Nurture versus Nature – Brand Marketing in a Performance Funnel

By: Jordan Kernahan, Media Activation Practice Lead, CvE

The eternal argument of brand versus performance still rages on in most big media agencies and brands’ plans. Brand budget, even digital branding, is often held by a different team to the performance team. 

The brand team is measured on market penetration, brand uplift and halo effect, whereas CTR, CPA and ROI measure the performance budget. A clear split between the way the two are measured causes a lot of marketers to see that as a natural division of strategy & labour in their advertising divisions. This can also lead to some brands seeing only one of brand and performance as important, and so often for smaller businesses, startups or VC-backed ventures, this ends up being performance. ‘We need every marketing dollar working directly towards sales!’ 

The reality is, with only performance campaigns in market, you very quickly run out of audience!

Converting users cold, is one of the most difficult tasks, this is especially true for the non-eccom businesses, with subscription models; with lead-based businesses, the task is even harder. Brands need to be considering that only a small segment of the population is going to convert efficiently enough for them to be profitable via cold digital marketing. In fact, the majority of customers need to be warmed up to the idea. 

The idea of a marketing funnel is not new. In reality, most businesses have been sold the idea of a funnel, and most agencies pedal this as their unique approach. You drive Reach at the top of the funnel, clicks in the middle funnel and conversions will magically appear at the bottom! Well.. this isn’t usually the case. For smaller businesses, they do not have the budget to penetrate a large proportion of the population with multiple, carefully chosen sequential messages to bring a customer down the funnel, so how do the clever brands make their budget go further whilst addressing their funnel?

You might be interested in reading >> The Five Pillars of An Effective Marketing Attribution Model

Make sure you have multiple ways to readdress users who show a level of engagement

Re-addressability is the absolute key. Everyone you speak to, and every ad impression delivered, should have multiple ways marketers can re-address any users who show a level of engagement. Getting harder in the measurement landscape of 2023, but still very possible, so what might this look like?

Engagement is gathered in readdressable buckets

  1. Anyone who watches a full video ad, is now a key prospect and warm lead, users do not hang around for advertising and so a video viewer is a great sign of brand engagement, retarget these people with your offers, price points and USP’s.
  2. Users who engage with ads that drive the user openly to blog content or similar have a hugely warmed-up sentiment, nurture a healthy volume of users hitting the blog content on your site and re-engage with the users of those pages with price points & benefits
  3. Take our quiz!! A tactic often overlooked due to the expensive feel of a CPL metric, however, users who have taken the time to engage and finish your quiz, are gold dust, gate results with a lead form and you have a 1st party data record to re-engage across all CRM channels. 
  4. Social engagement – as long as it is positive and curated – is a great positive signal, feed these people to your site to be able to deepen their engagement with your brand and see the great content you have to offer. 


A performance strategy alone will hit that ceiling very quickly, and you may find yourself struggling to scale your business past that invisible ceiling. Thinking about why people would engage the brand, think of what will peak their interest and nurture users along the journey before expecting them to part with their hard earned cash in 2023.

This could be the perfect time to listen to this episode of the Time for A Reset podcast, with Matt Bushby, MD at JustEats, where he shares valuable insights on how to set the right KPIs when brand awareness activity is running and how to measure the impact of these tactics.

I hope you enjoyed this article. We intimately understand the pain points of the modern marketer and have designed CvE to help solve your most complex challenges. Contact us to discover how we can help you upgrade your marketing sophistication.

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