It’s no secret that we’re in an economic downturn. Inflation hit a record high in June 2022 at 9.1%, and economic growth is slowing worldwide.
As economic volatility continues, how can marketing leaders prepare for the headwinds to come? Inverta brought together four marketing leaders in a recent webinar to share their wisdom on the topic. The executive panel discussion included:
- Kathy Macchi, VP of Innovation at Inverta
- Deborah Wolf, CMO at Integrate
- Jennifer Dimas, CMO at Telarus
- Steve Hardy, CMO at Prophix
- Allison Breeding, CMO at Apptio
In this blog we’ll recap how marketing leaders can refocus their priorities, address budget concerns, and follow best practices for times of economic uncertainty.
Focus on Impact to Drive Results
Times of uncertainty are great opportunities to reassess your current approach to find out what’s moving the needle and what isn’t. For example, asking questions that refocus priorities on impact-driving areas can actually refine your focus and improve overall outcomes (rather than cutting off areas of impact due to limited resources).
Answering the following questions can provide direction on where to focus:
- What should I continue?
- What should I stop?
- What should continue to evolve?
When you double-click on every growth tactic to examine what’s working and what’s not, you’re free to focus on the activities that produce results. Imagine getting a 10% increase on each of those activities rather than implementing new strategies — that’s where the magic can happen, even in times of uncertainty.
After all, the needs of your customers haven’t disappeared. Your team’s goal should be to work horizontally in service of the buyer rather than vertically in service of each approach that reaches the buyer. Refining your messaging and prioritizing methods that share your messaging more efficiently is a great way to reach your customers, cut costs, and still hit growth goals.
Advocate for Your Budget By Proving Every Dollar
In times of volatility, sales cycles slow down and budget cuts seem almost inevitable. How can you ensure your team’s vital resources aren’t on the chopping block? By knowing your value.
Firstly, measure, measure, measure! Gone are the days when marketers had to estimate their value. In today’s climate, proving value for every dollar spent is a vital skill every marketing leader should develop.
Consider these tips when it comes to budgeting conversations and proving your value:
- Show what outcomes every dollar invested can provide. Conversely, have honest dialogue about what results will NOT be provided with budget cuts.
- Share your impact with the sales team and others so they can advocate for you. For example, if sales leaders understand how marketing budget impacts their goals, they’ll be more likely to defend what you both need to succeed.
4 Marketing Best Practices for Economic Uncertainty
Sometimes some sage words of wisdom can help steer you in the right direction. At the end of our webinar, we asked the four CMOs to impart their best advice for other marketing leaders going forward.
Consider these four takeaways:
- Be buyer-centric. B2B buyers are becoming more like B2C buyers every day. The ways they get information, interact with your brand, and want you to recognize who they are aligns with the path for B2C customers. Stay ultra-focused on the buyer beyond identifying personas. Talk to buyers and, most importantly, get your team attached to serving your buyer as part of a broader effort rather than an individual one.
- Focus on areas of impact. Marketing has so many opportunities to spread out, but don’t lose sight of what’s working. Do less of what isn’t important and more of what is going to make real change.
- Hone your value message. Continuously plan so that your message is received by the right audiences.
- Understand what works, and do more of it. Understand what doesn’t work, and do less of it.
At Inverta, we help marketing leaders bridge the gap between strategy and activation. During times of economic volatility, having a partner in your corner who helps you bring down costs, go farther with your current efforts, and stay focused can unlock your marketing team’s potential. Learn more about how we help with strategy and planning here.