Over the last two decades, marketers have seen massive progression in growth marketing and paid media. Defining growth marketing as it relates to your brand has become increasingly important. How it appears in one industry can look entirely different in another.
Marketers That Matter brought together Michael Newman, the VP of Marketing, Demand Gen at Tipalti, and Adrienne Voltaggio, the Marketing Director of US Paid Media at Visa, to discuss modern media planning and strategy. They share how they engage with their customers through paid media buys, on emerging social channels, and testing and iterating rapidly to pull insightful data.
Here is what they had to say during the MTM 411 and how it could impact your teams, talent, and future.
Q: What are you and your teams focused on?
Adrienne Voltaggio: My team focuses on paid media in the U.S. We focus on brands, sponsorship, usage, payment volume, co-branded product acquisition, and more. We also manage relationships with wonderful agencies that help us get into the market and do the buying.
Michael Newman: My team has grown from nine to 20 members in one year, so onboarding new members and roles is a top priority. As a high-growth company, those new roles allow us to define what growth marketing means to us. Growth marketing is generally where the predominant amount of new business comes from. We shift our focus as need be, but we’re mainly focused on everything from field marketing to traditional inbound – organic and paid search.
Q: What is Growth Marketing, how do you define media, and what is in scope for your teams?
Michael Newman: Growth marketing is simply responding to where you see growth, doubling down, and taking a more targeted approach. Paid media buys used to be primarily search-based, then you needed to incorporate display ads for awareness, and now it’s anywhere you can put a digital signature or digital image. The younger generation loves to engage with short-form videos, especially on TikTok, and we must consider how to deliver similar content and education to them where they are engaged.
Adrienne Voltaggio: The progression of how we define growth marketing is fascinating. When I compare how we approach growth marketing to the previous clients I’ve worked for, especially in the retail space, it’s entirely different. Growth marketing used to be more about driving efficiency and return on ad spend for the lowest cost. Growth marketing, especially at Visa, has now turned into long-term value and determining what is sustainable.
For paid media, it is about the audiences you’re targeting and engaging on emerging social platforms. That long-term value could be anything; you could apply the growth marketing model of Test and Learn to Brand Health or Usage. It can be something other than straight acquisition, though that is still the core of growth marketing.
Q: Where is the best place to start in growth marketing & media strategy?
Adrienne Voltaggio: For my team, we start by defining what our goal is and what that value is. We work on so many different products, and with so many teams, we must be aligned on business and marketing goals. From there, we define our “Who, Where, When,” which is the bulk of paid media.
We ask ourselves:
- Do we have first-party data or key media segments we know are working?
- Do we know where we want to grow?
- Who will be our customer six months, a year, or five years from now?
- Where are people spending their time?
- Do they watch tv? Do they travel?
- When are they most receptive to hearing from you?
- When do they want to see an ad from our brand?
- When do they not want to see an ad from our brand?
A lot of the time, we need more data to answer these questions and have to start from scratch. We do a lot of co-branded campaigns for new products and use our gut instincts, take from past campaigns where we can, and apply that as much as possible.
Michael Newman: We start by knowing our audience. We have our ideal customer profile (ICP) and know exactly who we’re trying to reach, where they are engaged, and where they are in the customer journey. It’s also important to know what they need, whether educational material or something that will lead to a conversion.
Through the evolution of paid media, ICP has become a greater challenge because many people bounce from one paid media channel to another and, ideally, wind up on your website directly.
The data point is that +80% of the buyer’s journey is done outside your buying domain. It’s crucial to reach them in these different areas and funnel them where they can get the information they need to progress their buying journey.
Q: What are some of the challenges and opportunities you are facing?
Adrienne Voltaggio: The biggest challenge right now is predicting performance. There have been many rapid changes to paid media on how we regulate consumer data, like navigating pixels, cookies, and access, determining which platforms you can use them on and which you can’t, and redefining audience segments. The other change we are noticing is consumer relevance; consumers want to see a message that fits within the environment that they’re in.
If you’re not always “on,” rather, operating in a start-and-stop mode, it might be hard to figure out why your CPAs are changing or why your brand health is moving in certain directions. It’s essential to always “be on” and make real-time optimizations. When you’re on, there’s an opportunity to find consistencies in the data, discover your loyal customers, provide consistent value, and see the placements you do not see falter.
Michael Newman: Testing has become very difficult in this current market. You typically want to give 2-4 weeks of testing, but if the environment changes daily based on some new data point or a new challenge, it’s hard to get a consistent audience to analyze what is successful.
Q: How do you overcome these challenges, especially with a shortened testing window?
Michael Newman: When you have a shortened window, you look at when something improves even by 2-3%. You may shrink your confidence window from 95% to 90% or 85% because it’s performing well, and you want to stay relevant and active. The other thing I recommend is finding the right mix of review and approval internally before you let the market tell you.
Adrienne Voltaggio: If something isn’t working, even though the creative and marketing team had gut instincts that it would, it’s important not to be precious about it but listen to the marketplace and customers and pivot.
We have a lot of testing structures, and we try to get things right before we go to market, making it more complex if it doesn’t do as well as expected. But there is so much rapid change that it’s hard to predict, and sometimes you simply need to try something new.
The 411 virtual events are hosted by Jennie Stark, the Senior Director of the MTM Program at 24 Seven. They are designed for Marketing Managers to bring value, direction, and inspiration to their teams from insightful conversations with top marketing leaders. Each event contains insights on different disciplines, such as what brands are focused on, leading teams, measuring success, and more.
Michael Newman, VP Marketing, Demand Gen at Tipalti: Michael Newman is a marketing professional with deep roots in the B2B SaaS industry. He has expertise in Demand Generation and GTM execution. Having led teams across marketing, he brings insights and perspectives from many angles that help design integrated programs that deliver growth. Michael’s career spans from start-ups to enterprise brands, and he is known for launching innovations and building teams that deliver new capabilities for the organization. He attributes his success to three values: a healthy curiosity, a data-first mentality, and a strong desire to learn from those around him.
Adrienne Voltaggio, Marketing Director, US Paid Media at Visa: Adrienne Voltaggio is a full-funnel marketer with experience in paid media, sports sponsorships, social media, events, music & sonic strategies for brands. She enjoys raising the status quo with strategic thought and tactical accuracy. She has been an esteemed marketing leader for Visa for over five years, and she is certified by Cornell University & Visa through their Amplify Women’s Leadership program.
Marketers That Matter® is a community of top marketing executives coming together to pioneer the future of marketing, sharing real-time experiences, and solving current challenges.
Our parent company, 24 Seven, specializes in helping you find exceptional marketing and creative talent for your teams.