Ask any marketer if they’ve ever had to compete with the diminishing or deep cutting of their budgets they would say “more than once”.
Organizations are always looking for proficiencies and ways to toughen their financial belt, and marketing departments are among the first to be placed on the chopping block.
According to a report from Demand Gen Report and Bright Funnel, 58% of B2B organizations said their current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance “needs improvement”.
If you’re staring down a budget reduction, don’t get afraid.
This is the time to evaluate and prioritize your efforts so you can rebuild your integrated digital marketing strategy to include a strategic 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 will want to consider.
1. Evaluate your existing data against your goals
The first step is to evaluate how you’re performing against your objectives; what’s working and what’s not.
In order to really dig into what’s working, you need to map each of your tactics or channels to closed business and total revenue numbers if you can.
Not only will this help you focus on where to rebuild and sharpen your strategy, but also put you in a better position to constantly measure as you move forward.
2. Narrow your targeting
Every digital 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 in the course of time.
As a result, you will be wasting precious marketing dollars on the “wrong” people.
So, it’s high 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 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 clear 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.
3. Place safe bets if your data is limited
Effective measurement is a problem that’s bothered marketers for years.
As a result, you may not have all the data to inform your decision making.
In the above case, we’d suggest making some “safe marketing bets” based on tried-and-true tactics.
Take, for example, email marketing.
Email marketing is the oldest digital marketing tactic around, but still one of the most effective.
Not only does email marketing deliver helpful information to your clients and prospects, when segmented and constructed correctly, it helps nurture them toward the sale.
In addition to email marketing, 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 in 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 are three core investments to consider:
Invest in the right technology for optimizing your workflow and automate a time-consuming process.
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 of this, investing in training for the team you do have is a good play whether you want someone to extend their skill set or level up his or her existing skills to help the team work more efficiently.
3. An agency partnership
Often, partnering with an agency can help you extend your budget for maximum ROI.
Rather than solely relying on your in-house team for expertise, execution, and strategy an agency can be a powerful extension.
You get access to a dedicated 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.
4. Focus on the Opportunity, Not the Loss
Budget cuts are no fun.
But they’re not the end of the world.
After all, we digital marketers can be disorganized live to innovate.
So, use recent cuts to redefine your marketing strategy from both a calculated and measurement standpoint, and work to put better measurement in place.
This will not only help you avoid variations in momentum as you deal with less financial resources, but also help you get better ROI data so you can defend against future cuts.