The pandemic tore up old customer journey maps and forced many brands to rethink customer experiences and entire operating models. Like any major disruption, it brought with it some big opportunities – squeezing years of digital transformation into just 18 months.

What emerged was a new world driven by AI and a new emphasis on retail media – a medium that offers marketers highly measurable results and an increased focus on efficiency and financial accountability.

Marketers know that in tough times, their work is all too often placed on the wrong side of cost equations. So, it’s no surprise we’re seeing a surge in performance-based and, more explicitly, outcome-based marketing practices that can deliver provable ROAS (return on ad spend).

And it’s not just about guaranteed results (although that’s a major part of the attraction, of course). There’s a lot more to outcome-based marketing once you dig a little deeper.

Here are six ways outcome-based marketing can help brands make the most of their marketing spend.

  1. Embrace accountability
    Performance marketing is no longer a brute-force numbers game. Today, brands have access to intelligent marketing solutions that help them take back control of complex, multi-channel customer journeys – so they can focus on value over volume and embrace accountability with more confidence.
  2. Drive real outcomes that boost your bottom line
    Part of this mindset shift involves rethinking what counts as a valuable result – clicks no longer cut it as a standalone metric. With outcome-based marketing, it’s now possible to optimize for very specific, very tangible results, such as high-value web page visits, conversions, sales, store visits, and more. Brands should be capturing and optimizing for these attributable metrics.
  3. spend to impact directly
    At the heart of outcome-based marketing is the ability to attribute spend to real outcomes. The more complex customer journeys become, the more challenging this process is, but it’s critical that brands master closed-loop measurement so they can tie outcomes back to real people, accurately and anonymously. This is especially relevant for DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands who often don’t have the same level of marketing budget their Big Retail competitors are used to.
  4. Measure incremental effects
    Incrementality is a huge topic for marketers running digital and mixed-media campaigns and, once again, it’s something outcome-based marketing can help them to master. If you’re advertising on TV, you need to understand your incremental reach, so you know exactly what kind of impact your ad spend is delivering. No more blunt measurement – if you want to know the effect that discrete programs are having, you should be able to measure incremental ROAS.
  5. Understand (and optimize) the path to conversion
    Even today, brands lose sight of core insights like the path to conversion. There’s a wealth of information to be tapped along multi-channel, multi-touch journeys – and not just so marketing gets credit where credit is due. Brands must be able to close the loop between measurement and optimization, and to refine and improve the customer journey while it’s happening.
  6. Use a people-first approach to marketing
    The great thing about outcome-based marketing is that it makes a people-first approach part of the process. It’s not an ad-hoc afterthought – better control over things like ad frequency, channels, and messaging enables marketers to execute more respectful marketing campaigns.

Ultimately, when you look at these capabilities together, you start to see that this is not the performance marketing of the past.

To succeed in this rapidly evolving landscape, brands must find a blend of expertise in deep media knowledge, tech, creative brilliance, data analysis, AI, audiences, and more. Those who get this right will be able to shift from a volume grab to a value mindset.