Marketing departments often have to do more with less in a competitive and fast-moving industry. But today, demanding roles are more challenging to fill, and budgets are tighter than ever. How can marketing bosses adapt their approaches when faced with these challenges?
The answer is improving output through integrative strategy development and execution. Sacrifice your bishops and pawns for your kings and queens.
Interest Rates At A Prolonged High
In the current environment, marketing and sales are under pressure. The pandemic, rising inflation, and geopolitical tensions have come in quick succession. The resultant high-interest rates have made it difficult for businesses to stay liquid, let alone expand their marketing budgets.
Sales are declining. Marketing expenditure has begun to outpace sales growth. Businesses must cut costs across the board, and marketing executives must contribute to cost-effective growth.
Marketing Budgets Expected To Remain Slim in 2023
With the economy in its current state, CEOs face pressure to slash their marketing spend. 86% of business leaders expect a recession in 2023. And with rising interest rates and stock market volatility top of mind for many companies, it's no surprise that most CEOs consider marketing spending non-essential. This means it's time for you to rethink your ad budgets and marketing strategies before Q1 takes off.
Balancing Performance and Scalability
Marketing's role in driving sustainable and inclusive growth is an ongoing conversation. But as you work to balance scalability, your marketing center needs to be successful right now.
Use marketing as a tool to drive sustainable and inclusive growth. Find ways to balance the short term with the long term by focusing on profitability and expansion.
To achieve that, you'll need to be in tune with the vision for your organization's future—and then you must build an agile strategy that can adapt to changing customer needs.
This requires strong leadership, shared accountability, and metrics-driven decision-making. It also means creating cross-functional teams responsible for their actions and accountable for results—so everyone has skin in the game.
Adopt an Integrated Approach
Leading companies are increasingly integrating the functions of their finance and marketing departments. This allows them to use modern tracking tools and business intelligence (insights from consumer data) for budget control. The result is more efficient marketing spending, which means you get better value for your dollar.
The benefits of this approach can be multiplied if your company outsources its marketing department—or key functions—to an experienced partner like the AJ Center.
Building strong brands is another way marketers can succeed despite limited resources during economic uncertainty. Robust messaging around product/service quality gives consumers safety, security, and reassurance. It protects a company's market share in uncertain times.
Implement Tactical Optimization
You must focus on tactical optimization to make the most of your limited resources. Allocate more resources to channels generating the most leads and revenue. Reduce or eliminate those that aren't. Identify where there are holes in your current marketing strategy and implement tactics to fill them.
For example, if you use SEO but not PPC ads because of budget constraints, try implementing both channels to see what works better for your business.
By doing this type of A/B testing with multiple tactics, you get helpful marketing insights to increase efficiency across all channels. The strategy empowers you to test ideas rapidly and make changes based on performance data.
Adapt to the New Global Marketing Order
Today's power brands are tactically moving away from paid advertising, which has historically been the main driver of brand awareness for many businesses. Instead, they now create, own, and distribute their own content through various mixed channels.
They're also utilizing SEO to build credibility in the long term, which is a win-win for growth and performance.
And if you want to get more bang for your buck, outsource marketing to budget-friendly agencies with experience in content creation and lead generation.
Audit the efficiency of your media agencies by looking at their previous campaigns and pay them based on results instead of time spent on projects.
Update Employee Retention Strategies
It might be time to rethink your employee retention strategies if you are a CMO. With the needs of employees have changed so dramatically post-pandemic, you will need to find new ways to identify and resolve the reasons your marketing employees leave their roles. We recommend taking swift actions in the short term and creating retention-inclusive budgets in the long term.
In addition to these changes within your organization's culture, we recommend becoming socially accountable through CSR practices. Adopt CSR initiatives that attract talent while gaining marketing mileage beyond traditional means.
Rethink the Traditional Path to Talent Acquisition and Retention
You may have to rethink the traditional path to find affordable marketing talent.
Skip college degree and experience requirements. There are a lot of people who are highly talented but haven't gone through traditional education programs. They might be older or younger than your typical candidate, but they have something better: creativity and enthusiasm!
Provide tangible benefits like flexible schedules and remote work opportunities. Help employees align their priorities and ambitions with the overall company goals.
Invest in professional development programs for existing employees. Offer within-budget reskilling opportunities such as workshops on social media marketing strategy development, best practices for Google AdWords, and effective use of data analytics tools.
Ultimately, it's time to rethink the traditional path of marketing. With interest rates on the rise, budgets expected to remain slim, and employees more mobile than ever, it makes sense to do something different—like diving into analytics or investing in technology that helps you drive performance rather than spend money on it.