History has repeatedly shown that during recessions, the companies that are quick to make deep cuts don’t come out on top. Regardless, during uncertain times, some tightening of the purse strings is expected…and many times, marketing seems to be first up on the chopping block. Of course, the challenge that arises with the knowledge that you need to reduce marketing costs is that you’ll still need to maintain enough marketing efforts to support sales and position your brand to emerge strong when the economy rebounds. That said, instead of slashing your marketing budget completely, the question is really:
What marketing costs can be cut without sacrificing the vitality of your business?
Finding and Cutting Hidden Costs
When marketing budgets are tight, every dollar is under scrutiny. While this may sound obvious in nature, it’s not uncommon for organizations to pick up various hidden costs over the years, many of which fly under the radar. To begin identifying potentially hidden costs, start with a system audit of your current software subscriptions. You may be surprised to find outdated recurring charges for programs that have been phased out of your operations.To begin identifying potentially hidden costs, start with a system audit of your current software subscriptions. You may be surprised to find outdated recurring charges for programs that have been phased out of your operations. Click To Tweet
“Sometimes when new marketing operations staff come in, they bring new software to the table. What can get overlooked in the process is the need to cancel old accounts that are no longer in use,” Perkuto Marketing Operations Manager Jordan Resnick emphasizes. “Many people end up paying for software that they’re not even using because of this.”
No one wants to spend money on resources that aren’t being used or leveraged. Beyond tightening up your software subscriptions, scrubbing your Marketo instance could also help you save valuable dollars in the long run. Databases are always growing, but as they evolve, they inevitably pick up and retain more dead leads as well. Many software licences (including Marketo!) structure pricing based on the number of leads in your database. When it comes time for your renewal, are your database counts an accurate reflection of the active, viable leads in your system?
“Of course, you’re often paying on the number of leads within your database,” Jordan says. “Use this time to do an audit of your database, and at the very least, remove records missing an email address and other junk leads for example.”
Plus, an added bonus of a good database spring cleaning? A scrubbed database will also operate better and more efficiently. If you’ve been wondering why your Marketo instance is running slow, spending time to clean it now will support your marketing operations team in the short— and long— term.
How to Repurpose Event Budgets
With in-person event costs taking up to 50% of many B2B marketer’s budgets and no events to sponsor or attend in the foreseeable future, this is an obvious line item to repurpose when looking to reduce marketing costs. As buyers are shifting their focus to online research and spending, it makes sense for brands to do the same.
Webinars and Virtual Events
Obviously, we’ve seen an explosion of webinars and virtual events in the past month— some more successful than others. Careful here: a well thought-out webinar certainly has its place, but you’ll need to be strategic in order to stand out and combat the webinar fatigue that is already coming into play.
Video and Podcasts
While the online world was already saturated with an onslaught of marketing messages, a recent study revealed that the current climate spurred another massive increase in at-home media consumption globally. In other words, Americans are craving news and broadcast media. If you’ve got the ability to create video and podcasts, viewers may be more receptive to this type of content (and your message!) during this period.
Redirecting event funds into conversational marketing, or chatbots, is another option. Drift integrates with Marketo and Salesforce, and has done amazing work to deliver a better (and faster) online customer experience. Many organizations net a significant influence on their sales pipeline from their chatbot, and the investment is small.
The pandemic has hit the advertising world hard, and as a result, pricing is favorable and cost per click has dropped. Now is the time to ramp up your adwords and paid social media campaigns. Business hasn’t come to a halt; we’re just operating in a different environment, with more time spent online. Just remember to adjust your messaging to reflect our current climate, so as not to come across as tone deaf and have a negative brand impact.
Content Marketing and Content Syndication
As a content marketer, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of digital content marketing and influencing the future behavior of your buyer through educational material. (And I’m talking about content that provides true value to your reader, not plugging your brand!) However, just because you create it doesn’t necessarily mean “they will come.” Consider content syndication and distribution tactics in your plan, to expand your content reach. And shameless plug— Perkuto offers an easy RSS-to-email application tool to deliver your blog posts through Marketo automatically. Let us know if you’d like to hear more.
Of course, it should go without saying that as a result of shifting marketing activities and dollars, you’ll need to adjust your previously projected MQL goals, as many of these may have been originally dependent on specific live events. Contemplate what new milestones are appropriate for measurement as your marketing inevitably changes course, and don’t forget to adjust your scoring model accordingly, too.
Managing Capacity During Times of Flux
In a season of uncertainty, this is not the time to gamble when it comes to marketing operations help. While you may be encouraged to adopt frugal spending practices while trying to reduce marketing costs, when it comes to seeking out marketing operations talent, you don’t want to skimp. Especially during tighter times, it’s likely that your organization will need outside expertise to accomplish specific projects— or even to help getting routine work done. Who you decide to work with during this time becomes all the more important.
“You may think that you’re saving money by hiring more junior people, but if you try to cut corners here, it may come back to bite you,” Jordan warns.
In essence: it’s wise to pay for the specialist, who can ensure a job is done correctly and works more efficiently. If you go with a less-experienced option in favor of saving a few dollars, you risk not only compromising the quality of the work that you need done, but also potentially needing to pay for the same job twice— once with your first attempt at a “cost-effective” option, and a second time for the expert to finish or clean up the job of the “cheaper” hire.
When it comes the need to reduce marketing costs, there’s no straightforward answer. Tightening your marketing budget without hurting business will require strategic shifts. As you move forward, look for hidden costs to cut, consider new opportunities to engage with your audience, align your top goals with your available dollars, and work down the line from there.As you move forward, look for hidden costs to cut, consider new opportunities to engage with your audience, align your top goals with your available dollars, and work down the line from there. Click To Tweet
Want to learn more about how your MOPS team can adapt to the current climate? Tune into our webcast: Developing a Contingency Plan for MOPS on April 23 for an informal discussion between our CEO Alex Pelletier, Director of Solutions Architecture Justin Norris, ROOM’s Kelly Jo Horton, and Marketing Technology Lead Helen Abramova. An added bonus: we’ll share our newest eBook, “A Digital Marketer’s Guide to Crisis Recovery,” to help your team regroup and move forward.