Episode 05 | How Full-Funnel Multi-Channel Marketing Drives Success for Health & Wellness Brands

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UK Managing Director at Ceuta Group, an IQVIA business, Annette D’Abreo, is joined by Ceuta Group’s Performance Marketing Director, Chris Webster, and Marketing Director, Andrew Smith, to discuss the power of Google and Amazon when used in synergy to fuel digital growth for Health & Wellness brands.

It’s a common misconception that Google and Amazon are competitors in the digital space; yet, Ceuta Group, an IQVIA business’ ecommerce and digital marketing teams have developed innovative ways to combine both approaches and unlock incredible growth for brands in the Health & Wellness landscape. Tune in to unveil their strategic tips and advice.

If you feel inspired and want to learn more about how Ceuta Group, an IQVIA business, can boost your business growth, get in touch.

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“The quest for brand longevity and brand growth is still the same. It’s how we get there that’s changed.”

Annette D'Abreo


Annette D’Abreo 00:12

Hi, I’m Annette D’Abreo, UK Managing Director at Ceuta Group, and this is the original Ceuta Group Podcast. Today, I’m joined by Ceuta Group’s Performance Marketing Director, Chris Webster, and Marketing Director, Andrew Smith.

We’ll be discussing the power of Google and Amazon when used in synergy to fuel digital growth for Health & Wellness brands. It’s a common misconception that the e-commerce giants are competitors in the digital space. But here at Ceuta Group, we have developed innovative ways to combine both approaches to unlock incredible growth for brands in the Health & Wellness landscape.

So, what is performance marketing, Andrew?

Andrew Smith 00:53

Okay, so we see performance marketing here at Ceuta as the strategic use of digital advertising tactics to drive sales and brand awareness and ultimately, complete that marketing strategy, so everything from website optimisation and Pay Per Click advertising right through to social media. In fact, there are a variety of tactics that can be used in isolation or as a collective to ultimately, drive that performance and, essentially, accelerate market penetration and that rate of sale as well.

Annette D’Abreo 01:24

So, Andrew, are you seeing a big increase in investment in this area?

Andrew Smith 01:30

Certainly, with our client base, we are, yes. There was a recent report published in 2022, where UK brands, essentially, increased their performance marketing investments by 16.2% versus a 2.9% increase in traditional advertising. If you take a step away from that as well, from a global perspective, over the next four years, it’s likely to double in the fact that more brands are, essentially, going to invest in performance marketing.

Annette D’Abreo 

And why do you think that is?

Andrew Smith

Essentially, it’s a fundamental change, in terms of it’s cost-effective; it’s more efficient to have a marketing strategy. I think the first point to cover off is that it enables that test and learn methodology.

Now, if you take a recent client example we’ve been working on recently; it was a healthcare brand with supplements. Now, the model they had in play was a place where purchase can be done through the website, it could also be done through a subscription model. So, what we did was we analysed, essentially, all the channels we were working on. We took a step back and had a look at Google Advertising, versus Facebook Advertising.

What we found was the repeat purchases via the subscription model were essentially driving better with Google. So what we did was redistributed that budget and, essentially, re-forecasted what we had invested in Facebook and pulled that back into the spend we’d invested in, essentially, Google advertising. So, essentially, what we can do here is take that unique blend, look at what’s performing and what isn’t and really understand where to invest that budget, essentially.

Annette D’Abreo 03:05

And that sort of granularity of understanding is so important, isn’t it? Because otherwise, you could just be investing in the wrong area. And it’s that knowledge and that ability to look at the data.

Andrew Smith 03:16

Exactly. And I think that’s the key to it. I think the second point is around technology. Yeah, one of the biggest advantages of performance marketing is the ability to track and to analyse data on, essentially, a real-time basis. And essentially, that’s what it enables marketers to do; they can analyse every return for every pound expense across the marketing spectrum, understand what’s working and what isn’t and again, readjust those portraits accordingly.

Annette D’Abreo 03:43

And just linked to that, I guess, we’ve been talking in general about how everything is changing, and people’s behaviours are changing, so this has got to be just a continuum of reassessing, hasn’t it? You can’t, sort of, decide that’s it for the year. It’s got to be looked at consistently.

Andrew Smith 04:01

Exactly. I think that’s another really crucial point, it’s that continual consumer behaviour change. And it’s very much, especially when it comes to digital content consumption across multiple devices, people are doing that more than ever. And it’s a case that they can go away and conduct research online and then go and purchase offline, so having that consistent, end-to-end, full-funnel approach really pays dividends.

