Note: this is a follow-up article on ‘Is it time to unite branding and performance marketing?’. We recommend reading this one first. If you are a rough-and-tumble bad-ass dude/girl who boasts a complete disregard of all rules, go ahead & scroll on without reading it first. But don’t say we didn’t warn ya!



The Marketing Mix Decision Tree – Where to invest your marketing budget?


When you create your channel mix, be aware of your channel bias. Do not seek to maintain a total marketing mix just because you have been taught so at school or in previous work experiences. 

To figure out what channels you should focus on, and in which order, we’ve designed a decision tree. 


Click on image for full size

With this decision tree in hand, you can create a more efficient marketing mix. Focus on the channels that have the biggest impact on your KPIs first. Only once those are optimized can you move onto the next one. With this, you can optimize your marketing budget allocation and get maximum results.

If you are able to target audiences with high purchase intent (e.g. SEA on ‘Nike Air Max White size 38’): invest here first and keep investing here until ROI is no longer acceptable. Because this way you will most likely reach the right people, at the right time with the right message. Some would say: Every marketer’s wet dream.

Of course, there comes a point where ROI on these high intent audiences reaches a high point. Then, and only then, should you start investing in lower intent audiences (e.g. SEA on ‘white sneakers’). The message is: only move upwards in the funnel when you can no longer target a high intent audience at an acceptable ROI. Only start targeting demographics or interests when you are no longer able to drive results from channels that target an audience with purchase intent (remarketing banners or SEA) at an acceptable ROI

Let’s have a look at a bedding retailer for example. They used the decision tree we developed.

 This company wants what every marketing department dreams of: To reach the right customers, at the right time, with the right message. When they created their marketing mix, they started off with targeting high intent audiences by purchasing keywords like bed, box spring, etc. on Google & Bing Ads. Great! Next up, they bought more and more high intent keywords and optimized on bids until they were no longer able to keep up with the minimal ROI to maintain profitability. 

At this point, the company set up SEA campaigns targeting audiences with some or low commercial intent. So naturally, they start buying keywords on Google Ads like ‘trouble sleeping’. This is perfectly fine unless the company didn’t have relevant content on the landing pages behind the keywords.

They continue this strategy until the ROI of the keywords has been depleted. Then they should consider investing in banner ads that target demographics, for example. 

Some people would disagree. They’d say that if you only target high intent audiences, you aren’t focusing on metrics like brand love, brand awareness, etc. That statement is not in line with our opinion. On the contrary. Let us explain. 

Let us ask you this: 

What do you think is the most efficient way to create brand awareness/brand love/etc.? Interrupting someone’s YouTube binge session with an ad about how awesome you are, or advertising on keywords like ‘bike trails Amsterdam’ (when you’re a sports retailer for example). We think it’s the latter. 

Ask anyone about how they got in touch with their favorite brand. Is it a story about how they saw a random ad on a bus stall, and out of instant love dropped the antique Chinese vase they were carrying? Or is it a story about how they were looking up stuff online about subjects they have a passion for? And this brand just happened to have interesting content or products about the topic?

Secondly, long-term brand metrics like brand love, brand awareness, etc. are always driven by sales in the end. The flywheel is the following: more sales lead to more word of mouth, which leads to more brand love/awareness, which in turn results in more sales. If you follow this logic, the channel which generates the most sales is also the channel that generates the most brand loyalty, thus creating more awareness & brand love.

Lastly, we got even more confident in what we’re telling you because Google has published research that states that search ads are perfectly capable of driving long-term metrics like brand awareness, etc. We would recommend reading the article linked above to learn more about this, as this is worthy of a blog post on its own. 

In short, couldn’t it be that the easiest way to uplift long-term metrics like brand awareness are DO channels, instead of SEE/THINK channels? Very curious to find out if you agree, and if not, where you poke a hole in our reasoning.