Ask any marketer if they’ve ever had to contend with the shrinking or deep cutting of their budgets, odds are you’ll get a deep sigh and a “more than once” response.
Organizations are always looking for efficiencies and ways to tighten their financial belt, and marketing departments are among the first to be placed on the chopping block because it all comes down to ROI—something many modern marketers find hard to prove
In fact, according to a recent report from Demand Gen Report and BrightFunnel, 58% of B2B organizations surveyed said their current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance “needs improvement” or worse.
So, if you’re staring down a budget reduction, don’t panic. This is the time to evaluate and prioritize your efforts so you can revamp your integrated digital marketing strategy to include a tactical mix that will not only refocus your strategy to reach your objectives, but also improve how you measure and achieve ROI.
Here are four key actions you’ll want to take:
#1 – Evaluate your existing data against your goals.
While it may seem obvious, the first step is to evaluate how you’re performing against your objectives; what’s working and what’s not. However, you can’t rely solely on high-level or vanity metrics like overall traffic. In order to really dig into what’s working, you need to map each of your tactics and/or channels to closed business—and total revenue numbers if you can.
Not only will this help you focus on where to revamp and hone your strategy, but also put you in a better position to consistently measure as you move forward. So, when the next budget cut comes along, you can better prove the ROI of your marketing activities and make a stronger case for keeping your budget.
#2 – Narrow your targeting.
Every marketer knows that understanding your audience is key to developing and executing a strategy with impact. But audience characteristics, preferences, and habits—as well as the market you operate within—can change overtime. As a result, you may be wasting precious marketing dollars on the “wrong” people. So, it’s time to redefine and zero-in on who your ideal customer or buyer is and who are most likely to convert.
With the budget and resources you do have, it may be worth investing time and money in a survey or analysis of your existing client or prospects to better understand their preferences and pain points.
This will not only give you a clearer picture of what channels or tactics are working—but which may have the most potential based on who your customer is, where they’re interacting with your brand or other brands, what they’re interested in, and what moves them to a conversation.
If you’re facing #marketing budget cuts, it may be worth using the resources you do have to analyze your customers and prospects to hone in on their needs, preferences, and paint points. – @Alexis5484 Click To Tweet
#3 – Place safe bets if your data is limited.
Effective measurement is a problem that’s plagued marketers for years. As a result, you may not have all the data to inform your decision making. In this case, we’d suggest making some “safe marketing bets” based on tried-and-true tactics.
For example, email marketing. Email marketing is perhaps the oldest digital marketing tactic around, but still one of the most effective. Not only does it deliver helpful information to your clients and prospects, when segmented and constructed correctly, it helps nurture them toward the sale. In fact, three-quarters of companies say email offers “good” or “excellent” ROI.
In addition, SEO and content marketing are consistently rated by marketers as top channels with the best ROI.
That said, be careful not to stake your success on simply following what’s “always” worked. The safe bets you place should be a temporary strategic solution as you work to get better measurement and data practices in place so you can continuously optimize your strategy.
#4 – Invest in efficiency.
Efficiency isn’t about doing more in less time, but rather making the most of your time by doing the right things. As the old saying goes: Work smarter, not harder. From our perspective, there’s three core investments to consider:
Whether you want to optimize your workflow or automate time-consuming processes, investing in the right technology for your needs can make a major positive impact on efficiency.
Your marketing spend is likely not the only item that took a hit. You may have also needed to cut internal resources. As a result, investing in training for the team you do have is a good play—whether you want someone to expand their skill set or level up his or her existing skills—to help your team work more efficiently and ultimately drive more ROI with less.
3. An agency partnership
Oftentimes, partnering with an agency can help you stretch your budget for maximum ROI. Rather than solely relying on your in-house team for expertise, execution, and strategy—an agency can be a robust extension. You get access to an entire team of digital marketing experts, made up of individuals with a range of skill sets—and often at a lower cost than having the equivalent depth of knowledge as internal hires.
Focus on the Opportunity, Not the Loss
Budget cuts are no fun. But they’re not the end of the world. After all, we marketers can be scrappy—and we live to innovate.
So, use recent or near future cuts to redefine your marketing strategy from both a tactical and measurement standpoint, and work to put better measurement in place. Hopefully, this will not only help you avoid bumps in momentum as you deal with less financial resources, but also help you get better ROI data so you can defend against future cuts.
How can you prove the value of your content marketing efforts to your CMO? Check out our three steps to proving content marketing ROI.