking back, we can see just how much advertising has evolved.  Ads used to simply tell us about products, what they could do for us, and why we should buy them. See this Unilever ad for SR Gibbs toothpaste, the first ad to be shown on UK TV in 1955. But advertising is a much bigger beast now: it’s the voice of your brand – and your brand is more than just something that’s for sale.

Brands have become a part of the human experience, a part of culture, a part of the way we live, and building predisposition involves a lot more than encouraging sales today. Most importantly, brands need to stand out from their competitors and make it easy for consumers to make choices.

Brands that are aware of this and that have looked to the future in their brand building communication, such as McDonald’sGeneral Mills and Airbnb have seen, and continue to see, the fruit of their labours. These are brands that have become stronger. They evolve, expand and extend, and are brands that are likely to be with us in many years to come.

This article was published exclusively on on June 6, 2023.