The economy has finally shifted and while we have all been anticipating it, the fear of the unknown still exists. If you are in tech, finance or real estate, your fears might be a little greater than others. But we have been here before and history has shown us that those who are quick enough to adapt to the changing times have made it through, sometimes on top.
Yesterday, I sat in on a speaking panel hosted by the Denver HBA titled Embracing the Change. Senior President of Oakwood Homes, Aric Jones, put it perfectly when he said, “Change is necessary and inevitable; it’s more about how we adapt to change.”
Below, we get into where your marketing and sales efforts should head as we enter this important time of change.
First things first: removing your investment in sales and marketing is not only risky, it could be perilous to your business or market share. Instead, consider the task of shifting resources and strategies rather than removing them.
What marketing strategies are experimental or lack success?
When the market is hot and sales are coming in, we have more money to spend on experimental strategies. We have more money to lose on strategies that are not showing huge amounts of success. It’s time to audit those channels and strategies and remove them, temporarily. Put your internal resources and budget towards things you know work well.
It’s time for all hands on deck. Your team needs to be on board and ready to fight. (Can you tell I am on Season 4 of Vikings?) Valhalla aside, take time to analyze your internal processes and establish talent and roles that can help fulfill things you otherwise would have outsourced. Who can manage email marketing content or banner ad creatives? Who can lead the charge on consistent, engaging organic social media content? What team member is willing to train on uploading blogs and portfolios to your website?
Maintaining a positive team environment that embraces learning and mistakes is critical here. As Tina Martelon-Braunthal, VP of Sales at TriPointe Homes put it yesterday at the speaking panel, “…it’s not about whether we are going to get through it, it’s [about] getting my people through it and maintaining great attitudes.”
Some items in your marketing strategy are too technical for your team and would put your marketing and lead generation into a precarious situation. If you cut a web development cost and expect a marketing manager to learn how to build new web pages, you put user experience and branding at risk. If you cut the SEO investment and ask your marketing team to take over SEO, you set yourself up for huge missed opportunities within your most valuable marketing channel for lead generation.
Be realistic about technical areas of marketing and don’t assume they are easy to learn for your internal team.
Last year, we wrote about the importance of prioritizing the collection of first-party data and investing in a CRM. And here’s why: when budgets and resources have decreased to support a nest egg, marketers should turn to an efficient marketing strategy. An efficient marketing strategy is all about leveraging an audience that already exists because it’s cheaper and more efficient.
Most leaders know that new customers have the highest customer acquisition cost. Users that are already familiar with your brand in some shape or form are three steps ahead of users that have no idea you exist. How can we leverage those users to generate sales more quickly?
Auditing and leveraging your data is not just beneficial for your marketing efforts, your sales team needs this realignment as well. In the past couple of years, it’s unsurprising that everyone’s focus was on new customer acquisition. But again, when the market shifts and resources decrease, we must aim for the lowest customer acquisition cost possible. In sales, that means spending less time acquiring new customers and less money paying for leads in the pipeline.
If you are a keen marketer in charge of a robust strategy, you have most likely had to adapt your messaging frequently based on a/b testing and campaign metrics. Now is the time to take it one step further and dive deep into why customers aren’t pulling the trigger as quickly as they might have in the past two years. A great content example of this comes from the real estate industry and a meme that went viral by an unknown brand:
In this example, the marketer addresses that there are more pros than cons of buying in the downturn and articulates the incentives in a clear, visual way. It’s important that you analyze the audience segment for which this type of content is created: time to think wouldn’t intrigue the luxury buyer as they already had lots of time to think about purchasing a multi-million dollar home.
How can we fuel our assets that we have already invested a lot of money and time into? While this should be an ongoing priority of any business, you can surely find low hanging fruit that can help boost your conversion rates somewhat immediately. While UX (user experience) and CRO (conversion rate optimization) are both robust sets of expertise on their own, there are cost-effective ways your internal team can analyze and make decisions.
As if marketers needed one more role to fill within an organization, you will now likely need to defend and protect your marketing budget to leadership. The company has hired you for a reason: to give them sound advice on marketing strategies based on market changes. Do your research and come to the table prepared with historical data that proves companies who continue to spend during economic downturns come out on top. Show them you are not just spending, you are adapting and refining, and give them a report on your ideas. We may not all make it through this, but the ones who are flexible, willing and able to adapt, will.
If you would like to outsource more technical aspects of your marketing strategy or get a jump start on 2023 marketing strategy, contact Unframed Digital to set up a free introductory call.