Performance marketing vs traditional strategy

By Su-lise Tessendorf-Louw, CMO, Mr D. Partnering traditional marketing with performance marketing efforts is where the solution, and the challenge, lies.

By Su-lise Tessendorf-Louw, CMO, Mr D. Performance marketing is a sprint, and traditional marketing that builds brand equity is a marathon. Both are required if brands want to win the race. But before the starter pistol is even fired, it’s crucial for brands to have a strategy that tells them when to pick up speed and when to maintain a steady stride.

As Mr D steps up its game with its new ‘D is for Done’ campaign that highlights the brand’s move from being more than just a meal delivery service to a comprehensive, on-demand marketplace where shoppers can conveniently shop for pet care, groceries, gifting, wellness products, and more, we’re constantly challenged to be agile in catering to the fast-paced changes in consumer behaviour and appetites. Partnering traditional marketing with performance marketing efforts is where the solution – and the challenge – lies.

A reimagined marketing map

Performance marketing – using data-driven tactics to drive conversions, optimise campaigns and improve performance – is proving to be the strategy of choice for many brands playing in the on-demand arena. However, this ‘transactional’ approach often lacks heart and soul, as well as authenticity and creativity, meaning that an all-important connection with consumers is lost.

The Catch-22 comes when we see how these same consumers are rejecting traditional marketing models that many brands have relied on to build loyalty. The million-dollar question? How can brands be relevant in a time when relevance is ever-evolving? Our experience has shown that both marketing models are necessary.

Finding the marketing sweet spot

The challenge is how to bring back more purpose and added value – beyond the call to action, price point or coupon – into interactions and communication across all touchpoints with customers. As marketers, we need to ensure we can excel in omni-channel environments and respond to consumers in dynamic and resonant ways. The marketing sweet spot is that unchartered ground where messaging merges performance with the traditional, so that they live happily alongside each other to earn trust, loyalty and sales from customers.

It sounds simple, but there is a fine line when creating an authentic connection between both marketing models. To truly capture a market, it becomes essential to make room for ‘head and heart’ in every initiative and make them measurable so that strategies can be tailored as you go. It comes down to realising how important the small nuances of a consumer’s ‘digital body language’ are, and the role both data and creativity play in delivering a meaningful consumer experience.

A critical user-journey moment

Of course, marketing efforts can’t end once a consumer downloads and registers on an app. This is where the power of technology must step in and continue doing the hard work – this is a make-or-break moment in the customer journey where the tech must be on point. If brands are to play on across multiple platforms, as Mr D does, then meaningful marketing must deliver a memorable, meaningful and seamless user experience.

Trailblazing in new sectors

As one of the first on-demand-delivery businesses in the e-commerce sector to join the Marketing Association of South Africa (MASA), we are intent on getting the balance between performance and traditional marketing right as we navigate the rapidly changing face of marketing with machine learning, AI and ChatGPT, which present marketers with new frontiers, new opportunities and new dynamics.

While there is no one-size-fits-all marketing formula, the determination to ‘win the hearts and minds of consumers’ and ‘meet them where they are’, should be the key guides in winning first place in their hearts, minds, and pockets.


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