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Navigating uncertain and dynamic economic conditions can challenge even the most seasoned marketing teams. When turbulent economic times hit, all parts of a business shift. Top marketing leaders recognize those moments and adjust their plans to meet the business’s strategic needs.
Throughout my career, I’ve learned that marketing has to ebb and flow with those changing conditions. That happens in countless small ways every day.
As leaders, we have to keep our team members on track to deliver the outcomes that matter to revenue. We need complete alignment with the sales strategy and prioritization. We have to focus on sales enablement, effective messaging and positioning, ultimately bringing the right people into the funnel and nurturing them in the right way.
It’s also crucial to keep a strong eye on customer marketing and engagement. It’s important to be laser-focused on ensuring your customers stay your customers.
Markets can change quickly, affecting buying cycles and leaving marketers in unpredictable situations. Executing any strategy during those times is like riding a rollercoaster. You can expect a lot of twists and turns.
However, marketers can enjoy a successful ride if they stick to three tried-and-true strategies that have served me well, no matter the economic conditions.
1. Remain approachable
Marketing leaders, and marketers in general, need to stay approachable at all times, but particularly during uncertain economic conditions. Fostering open communication and encouraging feedback ensures everyone is working toward a common goal, comfortable sharing their opinions and building a culture of trust and collaboration.
From a people perspective, marketing leaders have access to a ton of information, and we sometimes forget how tough times affect our team members. Communicate with them. Be transparent so they understand the circumstances and the business strategies. It’s okay to talk about heightened expectations or where improvements are urgently needed.
From a strategic perspective, remaining approachable allows people to provide early indicators of things that aren’t working so you can get ahead of them. Hold regular one-on-one meetings with team members to hear their concerns and ideas.
Marketers have to be out front, and they need support from all the business functions around them. You’re building consensus, socializing messaging and driving strategy. To do that in a way that really delivers value, you have to always adjust to input.
By listening and learning, you will create an environment of trust, which leads to better decision-making and stronger strategies. If you’re not approachable, people won’t give you that crucial feedback.
2. Operate with a mindset of experimentation
Marketers must be willing to experiment and try new things, even in uncertain economic conditions, to ensure companies remain agile and can respond quickly to resource shifts. Operating with a mindset of experimentation can mean testing new messaging, trying different marketing channels or developing new content types.
But you can’t experiment your way out of a bad product fit or a low addressable market. Sometimes the business needs to redirect its resources toward strengthening the product or technology to improve market fit.
Marketing leaders shouldn’t overlook that. Cutting back marketing spend to divert toward strengthening other parts of the organization will lead to stronger budgets when that product fit is nailed and the addressable market increases.
3. Be clear on the metrics
Metrics should never be overlooked, whether times are good or bad. A strong understanding of your metrics fuels decisions around marketing spend. Knowing your numbers is the best way to ensure marketing strategies are aligned with business goals and you’re directing your budget toward the right outcomes.
It’s also critical to understand every stage of the sales funnel, customer acquisition costs (CACs) and customer lifetime value (CLV). That information plays a key role in creating powerful marketing strategies.
By calculating the CAC and CLV, you can make more informed decisions about where to allocate marketing budget and which channels best drive customer leads and engagement that results in revenue. That data-driven approach helps marketing teams make the most of their budget and ensures they’re delivering the best possible results for the business.
Absolute clarity about your metrics is the only way to spot the areas that need more attention or aren’t performing at the optimal level.
When conditions are good, marketers always should be thinking, “what if things turn?” Accurate metrics can provide the early insight you need because when turbulent times arrive, it’s almost too late.
Navigating uncertain and dynamic economic conditions is always a challenge. But by focusing on remaining approachable, experimenting where you can and prioritizing metrics, you can emerge from turbulent times in an even stronger position.
Marketing is never a straight line, but we can — and should — have the agility to quickly shift course and the acumen to execute strategies that deliver stability during the toughest times.
Working in marketing during turbulent economic times may be a rollercoaster, but the ride is always worth it.