Today, companies are faced with several unanticipated decisions. Keeping employees safe. Keeping the business afloat. Layoffs. Budget cuts. And more.
Regardless of the driver, when companies experience uncertain financial futures, one of the first targets for budget cuts is usually marketing expenses. While this may be warranted, the very thought leaves marketing teams scrambling and reactive instead of purposeful and data-driven.
To help you make the best decisions and position your marketing team to navigate current and future challenges, executives need to be asking their teams these 6 questions:
How are you? Seems so simple. We already know that it is so important for sales and marketing to humanize their outreach to customers and prospects. This starts at home. If executives want to stop their teams from scrambling for job security they need to start with eliminating some of the uncertainty. Knowing what your teams are worried about opens the door for better dialog, reflection and planning.
What do our customers need right now? Your marketing team should be prioritizing understanding your customer’s needs and challenges. Hopefully, they have not only established good relationships with specific customers, but they are also your ear to the industry. With this knowledge, your marketing team can position their activity to empathize with your customers and address these challenges. Additionally, when you have this information you can make higher level decisions about your business priorities. Chances are that the problems that your customers are experiencing are also the problems of your prospects. If you have clearly defined your target market, having great content aligned with these obstacles will help position you as an industry resource in addition to the product or service you provide.
Do we have the data and analytics to make the decisions that are best for our business? Often marketing comes under fire because it is difficult to see the direct connection to revenue generation. Now is the time to challenge your marketing teams to solve this problem. If we are going to be making decisions about the impact of marketing, we must have the data to measure what drives our business, what builds our brand and what investments are most efficient and effective.
What have we learned? Most marketers are reflective by nature. They are constantly thinking about how the past informs the future. Asking them to explain this is empowering. What have we learned about our business? Our marketing techniques? Our messaging? Our industry? Our customers? Ourselves?
What will the first week, month, quarter look like as we come out of this? It is not enough to ask about what we have learned. We also need to understand how this learning will be used to enable our customers, attract new prospects, and grow our business. Your marketing team needs to have a plan based on this learning. Otherwise, your company will simply fall back on what they did in the past and that is not good enough. Regardless if your business is grinding to a halt or busier than ever during this time, you need to be thinking about what comes next. Executives empowering their teams to not just think, but also prepare for the future are positioning their organizations to leap forward when the opportunity is there.
How can the executive team help? Yes, you will be making difficult decisions that may result in losing members of your marketing team. However, the ability of your executive team to be part of the path forward will ease the transition. You may not be able to deliver on everything that your marketing team needs today, but being present, listening and trusting in your people will be the catalyst for future success.
While many marketing teams are wrestling with cancelled events, declining response to demand generation activities, changing objectives, customer uncertainty and their own concerns, executive engagement will help reframe priorities and empower your marketing team to build the strategy for today’s needs and tomorrow’s growth.