Annette D’Abreo 04:27

So, Chris, a bit more on performance marketing, please?

Chris Webster 04:31

Yeah. So, I mean, without a doubt, we are – our clients are – seeing good returns on investment from performance marketing. We’re seeing that across a number of different categories within the Health & Wellness space. Clearly, you know, from a healthcare perspective, pharmacists’ recommendations will stay absolutely paramount, as well as a listing in some of the largest bricks and mortar retailers, often, but yes, without a doubt, we are seeing good return on investment from performance marketing within healthcare.

Annette D’Abreo 05:04

Great, thank you. Could you explain to us a bit what full-funnel marketing is?

Chris Webster 05:11

Full-funnel marketing? Yes. Well, full-funnel essentially means that you’re impacting the consumer journey right the way from the initial awareness, where they become aware of the product, through to consideration, and then on to conversion from there. And then there’s one further step, which is about retention and making sure you get that repeat purchase, etc. So, full-funnel marketing is making sure that you impact the whole of the funnel strategically at different points in time.

Annette D’Abreo 05:36

Okay, so then what is the difference between full-funnel and multi-channel?

Chris Webster 05:41

Yes. So, full-funnel, from top to bottom, multi-channel means that you’re applying those tactics and you’re applying those investments across all of the different mediums that a consumer would search for that product. So, may that be Google? May that be Amazon? Or, increasingly so, may that be Boots.com, hollandandbarrett.com, etc. It’s that multi-channel approach.

Annette D’Abreo 06:03

Okay, got it. And at Ceuta, we’ve been getting some interest now from, actually, quite a few US brands who would like to come over and launch and who have been very successful in e-commerce in the US and want to come over here. So why do you think that is?

Chris Webster 06:17

Yeah, we’re definitely seeing that, that’s right, that they’re viewing the UK as the first step on their international expansion, particularly those brands that have a good digital presence in the States. So, size-of-market would be one: the UK is of significant size. But I think it’s more than that. I think it’s about the low risk that it presents.

Both the markets are very similar, though they’ve got similar digital ecosystems to them. They’re both very Amazon-centric and very Google-centric. And of course, what that means is that if you’ve got that optimum blend of performance marketing through the funnel, that if it’s worked in the States, the chances are that it’s going to be a fairly similar model to the UK. And of course, you would apply your test-and-learn methodology that Andy was talking about before to make sure that it’s absolutely right, but it means it converts over relatively well.

There are probably another couple of reasons. Firstly, secondly, you’ve got the Digital Asset Library. So, if you’ve created an asset library that works for you in the States, there might be some tweaks with tone of voice and things like that, but by and large, it’ll work. And then there’s a slightly more technical one, which is about Amazon ratings and reviews. So, if you’ve built up your reviews, your recent reviews with strong metrics in the States, you can import those over to the UK. So even before you’ve sold anything, it means that you’ve gotten high up the organic rankings, and it means you can get off to a really fast start.

Annette D’Abreo  07:39

I mean, I think, also, that all this assumes that the regulatory piece fits as well so that you can make the claims, which isn’t always the case. So that sort of pre-work, pre-assessment needs to be checked out before it gets to you.

Chris Webster 07:52

Yeah, that’s right. That is a big watch-out. I mean, for example with vitamins brands, there are a lot of things you can say in the States that you just can’t say in the UK. And when it comes to the

Annette D’Abreo 

And levels of activity as well.

Chris Webster

Yeah, yeah, they can be different from a registration from a classification point of view, just because it’s a Class Two medical device in the States doesn’t mean that it transfers over, so you need to talk to experts who know that and who can give you advice on that. I think the other watch-out is route-to-market as well, which can be very different in the States. The US has a lot more sort of marketplace focus, so if you take the likes of Walmart, they’ve got a marketplace now that they’re offering. We’re not quite there yet in the UK. But of course, that changes your whole digital marketing mix as well.

Annette D’Abreo 08:34

So this is, I think it’s a question to answer. But therefore, regardless of where the brands come from, what would be the best blend of investment? Or are you very much doing the analysis first to work all that out?

Andrew Smith 08:48

Yeah, so I think it very much depends on the brand. It varies, but it also varies depending on the channels where we think we can see that success. I think it really comes down to three key factors, really, the category being one, the competition, and the price points. Say, for example, a premium brand with a high cost is looking to enter that market, versus a new live and existing brand, which is competitively priced. We know that blended investments will be totally different for each other route to market. And the key thing to consider is understanding what’s going to work best, how much investment you need per channel, and ultimately, how you then enter that marketplace effectively.

