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For those at the helm of big marketing budgets and targets, the last few years may have felt like you’re stuck in the ring with a heavyweight boxer, dodging uppercuts and left hooks every time you raise your head. The pandemic, economic downfall, and continuing global uncertainty has meant no rest, and unfortunately, the horizon remains bleak. But for those who have managed to navigate their way through the first few rounds, it’s time to stay resilient and get back on the front foot… starting with making sure you’re dialling up effectiveness, whilst also protecting, shielding, and even building on your financial resources

It’s well known that there is a direct correlation between marketing expenditure and economic performance – both at a company and macro level. Past market crashes and downturns have illustrated that marketing budgets are frequently among the first to be cut… often even before travel and people.

Given this, it is crucial for Marketing Leaders and those that own (or help) define the purse strings, consider more strategic and creative approaches to navigate the onslaught of challenges they are currently being thrown.

While cutting marketing spend might be an easy solution, it may not be the best move in the long run. To navigate these uncertain times, those driving the marketing agenda should be considering these key strategies to protect your financial resources

  1. Cut the deadweight. When the economy takes a hit, it’s the perfect opportunity to shed old habits that no longer serve you. Identify poor initiatives and activity that don’t align with current goals and redirect those resources to where they’ll have the most impact.
  2. Embrace technology. Don’t shy away from investing in tech during hard times – it can actually save you money in the long run. Automate and streamline processes to free up your team to focus on high-impact activities.
  3. Guard existing customers. The relative costs of acquiring new customers versus retaining existing ones, is significantly more expensive, with a ratio of five to one. Make sure you look after your existing and valuable customers.
  4. Forge a strong bond with C-suite, especially the CEO and CFO. Keep lines of communication open and bring data-driven insights to the table to demonstrate how marketing is driving financial outcomes. Remember, during tough times, leaders tend to prioritize short-term gains, so be ready to justify the value of long-term strategies like building brand awareness.
  5. Optimize the customer experience. Give your customers the best experience possible by understanding their needs and pain points and aligning your messaging and products accordingly.
  6. Be a creative force. Just because the economy is down, doesn’t mean your marketing has to be. Look for new ways to connect with customers and don’t be afraid to try something new.
  7. Communicate with your team. Keep your team informed of any changes and make sure they understand their role in the bigger picture. This will keep them motivated and focused during trying times.
  8. Keep your head up. Times aren’t only hard for you, they are hard for everyone. Lead from the front and make sure you’re driving a positive outlook across your team.

In summary, economic uncertainty can be a scary time for CMOs, but with the right mindset, it can also lead to valuable improvements in your marketing strategy.

The key is to stay focused on your goals, be creative, and communicate effectively with your team and the C-suite. Tough times can lead to innovative solutions, and by taking these steps, CMOs can ensure their marketing strategy is driving financial outcomes and positioning their company for long-term growth… along with keeping customers on-side.

Contact Optima Partners today to learn more about how you can protect your financial resources.

Headshot of Director of Design and Transformation consulting at Optima Partners, Ross Robinson

Ross Robinson

Practice Director, Design & Transformation