Times are tough for marketers in 2023. Budget cuts and freezes are a widespread problem and 33% of marketers say that their lack of budget is hindering their ability to create content. While budgets are lower, expectations and therefore targets are remaining high. So as marketers, we need to get creative!
We hosted a LinkedIn Live recently with 3 expert musketeers (excuse us, marketers) – Gale Daikoku, Director, Global Influencer Marketing Lead at SAP, Sal Viveros, Head of Global Corporate & Crisis Communications at Ivanti & Amisha Gandhi, a CMO Consultant – to get their perspective on how to do more with less and redirect budget to more cost-effective tactics & more. If you missed our live session, worry not! We have compiled all the key themes and takeaways so that you can start the year off strong!
Embrace the downturn
The economy is cyclical. While downturns can seem scary and uncertain, according to Amisha Gandhi it’s a time when a lot of innovation takes place and many start ups are born out of recession. Thus, it’s the perfect time to reflect and see how you can do things better so that you come out of the other side with more knowledge.
“We’ve seen these things happen before. The most successful marketers are always looking for smarter and new ways of working regardless of the downturn. I’ve been working with the adapting media landscape for probably 10 years now. How we worked 10 years ago and how we work now is very different.” Sal Viveros
“We have to be thoughtful in how we engage and how we think about discussions we’re having. We’re going to be creative about reassessing what we’ve been doing and how we might approach it in a different way.” Gale Daikoku
Double down on your strong points
Assess what works for you, what doesn’t and invest in areas you know yield the best results. This is a no-brainer if you want to maintain results by focusing on the areas you perform well in.
“You shouldn’t think about cutting all costs, you should think about where you can take things out and double down on the areas where ROI is strong. Think about the segments that you serve that will actually thrive in a market like this, and other segments where you might want to de-prioritise. Take a look at your data and how the market is working in the segments that you do well in, and then make those investments.” Amisha Gandhi
While it’s good practice to stick with what you know in order to maintain the same results, you should not shy away from trying something new, especially in this economic climate.
“Every time there’s downturn, it’s the perfect opportunity to experiment. You learn to be creative with the little that you have. What we’ve seen in other times when these cycles hit, you need to be creative, especially when new technologies come along. Analyse what’s out there, make sure you’re on top of the trends, understand the new technologies. How can I better leverage AI to minimise the work and maximise the other areas where I may have holes.” Sal Viveros
“I’m so invigorated in the challenges we’ll have in 2023, it will be and still is a tough time for all of us. We know what we’ve done, we have opportunity to do so much more, which enables us to be creative. Experiments and opportunities are born from the relationships that we build, because an influencer program is not a transactional type of thing.” Gale Daikoku
Every time there’s downturn, it’s the perfect opportunity to experiment. You learn to be creative with the little that you have.
Measure to make better decisions
These days you can measure virtually everything. Use this to your advantage in your strategy – understanding what works and performs well will enable you to make better decisions, but also to show value to leadership.
“Understand your ICP and know your segments, know the industries you’re going after and which ones are going to thrive. Look at your ROI and look at your full funnel, your customer journey – you want to look at what is driving opportunities.” Amisha Gandhi
“We measure everything. We have a very good overview of what marketing is bringing to the overall sales pipeline. I’ve never been in a company where marketing and sales are so aligned – I think that really helps. I recommend that every marketing team start tracking everything because once you have the data, you can go back and look on its impact to pipeline.” Sal Viveros
If you fail, fail fast and move on.
Spend where the competition isn’t
During the time when some brands might be holding off on spending in certain areas, it might be the best time for you to invest in them, as the costs most likely will be lower.
“Look at your competition and what they’re doing. I see things in PPC and keywords search, your competitors are spending less so it’s a little bit cheaper. You can have a look at where they are not spending and spend there, you can recoup at a lower cost. Content marketing is not super expensive, we want to really invest in the new type of messaging and then look at what the competitors are doing. If you see where they’re cutting, maybe that’s where you invest. You start showing up and you can increase your brand’s search which increases more organic traffic, those are cheaper than buying keywords.” Amisha Gandhi
Create content that matters
While everybody loves content (because content is king), you have to be mindful and strategic with the content that you create. Especially in times when you have less budget, it will be so much more cost-effective to create content that you know will resonate and engage your audience.
“It’s the right type of content which gets back to the way we engage with our desired audiences. More is not better, less tends to be better. We all struggle with this because everybody loves content.” Gale Daikoku
Leveraging influencers is key
There was a general consensus from the panel during the LinkedIn Live that Influencer Marketing is an essential strategy when it comes to creating content, notably during this time. It has been proven to drive results and you can do it without breaking the bank.
“The most recent addition is focusing on Influencer Marketing. What we’re seeing is some of these industry influencers have more credibility, more reach than some of the tech trades. Make sure you’re rethinking how you’re doing things, who you’re working with – make sure you’re working with credible influencers.” Sal Viveros
“You have to be creative. Now you can work with influencers and create an asset that’s very similar but costs ¼ of the budget that you need. Influencer Marketing and influencer-based content tends to do well because you also get their amplification. The content tends to be relevant and resonate with your audience.” Amisha Gandhi
“That’s where the partnerships come into play. The influencers know what resonates and that’s where we can learn a bit as well. It is hard to explain this type of work that we do and it’s born out of a lot of organisational knowledge, but ultimately comes down to the engaging types of relationships that work for everybody. It’s a partnership. You start slow and small maybe, and you evolve it over time, which is how we do it.” Gale Daikoku
Create evergreen content
Evergreen content is search-optimized content that is continually relevant. This type of content is indispensable during this time as it will resonate for longer and will attract customers at different stages of their journey.
“My favourite type of approach is evergreen. If we’re having a conversation about a pain point, trust me there’s another customer out there who is struggling with that very problem. How can we make the content timeless because the business pain points tend to be the same?” Gale Daikoku
“If you understand your customer, you can develop content for each specific point of the journey and all of it is evergreen. You will have customers in those phases. Then this type of content can be used regularly.” Sal Viveros
“Ask influencers what they think, if there’s anything they would add, is this the right format, what’s resonating because then you will end up with more. A lot of times we get a lot of great content from influencers that we have to cut down, but you can re-use those cut bits in a variety of ways across different pieces of content.” Amisha Gandhi
Engage your employees
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” Peter Drucker
While leveraging influencers, it’s important to not forget your own internal influencers – your employees. They can be key in widening your reach and making your brand look more appealing.
“Employee advocacy programs – you need to have success and you need to make it easy. Create contests for employee advocacy programs and leader boards. Getting your employees engaged is a huge way to build your brand. It’s credible and it comes from an individual and not from a brand’s handle.” Sal Viveros
“Peter Drucker said culture eats strategy for breakfast. I thought it was such a stark point. How we think about and empower that culture? When we think about an organisation, the secret and key is not in how we are creating the content, but empowering our people.” Gale Daikoku
“Internal influencers have networks as well, you can’t be customer-first if you’re not employee-first. If everyone is engaged it helps with retention and productivity; it has a lot of great benefits but also shows off that you have a lot of experts.” Amisha Gandhi
If you want to learn more about Influencer Marketing and how it can help you achieve results in 2023, sign up to our mailing list below!