As Brand and Performance Converge, How Can Marketers Best Forecast & Plan?


Explore how modern marketers navigate the merging worlds of brand and performance marketing. Our latest post delves into effective strategies for forecasting and planning media investments in an era where traditional marketing boundaries are blurred. Learn how to adapt and thrive in this dynamic landscape.

Marketing investments have traditionally been segmented into two broad categories: brand marketing and performance marketing. Each type serves a distinct purpose but ultimately contributes to the overarching goal of growth and profitability by driving or capturing demand.

  • Brand marketing is centered around creating long-term brand equity and deep emotional connections with consumers—essentially driving demand. 
  • Performance marketing, on the other hand, focuses on measurable and immediate results like clicks, conversions, and sales—essentially capturing that demand.

Given the evolving complexities in marketing, media planners now find themselves at a crossroads, needing to adapt their strategies to understand and forecast future market dynamics effectively. Traditional segmentation into brand and performance marketing no longer suffices due to blurring lines and new challenges, such as data privacy changes and shifting consumer behaviors.

In this new reality, the ability to properly forecast media impact becomes not just valuable but essential.

The evolution of brand vs. performance

Not only are marketing investments segmented by brand and performance. Marketing channels have been traditionally distinctly earmarked for either brand or performance objectives, each serving specific strategic purposes:

Brand Channels: Television, Print, Radio, Outdoor (Billboards, Transit Ads), Social Media (for brand awareness campaigns), Content Marketing

Performance Channels: Search engines, Email, Social media (for targeted ads and promotions), PPC (Pay-per-click) Advertising, Direct Mail, Telemarketing

And these siloed channels are managed by siloed teams, each with a specific function, best practices, and expertise to either drive demand or capture. This binary approach reduces complexity and gives brands those two distinct levers to plan their campaigns.

Channels that were once easily divisible into brand and performance segments can now address the entire funnel. For instance, TV, once considered just a branding tactic, has become increasingly digital and now offers performance functions with advanced targeting and conversion features, enabling marketers to not only raise awareness but also drive direct sales.

Companies like Apple and Nike excel in brand marketing, fostering trust and loyalty among consumers through long-term brand awareness strategies with broad measurement metrics. Conversely, companies like Amazon and eBay have focused on performance marketing, emphasizing measurable results like clicks and sales through tools like pay-per-click advertising. 

During media planning, the right media mix for any company isn’t a fixed formula; it varies with the company’s goals, market conditions, and consumer behavior, necessitating continual adaptation in their marketing strategies.

Historically, the industry has swung back and forth between prizing brand or performance. Right now, after the post-pandemic brand blitz, the market is swinging back to favoring performance. 

The brand/performance model is under attack due to market forces and the organic evolution of marketing.


Channels: from siloed to full-funnel

Channels that were once easily divisible into brand and performance segments can now address the entire funnel. For instance, TV, once considered just a branding tactic, has become increasingly digital and now offers performance functions with advanced targeting and conversion features, enabling marketers to not only raise awareness but also drive direct sales. 

Another prime example, search marketing, once relegated to a performance channel, is used across the customer journey, with more than 90% of consumers using search engines when discovering, exploring, and engaging during their purchase decision-making: 

  • 95% of respondents use at least one search channel for discovery (top funnel) 
  • 94% of respondents use at least one search channel for consideration/purchase (mid-funnel) 
  • 93% of respondents use at least one search channel for engagement (bottom funnel) 

With channel lines blurring, marketers can no longer rely on the old paradigm. Every channel team now must be effective at both driving demand and capturing it. 


Data: free-flowing to signal loss

When data was abundant, marketers could utilize it to pinpoint each consumer’s stage in the customer journey and tailor their strategies to either drive or capture demand accordingly. For example, if this person just left my website after putting a product in their shopping cart, I can retarget them and capture that demand. Conversely, it’s this person’s first time on my website, so I should offer them a first-time purchase coupon.

