Rightsizing Marketing During the Downturn

Every company is considering cost-cutting and streamlining operations to weather the storm of business closures due to the Covid-19 downturn.  Even those companies whose workforce is able to continue working remotely are belt-tightening. And wisely so.  Published estimates of the cost of the pandemic range from $3.3 trillion, if it’s controlled and we are back to normal in 12 months, to $7 trillion if it takes three years.  Everyone is going to be on a fiscal diet. 

47% of CEOs surveyed identified Marketing as the first place to reduce budget because of  business pressure caused by COVID-19.

Not good news for Marketing. As a technology marketing veteran, I’ve watched the economy recover after 9/11, the 2008 crash, and several smaller ups and downs along the way.  But nothing has been quite so devastating as this.  In a recent survey that we conducted with one of our clients, Fortra Search, we surveyed Silicon Valley tech CEOs and senior executives to get their outlook on the business impacts of the virus.  One of the things that came to light is that they are all looking at streamlining costs, and forty-seven percent (47%) said that the first place they’ll be forced to cut is Marketing. But, marketing is designed to support the sales process. So, how can a company stay relevant in the marketplace without a marketing team to create demand for its products, or building its brand?   For some companies, the answer can be outsourced marketing. 

Applying Business Realities to Right Size Marketing

To determine the right mix of marketing resources consider where your company will be when the economy begins to recover.  Companies will likely fall into four categories, each with a different approach to marketing.

Outsourced Marketing Teams Can Cost 70% Less Than In-house Marketing Teams

Although it seems counter-intuitive, external marketing resources can actually be a company’s most cost-effective approach. We ran an analysis of the cost of a completely outsourced marketing organization vs. an in-house marketing organization. Both teams have the essential team members for cost-effective, sales-oriented marketing. In our simplified model, outsourced marketing can save over seventy-percent (70%) in employee costs alone, and often have access to more seasoned marketing resources. We used average U.S. salary data and calculated federal and state taxes as well as the cost of benefits to get an overall cost. 

Of course, different markets have different salaries and benefits costs. But the general savings dynamics still apply. 

Redirecting budget toward outsourced marketing resources also saves money that can be reallocated toward program costs like media or investments in content, virtual events, or your website. 

A Right-sized Marketing Effort Probably Requires Both Internal and External Resources

We’re not recommending that you replace your entire marketing team with outsourced talent. But a dedicated agency can bring new perspectives, deep understanding of the marketing craft especially in rapidly evolving areas like SEO or Social marketing, and can work side-by-side with your internal team to maximize results. Most of our clients don’t need every practice that an agency like ours offers, and most have an internal marketing leader, CEO or Founder that works with the agency team. Budgets and requirements vary based on actual company needs, but in general, we have found that a mix of internal and agency resources leave more budget for programs, and result in stronger pipelines and brand.

While it may seem like hiring an agency is exactly what you can’t afford to do, be sure to run the numbers.  You may find that you can’t afford not to. Read more about KTC on our website. www.ktcmarketingandpr.com


Agile Marketing: Learning From our Software Developer Colleagues

Agile [aj-uhl, -ahyl]: quick and well-coordinated in movement

Virtually all software developers rely on the Agile Software Development methodology.  Before the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published in 2001, software development (and nearly every other business function) was executed linearly. Conversely, “Agile” is collaborative. Everyone works together in short “sprints” to make progress toward common goals and results. One person doesn’t wait for a hand-off from another person, but rather, people from different departments work together to experiment with ideas, address issues together to progress and keep momentum. 

The concept of “Agile” now touches virtually all business processes but has a significant impact on marketing.  

Agile marketing teams collectively focus on high-value projects and work together to reach milestones and complete those projects. The work is executed in short periods of cooperative, focused “sprints” and measured with real-time data and analytics. Teams measure the impact of their work, adjust tactics and increment their way forward.  together they assess the value of the project, or the effectiveness of the approach so they can modify tactics and learn from the process.  Agile marketing ensures more coordinated and effective marketing with greater overall results.

Agile Marketing has a few hallmark characteristics. 

Agile marketing allows us to:

Our clients are smart about Agile. Department silos are coming down as the PR team works with the digital marketing team, the social team, the events team and the website team to ensure that all channels are delivering the same messages, at the same time, in an integrated fashion.  Content marketing and PR use the same SEO terms that drive traffic to the website and capture the attention of customers. Web analytics inform us about areas of customer interest as well as customer behaviors during the buying journey.  Agile marketing is informed, integrated, collaborative and measurable. 

We’ve built KTC Integrated Marketing on an Agile framework. We set goals with our clients and design campaign strategies that span branding to lead generation to PR and content, social, SEO/SEM and web marketing, events, and customer and partner marketing. We implement those campaigns with our clients, track their progress through data and analytics, and increment our way toward the goals. Our clients participate in our sprints and help us shape our tactics as we progress.  

The Agile Manifesto marked the beginning of a fundamental shift in how business is done. Using Agile strategies in marketing pays off in better results, stronger brands, and more effective use of marketing resources.