Annette D’Abreo 09:33


Chris Webster 09:33

But it’s about that test-and-learn methodology, isn’t it? So, you may start in a particular place, but as you start to realise that a particular blend of investment up and down the funnel and across the funnel is working, you would dial up or dial down accordingly.

You know, I mean, if I give you an example, we’ve recently done some work for a blister plaster brand in the UK and we wanted to get those consumers down the funnel from the awareness side into consideration, into conversion. So, what we did is we looked at all the people who were on Amazon who’d bought high-heeled shoes in the previous two months and then we served them with an advert for this blister plaster, so that in itself got good cut-through, and then we managed to send them a sample as well. But that was a significant penetration for the growth. And it’s about just doing things a little bit differently. So that was that programmatic targeting example. But yes, it’s about dialling up and dialling down when things work for you.

Annette D’Abreo 10:32

Yeah. So again, another big question, how does it work?

Chris Webster 10:38

How does it work? Well, okay, I think you touched on it before, it’s about having visibility. It’s that data analytics piece so that if you wrap up the whole funnel in these metrics and you’ve got good visibility and good, robust metrics that go through, you can have a look at those conversion rates, those click-through rates, those repeat-purchase rates, that enables you to apply that test-and-learn methodology. If you don’t have that, you’re sort of shooting in the dark a little bit.

Annette D’Abreo 11:03

Yeah. Okay. Andrew, anything to add to that?

Andrew Smith 11:05

Sure. Let’s start with awareness, so very much the top of the funnel here. It’s very much the case when a potential customer becomes aware of a brand or a product and in most cases, it’s for the first time, so having that sort of initial kind of viewpoint is very important. Just make sure, essentially, we start that journey off in the right way. So, everything from sort of a website message through to content or creative, ensuring we have that sort of touchpoint across each of those mediums is crucial to make sure we kickstart in the right way, really.

I think if you talk about consideration and that stage, it’s very much all about the consumer. They’re at the point where they’re interested, they’re looking to conduct research, they’re looking to go out there and find solutions or answers to their needs or requirements. I think that’s the crucial part of it. It’s being there at that point, to answer that question or query. I mean, a great example of a strategy we use at Ceuta is user-focused content. So, we go away and truly understand what they’re looking for at this stage and look to create a content strategy that, essentially, answers those questions and provides that level of information, so they can go away, take it away, digest that, and then return once they understand that, right, that’s the best brand for me.

And it’s also really beneficial to that end journey. It’s that consistent narrative from awareness to consideration, which takes us through to, essentially, conversion and that point, very much at this stage, it’s all about that execution, that end goal is, essentially, the point-of-sale conversion.

Chris Webster 12:43

Yeah, when you get down into conversion, that’s where key search term bidding really comes to the fore. So, if you want to be defensive as a brand, you might invest in your own brand term. If you want to be disruptive, you might invest in the competition, which means that you can steal that conversion right at the last minute. But you know, you’re getting right down to the bottom of the funnel at that point. And then, of course, it’s retention after that.

Andrew Smith 13:06

Yeah. And that’s very much the bottom of the funnel. It’s, essentially, that longevity to really analyse that sort of lifetime customer value, in that sense, looking at repeat purchases using mediums such as email marketing, for example, smart drip campaigns over a three/four week period to entice that ongoing subscription, for example. If we take a step back to the supplements example, as I said earlier, it’s very much a part of their process to get that long-term customer, so having those mediums coupled with, say, paid social advertising, making sure they’re fully aware of the benefits of that product at that point in time, it makes that end goal, ultimately, is to get that customer to repeat purchase. That’s the key.

Chris Webster 13:49

And that’s where Amazon Subscribe and Save often comes in handy because that’s a very, very good mechanic for getting repeat purchases.

Annette D’Abreo 13:57

I mean, the quest for brand longevity and brand growth is still the same. It’s how we get there.

Andrew Smith 14:03

Massively in channels, yeah.

Andrew Smith 14:03

Yeah, I think it also comes down to the setup we have in place. I think, if marketing channels are being managed by separate agencies, or within silos, for example, it’s very difficult to kind of manage the performance of each of those, essentially learn from each of those points, and feed that sort of knowledge or expertise across each channel. Now, it takes a really skilled sort of brand owner in that instance to collectively bring that together, for example, sort of managing those different points of contact, but also, at the end of the day, driving performance and ultimately, sales, in that sense.

Annette D’Abreo 14:43


Chris Webster 14:43

Yeah, no, I agree. Without a doubt, brand owners are looking for that one agency to manage the entire funnel under one roof. Because if you’ve got a variety of competing agencies, they’re all competing for that investment and it’s not going to be the optimum blend, at the end of the day.