However, the ongoing concerns over consumer data privacy and the impending end of third-party cookies are making this more challenging. Marketers have long relied on third-party data for targeting, personalization, and measuring the effectiveness of their campaigns across different channels. With these capabilities diminishing, marketers must explore new ways to achieve their objectives without knowing which lever to pull: brand or performance.


Consumer expectations: low to high

Consumers today expect a seamless experience across all touchpoints, which demands an integrated approach to brand and performance marketing. The rise of omnichannel shopping and consumption means that consumers might start their journey on one platform and complete it on another, making it crucial for marketers to engage them consistently at every stage. This shift requires marketers to adopt more holistic strategies that not only drive demand but also capture it at various points along the consumer journey.

As digital marketing becomes more complex, media planners face the challenge of forecasting and planning with precision. They need to use advanced analytics to predict trends and adjust their strategies quickly to keep up with changing consumer behaviors and market conditions.

Understanding demand dynamics in media planning and forecasting: let data light the way

In this shifting landscape, understanding how demand driving and demand capturing work independently is becoming difficult—and even harder to know how they work together. 

So, how does a marketer plan and forecast their media investments when they can’t easily split brand and performance efforts into discreet channels?

The data. Advanced data analytics, particularly predictive analytics, are crucial here. They help marketers understand how long-term branding impacts short-term performance metrics and vice versa, optimizing media spend to enhance brand awareness while driving conversions.

Even though marketers are working with much less data than in previous years, there’s still enough to help understand the dynamics of your demand strategy. Leveraging data not only optimizes the current strategies but also equips marketers with the tools needed to predict and respond to changes in consumer behavior and market conditions. 

Effective scenario planning is also vital. It allows marketers to explore various strategies and their impacts on brand value and performance outcomes. This flexibility helps them swiftly adapt to market changes, capturing new opportunities and fostering sustained brand growth.

Data helps marketers adapt to the challenges of understanding demand dynamics

Granularity beyond channel silos. Advanced analytics provide a detailed view across channels, enhancing understanding and strategic planning.

Better use of data. With data availability dwindling, leveraging predictive analytics to maximize first-party data is essential for making informed decisions.

Aligning strategies with consumer expectations. Strategic planning must now ensure that every channel can engage consumers at each stage of the funnel, addressing their expectations for seamless experiences.

Skai Decision Pro: media forecasting for modern marketing

As the lines between brand and performance marketing continue to blur, the need for sophisticated media forecasting and planning tools has never been more critical. Skai Decision Pro offers advanced forecasting capabilities designed to navigate the complexities of today’s marketing landscape. This tool is essential for media planners seeking to adapt their strategies not only to understand but to forecast future market dynamics and consumer behaviors effectively.

Skai Decision Pro excels in providing deep insights and predictive analytics that allow marketers to anticipate market trends and adjust their strategies. Its robust forecasting capabilities enable a dynamic approach to media planning. By integrating comprehensive data analysis, Skai Decision Pro helps marketers make informed decisions, ensuring that each campaign is aligned with both long-term (brand/demand driver) and immediate (performance, demand capture) marketing goals.

Skai Decision Pro’s Key Capabilities Include:

  • Comprehensive forecasting tools utilize advanced algorithms to predict market trends and consumer behavior, allowing for proactive strategy adjustments.
  • Integrated data analysis seamlessly combines data from various channels for a unified view of marketing efforts, enhancing decision-making processes.
  • Real-time strategy optimization adapts and optimizes marketing strategies based on real-time data and predictive insights, ensuring maximum effectiveness.
  • Scenario planning enables a predictive look across different marketing strategies to determine the best approach for driving and capturing demand under varying market conditions.


As we’ve explored today, the evolution of marketing strategies amidst blurring channel lines presents both challenges and opportunities. As media channels increasingly overlap, the distinct roles of brand and performance marketing are merging. This fusion requires a dynamic approach and sophisticated forecasting, planning, and decisioning solutions to managing media investments, where understanding the interplay between brand equity and immediate sales outcomes is critical.

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