Rethinking Marketing Redundancies

If there is one thing marketers know, it’s that during economic uncertainty, marketing budgets are often the first to take a hit. Recent findings by the Mobile Marketing Association have highlighted a close connection between economic factors and marketing budgets.

Despite a slow economic recovery projected by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Economic Forecast in February 2024 and recently improved prospects, challenges like inflation persist, impacting businesses across the UK.

At Sitka, we’ve noticed a recent rise in marketing redundancies among local SMEs and third sector organisations in South Wales. This is despite predictions of a thriving marketing industry for 2024, with a surprising 26% of businesses increasing their marketing budgets since Q4 2023.

Throughout the pandemic, you probably observed your organisation making various improvements, such as adopting agile budgeting and embracing digital transformations. So, why do leaders see the creative core of your business as expendable rather than essential for growth?

While cost-cutting pressures are real, senior decision makers must understand – and be able to visualise – how these redundancy decisions can have lasting consequences beyond short-term gains. So, let’s delve into why retaining marketing talent is crucial, even in challenging times.

The Strategic Value of Marketing Talent  

In times of cost-cutting, marketing often faces the chopping block due to its perceived lack of immediate returns. But marketing goes beyond client acquisition by also nurturing existing relationships. In fact, studies show that retaining customers costing five to twenty five times less than acquiring new ones!

For MDs and CEOs, understanding this value is essential for informed decision-making. Marketing leaders must focus on demonstrating clear ROI through metrics and data, showcasing how strategic marketing investments can drive sustainable growth and long-term profitability.

Making the Case for Marketing ROI

Marketing often struggles to get credit for top-of-the-funnel efforts, while the final sale gets all the glory, the branding work that led up to it is often overlooked.

This leaves marketing leaders with the challenge of bridging this gap in perception. Ironically, it might be time for Marketing to step up and better communicate its own ROI! That means explaining to the rest of the team how marketing impacts the entire sales funnel.

For CMOs, it also means having a say in strategic discussions with the CEO and CFO, demonstrating the importance of investing in top-of-the-funnel marketing activities and long-term brand equity. This collaboration ensures marketing strategies are aligned with financial goals, creating a cohesive approach that maximises ROI. Integrating operations with marketing efforts enables more efficient execution of campaigns and ensures that the delivery of products or services meets the expectations set by marketing promises, ultimately supporting a better customer experience.

Addressing Leadership Concerns: Breaking Down Silos

When addressing leadership objections to retaining marketing staff, a major hurdle in demonstrating and maximising Marketing’s value is the presence of departmental silos. Breaking them down and fostering collaboration is key to transforming marketing from a mere “nice to have” expense – a common justification for marketing cuts – into a strategic asset.

As explained by Eric Salerno for HubSpot, marketing often gets “blamed” for sales issues such as insufficient or poor-quality leads. Valuable marketing efforts can often also be squandered when focus strays to the wrong activities. This disconnect often stems from misalignment between sales and marketing strategies.

Fostering closer collaboration between these teams and leveraging marketing insights to spot early opportunities can optimise marketing ROI and enhance its visibility and accountability to leadership. This not only underscores the importance of retaining marketing talent, but also positions the marketing team for success amid margin pressures.

Innovation for Resilience, Adaptability

Marketing for a Competitive Edge

In times of recession, some organisations overlook the fact that maintaining a robust marketing presence is crucial for building resilience and setting the stage for a quicker post-recession recovery. Marketing teams play a central role in maintaining consistent brand messaging and identity across channels. So, when redundancies occur, it can disrupt communication, resulting in disjointed messaging that weakens brand equity.

Marketing professionals excel at interpreting market trends and guiding businesses through change. They can also leverage sector-specific dynamics to inform commercial strategies and keep companies ahead of the curve. So, while competitors scramble to revive dormant marketing plans, your momentum will have already gained traction, positioning you better to seize a larger market share!

Investing in Creativity

Convincing leadership to maintain investment in creativity during a recession can be challenging. But beyond short-term performance-driven marketing, brand-building efforts and creativity are strategic assets for brand resilience and positioning during economic uncertainty. When faced with redundancies, organisations risk hindering their ability to differentiate themselves and innovate in their offerings.

As explained in this LinkedIn Collective post by Kevin Ryan, “companies who cut investments in innovation efforts may find the long-term consequences far outweigh the short-term cost savings.” Research further supports that maintaining or increasing branding investments during downturns yields better long-term outcomes.

During economic downturns, organisations often resort to layoffs as a knee-jerk reaction. However, it’s crucial to question whether our marketing strategies were effective from the start. Poor hiring decisions can exacerbate problems, emphasising the importance of selecting the right individuals initially.

The Cold Truth About Knee-Jerk Reactions

In the long run, organisations often find themselves rehiring marketing staff, incurring the time and financial costs of recruitment once again. Therefore, it’s wiser to invest in and retain existing, particularly the right, talent.

This means providing your marketing team with effective strategies for success, beginning with hiring the right individuals to ensure the effectiveness of your marketing plans.

Are you looking for a recruitment partner based in Wales to assist with your hiring needs in marketing, finance, or HR? Explore our services and how we can support your business here and get in touch with us today at info@sitka.wales.

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line