Andrew Smith 14:58

Exactly, yeah.

Annette D’Abreo 14:58

Also, I think there are learnings that are important to communicate really, really quickly. So you might get an understanding that could actually affect a bricks-and-mortar listing, for example, and vice versa. So I think that’s one of the important things about that fluidity of communications and understanding, when things move so quickly in this digital area, it can be incredibly powerful.

Chris Webster 15:27

Yeah, no, absolutely. Yes, linking it into that bricks-and-mortar piece is really, really important as well. You shouldn’t view this as just digital investment, this is overall investment.

Annette D’Abreo 15:37

Overall investment, regardless of where the consumer goes. Because, you know, we can see specific market data that will show online has dropped, bricks-and-mortar has grown, or it might move the other way, and it depends on the category. So yeah, exactly.

Chris Webster 15:51

That’s right. But even if you’ve chosen to go with just a digital launch, which some brands do, of course, that’s just setting you up for future bricks-and-mortar listings after that, because if you can prove that you’ve got a good rate of sale, a good lifetime value, a good repeat-purchase, of course, when you go to negotiate that commercial set with the bricks-and-mortar retailer, it means you’re going to be in a much stronger position

Annette D’Abreo 16:11

Yes you do, good, good.

So a question, Chris, that we are being asked quite a lot is just our approach to AI. And we’re pretty much working with AI in everything that you’re doing, you and your team, and Andrew, you and your team. It’s embedded in so much of what we do already.

Chris Webster 16:28

Yeah, no, it is. I mean, I think it has with Google been embedded for a while longer than it has with Amazon, actually. I mean, AI or machine learning with Amazon has really only come to the fore in the last, say, three or four years. But brand owners now increasingly use AI to just optimise their key search term bidding. You know, it can be done, either through time, I mean, it’s less resource cost if you’re using AI, but time is also important from a time of day. So, if you’re using AI, you can optimise your bidding strategy over a full 24 hours of the day, rather than just the working day.

Annette D’Abreo 17:06

So, Chris, could you give us an example without naming names?

Chris Webster 17:10

Yeah, no. Sure. So we used AI very effectively recently to get some good return on investments from a baby category brand, because we found out that mums and dads were searching in the early hours of the morning for a solution to this problem. And actually, you’re getting some pretty good bids in that time, some really good return on investment, so we’ve massively managed to improve our cut-throughs.

Annette D’Abreo 17:32

Which is not a surprise to any mums and dads watching you.

Thank you, Andrew. Thank you, Chris. It’s been great having you here. Just before we go, is there anything that you’d like to add? One final thought?

Chris Webster 17:43

One final thought. I’ve got two, actually, if that’s OK.

Annette D’Abreo 17:44

Not surprised.

Chris Webster 17:45:

I think, you know, we’ve heard a lot today about performance marketing, and how to optimise campaigns. But I think I’d say make sure you’ve got the fundamentals correct before you do that.

Make sure that the product is going to be delivered properly to the consumer once they’ve clicked purchase. If you haven’t got that bit sorted out, there’s a lot of the rest, which is wasted investment. So, from an Amazon perspective, make sure that you’ve got 1P, versus 3P, versus hybrid. If you’re going to do a website, is it going to be D2C or is it going to be a catalogue website? Lots of considerations before you start investing.

Annette D’Abreo 18:21

Thank you. And what was your second?

Chris Webster 18:24

So, the other thought would be, if you’ve got a UK-specific, strong performance marketing campaign going, there are lots of other Google-centric, Amazon-centric companies out there that you can take that formula and move it over there as well. So, France, Germany, etc., had a lot of success in moving into Europe from the UK.

Annette D’Abreo 18:41

That’s a nice point. Thank you very much. Andrew, did you have a last thought?

Andrew Smith 18:45

I think the final point for myself is around data analysis. The amount of data now available, couple that with generative AI, Artificial Intelligence, in that sense, it’s taking a step back in terms of that old school methodology of manually kind of optimising campaigns and it’s understanding what that sort of machine learning can bring to the table, really. And it’s all about listening to that and understanding what we can make of it, because at the end of the day, we’re looking to maximise budgets here and where we spend effectively and on the right channels, so I think that’s the key learning, really,

Annette D’Abreo 19:21

It’s such a dynamic area. It’s so exciting. Thank you both for your time today.

Andrew Smith 19:22

Thank you, Annette.

Andrew Smith 19:22


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