“We are navigating uncertain times.” How often have you heard some variation of this phrase in the last three years? It’s been used to explain everything from layoffs to schedule changes to service disruptions, and — while it may be true — it’s getting exhausting. I think it’s fair to say that we’re all looking for more “certain times.”
Perhaps more certainty and predictability lie in the future, but they remain to be seen. Right now, everyone (especially those in marketing) needs to focus on navigating uncertainty.
Adjust Investment Strategies for Uncertain Times
In the past year, we have seen the tide shift from a general policy of “grow at all costs” to “show profitability.” This means that companies’ investment strategy needs to focus on protecting the bottom line, and if the correction is not done gradually over time, the marketing budget is the most exposed to cuts and pullbacks.
This is usually because of two reasons:
- A structural adjustment like laying off part of your staff comes with expensive severance packages and therefore requires time to show an impact on the bottom line.
- Because companies that need to prioritize revenue and profits in the short term are often willing to forgo a medium to long-term impact for immediate relief, favoring sales costs that can bring immediate revenue vs. marketing expenditures that bring both short, medium, and long-term benefits.
This is the reason why companies that are seeing a softening demand (i.e., topline decline) or are anticipating a market contraction, tend to cut media and marketing budgets before reducing sales costs.
The problem is that if this pullback is done too abruptly, inbound demand will soften to the point where your sales efforts become less effective and will therefore worsen the company’s need to cut costs to maintain margins. Moreover, if your disinvestment strategy is more drastic than your competitors, the market share loss will make a later recovery 2-3x more expensive than the initial savings.
At this point, people may be tempted to suggest that to prevent this tricky situation, companies should have been more conservative in bolstering costs during a growth period. Still, we need to remember that limiting spend in a moment of growth also presents the opportunity cost of losing “fair” market share with respect to the market and competition.
Since we can’t go back in time, let’s discuss how companies can navigate a worsening financial outlook and how marketing and finance departments can partner together to adjust their investment strategy to manage the current environment.
Once you have a clear sense of your business objective and your target audience (topics we discussed in Part 1 of this series), it’s time to take those actionable steps you identified and put them to work for ongoing results. Making a strong plan for your marketing strategy allows you to build on your knowledge, providing ongoing results with sma…
Developing a marketing campaign requires a unique combination of creative, big-picture thinking and focused, detail-oriented implementation. It can be challenging to figure out how to piece all the different elements together, but breaking down the process into tangible steps can help ensure that your vision will translate into effective tactics to reach your business objective through powerful creativity and seamless execution.
I have worked with numerous startups, medium businesses, and in large multinational companies, and when it comes to campaign planning and execution, there are common mistakes that can be avoided through careful planning and methodical execution. Whether if you are the person in charge of marketing in a 2-person startup or a brand director supported by 5 different agencies, you should find this two-part series useful.
Generally speaking, smaller companies have limited time and resources, and they tend to skip important steps in the process given their natural bias to action or simple lack of bandwidth. Larger companies often lack the synergic coordination between teams required to make the most of the resources available or fail to properly execute their plan due to the lack of attention towards smaller, technical, yet critical details.
For this reason, I’ve decided to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes made around me and document the process required to plan and launch a successful marketing campaign. In this first part of a two-part series, we’ll be exploring how to put your business objective and target audience to work, creating actionable steps that take you from data analysis to an idea that serves as a solid foundation for your campaign. Continue reading
Before I even get into the details of what I want to write about, let me set the record straight: growth hackers can often be instrumental in the success of an early-stage startup, and their skill set is undeniably valuable. Finding a great growth hacker for your new business could be the key to make it to Round A.
Also, marketing is not advertising. Advertising is placing a paid message on a media channel, marketing is the discipline of making your product, service, or company something that your target audience cannot live without. Marketing nowadays lives in the center of the Venn-diagram intersection between art and science, data and creativity.
Now that that’s out of the way, we can focus on what I want to talk about: although “growth hacker” is the hottest title in the startup world nowadays, it’s important to understand why this role is only relevant during the early life of a business, and late-stage startups need a Growth Team made of subject matter experts, that include a seasoned Marketing professional.