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Key considerations for marketing excellence
Oakley Capital
28 Mar 22

Marketing Excellence in 2022: it’s not all about digital!

At Oakley Capital we have deep expertise helping companies across different sectors and regions apply the most effective marketing solutions to win new customers and accelerate revenue growth. From digital marketing and social media influencers, to ‘analogue’ solutions such as outdoor advertising, here are our top five considerations for founder-managers and management teams in 2022.

1. The shift to online will continue to accelerate.. and so will advertising spend

Since COVID we’re all spending even more time on our mobiles, forcing brands and business to increase their online engagement with customers. This trend began long before the pandemic, and Oakley has accumulated significant experience advising digital marketplaces how to optimise their digital marketing strategy, from keyword optimisation to SEO. Oakley portfolio company Facile is Italy’s leading price comparison website, helping consumers switch car insurance, broadband and energy online. Facile has successfully deployed paid online marketing with Facebook and Google to drive website traffic and improve conversion rates, while maintaining customer acquisition costs at a stable level

 

2. Delivering a one-two marketing punch

While online is important, it’s not the only game in town. Combining digital with TV advertising has helped deliver a one-two marketing punch for Facile, by educating consumers about switching in a market where digital penetration lags behind Northern Europe. While this initially pushed up customer acquisition costs, it helped build the Facile brand and drive traffic to its website; and it improved the mix of that traffic towards lower-cost channels (i.e. more direct and branded traffic). Over time it also allowed Facile to develop a multi-product advertising strategy beyond car insurance. Facile also hit on a third marketing strategy- ‘bricks-and-mortar’- to make its television spend go further. Building a high-street presence has made it easier to reach so-called digital ‘holdouts’, typically older consumers who are wary of online switching. Selling more complex products face-to-face such as loans and mortgages is also easier. This unique combination of digital marketing, TV and bricks-and-mortar has paid off: between 2014 and 2018 Facile tripled EBITDA and significantly diversified its business into new verticals.

3. Traditional advertising still works!

Oakley delivered a similar one-two marketing punch at Parship, the online matchmaking business. This former portfolio company embraced an age-old, low-tech marketing medium pioneered in 1830s America, billboard advertising, and combined this with a TV campaign. Outdoor advertising in train stations and other high-volume spaces quickly built a very strong, recognisable brand offering an easy-to-understand service. Parship complemented this approach with ‘trigger’ TV advertising to reinforce its brand. By the time Oakley exited the business (3.6x MM), Parship was the largest spender on outdoor advertising in Germany.

4. Social media influencers + the network effect

Influencer marketing boomed in 2020 and 2021 as consumers spent more time on social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok, a trend that’s unlikely to slow this year. But while superstar influencers with millions of followers can help brands deliver successful campaigns, smaller influencers are growing in importance as consumers increasingly prefer a more informal and relatable approach to celebrity endorsements. Online fitness platform and Oakley portfolio company Gymondo is partnering with both types of influencers including Savannah Labrant (6.8 million followers) and Kate’s Diary (160,000 followers). The business pays influencers for every customer conversion, thereby creating a scalable and efficient marketing channel that has helped deliver 550,000 subscribers with sensible customer acquisition costs. These partnerships also involve collaboration: influencers and Gymondo together create new fitness programmes – from yoga classes to hip hop-inspired workouts. New content boosts customer loyalty while also attracting more traffic and new customers, creating a network effect that benefits both influencers and Gymondo.

5. The importance of ePrivacy

Digital marketeers are already planning for a ‘cookieless’ future, as consumer privacy and GDPR rules drive a shift away from third-party cookies. Contextual adverts, which deliver digital advertising that is directly relevant to the content that readers are consuming, are one solution that businesses are already embracing. In 2021, Oakley invested in Seedtag, a leader in this fast-growing adtech market and with clients such as Microsoft and Unilever. As co-founder Albert Nieto Riera recently said: “People don’t want to be followed and tracked on the internet. We believe companies with the brightest future in a cookieless world are those who find an alternative that is effective for brands but which respects the privacy of users”.

Oakley applies a range of proven value creation drivers, including marketing excellence, M&A and talent acquisition to help business founders grow their companies. We’re always keen to speak to entrepreneurs and management teams about how we can help their business, and we’re also looking to back more successful digital and adtech businesses.

Get in touch by emailing investorrelations@oakleycapital.com

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