There’s no question that the beginning of 2023 has been a turbulent period for the UK economy. And this ongoing economic impact has meant that hard-pressed businesses have had to revaluate their finances for the year ahead – with marketing budgets having taken one of the hardest hits.
While many knew that these changes were likely coming, getting over these hurdles can be easier said than done. But one thing is for certain, your team is not alone.
According to one study by Optimizely, 42% of marketers in the UK see budget cuts as one of the biggest challenges they’ll face this year.
To overcome the obstacles ahead, marketers are asking themselves how might they weather the economic storm. What other challenges will marketers be up against this year? And how can they prepare for success?
Here’s how to answer those questions and tackle the challenges head-on.
Proving Marketing’s Value in the Face of Budget Cuts
It’s no secret that during hard times some aspects of a business aren’t valued as highly as others. Right now, 60% of marketers in the UK believe that their department is undervalued by their organisations.
And when there’s scrutiny, tracking marketing efficiency becomes more important than ever. The pressure is on marketers to really demonstrate their marketing campaigns are worth the upfront investment. One way to justify the costs is to focus on creating strong ROI – ensuring every penny is working hard.
But it’s not enough to track the efficiency of marketing spend. Innovative brands also take risks. While trial and error may seem counterproductive in the face of budget cuts, investing in the proper tools for testing can actually save organizations money.
This is because experimentation allows marketers to take informed, calculated risks in order to ‘fail fast’ – providing an immediate view of what is and isn’t working. Not only that, but it also helps them ‘learn fast,’ meaning marketers can uncover new tactics that deliver greater outcomes, faster – all driving greater ROI and business value.
At its heart, experimentation is about taking a scientific approach, and moving away from the fluffy perceptions that have held marketing back in the past. In times of economic uncertainty, this type of data-driven, evidence-based approach is essential.
Reacting to Changes in Consumer Spending Power
Unsurprisingly, the current economic pressures have led consumers to cut back and be extra cautious about how, when, and where they spend their money. Combined with their own budget cuts, this puts marketers in a tricky spot.
The impact of these changes in spending is already being felt. Just look at the holiday shopping period, according to one of our surveys, 70% of brands had to change their Black Friday plans last minute, due to economic turmoil and changing consumer spending power.
Now, in 2023, it’s likely that we’ll see the impact of consumer spending continue. But rather than just placing a greater focus on standout seasonal sales events or changing marketing campaign timelines, marketers need to focus on their agility.
The organizations that thrive are those that can pivot on short notice. They have a strong digital experience platform (DXP) to experiment, collaborate and generate content to appropriately react to consumers’ sentiment as it changes.
While some marketing moments can be planned year after year, the ability to react in real-time is the only way to consistently outperform your competition and get through turbulent times unscathed.
Hiring Top Talent
Another key issue for marketing teams in a time of economic downturn is being able to successfully hire the right people that will enable teams to achieve their goals.
Budget cuts can make it harder for marketing teams to hire because recruitment efforts often require a significant investment of resources. They need to advertise job postings, review resumes, conduct interviews, and potentially offer relocation packages or other incentives to attract top talent.
This extra effort can understandably seem like an unwelcome distraction to teams when time is tight and budgets are already stretched, but having the right mix of skills and experience is a vital component in ensuring campaigns are a success. With many companies going through layoffs, it is possible to hire great talent, so long as teams have the bandwidth to do so.
Streamlining and automating many of the repetitive tasks that marketing teams typically have to perform is a proven and effective way to make teams more efficient, freeing them up to dedicate time to finding the right people.
Additionally, CMPs reduce “work about work” and provide a centralised platform for all content-related activities, eliminating the need for team members to juggle multiple tools and decreasing the need for time-consuming meetings and email chains.
Automation and simplification can save marketers valuable time that can then be invested in creating and collaborating, as well as recruiting the right people to execute campaigns effectively.
Tools Are the Key to Success
While the current economic squeeze is undoubtedly putting pressure on marketing teams to deliver results, it’s encouraging to see that marketers are preparing to brave the elements.
In the latest Optimizely research, more than half of UK marketers (59%) said that they feel positive about their ability to deliver effective marketing campaigns. Clearly, despite the uncertainties, marketers are up for the challenge.
Key to their success is having the right tools at their disposal, to ensure the right campaigns are executed effectively and valuable time is not wasted on menial tasks. And in an unstable climate, anything that gives your brand insight into what does (or doesn’t) work, is essential.
As long as you’re learning, you’re growing.