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The Marketer’s Balancing Act: Short-Term Sales or Long-Term Brand Legacy?

Updated: Feb 2

Challenging market environments force business leaders to make tough choices on where to invest their ever tightening budget to drive growth.

In this blog, we will discuss the issues they grapple with, what's really driving these, and 3 ways Insights can help businesses invest for success in both the short and longer term.

Scroll through our presentation, or read on further below:

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Marketers - Managing short- to long-term Strategies - Khatanalytics Consulting January 202
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First, what we hear CMOs and executives say...

Marketers are under a lot of pressure.

Not only must they build their Brand (as its stewards) for the long term but are increasingly expected to drive immediate sales too: 

  • Faced with fewer $ to spend through shrinking budgets and inflationary costs, they are pushed to invest behind getting immediate sales. Investment in long-term brand building is often seen as a luxury they can't afford.

  • Further, Quantifying the ROI of long-term brand investments is challenging, so as shorter-term performance marketing offers fast, measurable results, that’s where most budgets go.

Gartner research puts numbers behind the issue:

Based on our founder's experience leading insights at Samsung and Unilever…

  • Of course sales are critical for any business to survive... but without a strong brand foundation, sales will inevitably decline over time as the brand loses relevance vs savvier competitors.

  • Marketing’s impact is often not immediate nor tangible… Sadly, I’ve too often heard our CMO being challenged on why the latest Ad is not delivering sales yet…

  • In companies where business leaders rotate jobs every few years, accountability for long term results is often not realized as they prioritize the short-term results they will be rewarded on.

This all creates a detrimental cycle of eroding brand equity and ROI, which further fuels the focus on short-term gains.

Underlying Root Problems Resulting in the Issue:

So what's really drives the behavior?

  • Shareholder pressures: The crux of the issue lies in a myopic focus on delivering quarterly results… this is at the expense of longer term brand-building and customer relationship nurturing, essential for sustained growth

  • Consumer Journey not fully understood: Many organizations concentrate solely on getting the sale, not realizing the higher importance of post-purchase stages in fostering brand loyalty and repeat purchases. A holistic understanding of the consumer journey is crucial for long-term success.

  • Inadequate Marketing Metrics: Organizations frequently struggle to balance their budget between upper funnel activities (like brand awareness, equity), which are challenging to measure, and lower funnel tactics (like sales conversions), which offer clearer performance metrics. This imbalance typically leads to an undue emphasis on short-term outcomes.

  • Organizational Silo Mentality: Different departments often operate in isolation, focusing on their own immediate goals rather than the company's broader, long-term strategies. This siloed approach hinders the adoption of innovative strategies for longer term success.

Many organizations concentrate on getting the sale, not realizing the higher importance of post-purchase stages in building brand loyalty and repeat purchase

It's Actually possible to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

McKinsey demonstrates that brands can succeed in the short- & long-term by mastering their consumers' full journey.

Source: McKinsey - Experience-led growth: A new way to create value 

What to do:

3 Insight led strategies successful CMOs employ to strike the right balance


1 Enhance Measurement Capabilities:

  • Implement advanced analytics and attribution modeling to better quantify the impact of upper funnel activities on long-term brand health and eventual sale.

  • Deepen consumer understanding, not just for immediate campaign adjustments but for shaping the brand’s future positioning and product development

2 Adopt Robust Full-Funnel Brand Equity Metrics:

An insightful HBR article details metrics that can unify efforts across Brand (upper funnel) and Performance Marketing (lower funnel) teams, tying cohesively across the consumers' full journey:

Get more specifics on how to do these here


3 Optimize the Consumer Experience Across Their Entire Journey:

Deeply understand and map your consumer journey: identify critical touchpoints in both the upper and lower funnel that contribute to the overall experience and build loyalty and sales:

  • Conduct research to holistically understand consumers and their journeys

    • Deep Dive into: needs, beliefs, preferences, behaviors, priority touchpoints used, attitudes, drivers / barriers + more. Cover shopping and product use.

    • Research Approaches: surveys, ethnographies, shop alongs, 1-1 interviews, focus groups, ++

  • Apply advanced analytics to map journeys —overall and for targets

  • Uncover top touchpoints that influence target consumers to build investment strategies for

Work Cross-Functionally: Break down silos and develop cohesive journey touchpoint strategies with Cross-Functional Teams ensuring any short-term tactics are aligned with the long-term vision.

Balance budgets better: Complex multichannel journey budgets can’t be assigned by simple broad-brush benchmarks. They require clarity on goals and which journey touchpoints enable their achievement to invest in.

Map end-to-end Journeys for target consumers, identifying the most critical touchpoints in each phase to invest in to grow sales and loyalty


Sales and branding need to be locked in a symbiotic dance

— Each sale is a branding opportunity, and a strong brand makes every sale easier.

Balanced strategies enable sustainable market growth.

With successful implementation you’ll get:

  • Strategic Short- to Long-Term Equilibrium:

    • Every initiative builds both immediate revenue and lasting brand value.

  • Data-Driven Budget Optimization:

    • Quantified marketing impact and ROI across the full consumer journey optimizes your spend.

  • Enduring Brand Loyalty:

    • Resonate with customers at each touchpoint with cohesive cross-functional experiences that grow sales with lasting loyalty.

  • Meaningful Innovation:

    • Consumer insights identifies white-space opportunities for consumer-centric future innovation

That's how successful businesses work:

Ready to achieve a sustainable balance in your marketing strategy?

Connect with us to explore how our expertise can drive both your immediate and long-term marketing success.

Your long-term payoff is worth it!


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