Need to grow your business? Why you shouldn't cut your marketing budget
As we navigate the year ahead, it can be easy to get caught up in the concerning headlines about the economy, climate change, and geopolitical issues that flood our news and social media feeds. The truth is, nobody knows all the answers to everything right now. However, as marketers, we must remember that we have the power to adapt and navigate these uncertain times successfully.
We’re a glass-all-the-way-full kind of agency. Instead of doom scrolling, let's take inspiration from history and see how successful businesses invested and navigated the highs and lows of the last recessions in the United States.
Did they pull the plug on their marketing plans and budgets in the face of uncertainty? No. They did the exact opposite.
Amazon, Mailchimp, and Netflix invested and innovated in 2008, leading them to become the leading companies that so many aspire to be today.
Where many saw the prospect of failure, these companies saw marketing as an opportunity to pivot and align themselves strategically to achieve business success. What were relatively unknown companies at the beginning of the last global recession are now industry leaders in their own right — because they saw the opportunities and took advantage of them in the moment.
How to invest in buyer trends and behavior
Investing in marketing during uncertain times can pay off in the long run but these investments need to be strategic and informed by real data to support the decisions. Smart marketing isn’t just “throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.” Strategic marketing focuses on deeply understanding your audiences and customers in an empathetic, data-informed way.
How can you do this? By tracking and adapting to trends in buyer behaviors.
And one common trend in buyer behavior hasn’t and won’t change soon, especially for the audiences and customers of Aimtal’s clients — B2B tech buyers in particular are more educated than ever.
They expect to find the information they’re looking for the moment they type their search query into Google (or any other preferred search engine). Many are even sourcing their consumer research on Instagram and TikTok before they make a purchase decision. “TikTok made me buy it” is now a common phrase in consumer conversations.
According to DemandScience’s 2022 Benchmark Report, The B2B Tech Buyer’s Journey:
New Insights, New Influences, B2B buyers take a proactive approach to making decisions through research and consumption of content. They rely on a brand’s social media, webinars, events, digital ads, and video content at the awareness and education stage of the funnel.
In another study by Trust Radius, they discovered that customers even want to self-serve during the consideration phase of their buying journey before making a decision. After viewing pricing information, product features, and a free trial, buyers read customer stories and use cases to aid their decision-making process.
That means that potential customers want to form their own opinion during the awareness and consideration stages before they even make a direct connection with your company or its sales team.
So, how are you going to provide your prospects with this wealth of information and resources? By investing in your marketing budget, strategies, and range of content.
Your company’s content is key to providing the level of self-service marketing your customers are looking for to answer their questions, form their opinions, and give them the confidence to buy. That means it’s up to you to invest in the type of high-quality content that informs and guides your target audience to making a purchase decision.
Marketing plans to carry forward in 2023
What do these trends and history tell us? Don’t pull your investment and budget out of marketing.
Your prospective customers are actively seeking content on a variety of channels for your company’s product and solutions.
As you flesh out where to invest your marketing budget, start dreaming, visualizing, and planning which channels and content to invest in. The purpose of this exercise is to get it all down on paper, then prioritize and turn the ideas into action.
To get started on your B2B marketing budget, strategy, and plan, here are a few ideas:
1. Plan a quarterly webinar
Many assumed that by the end of 2020, people would be fatigued by webinars, but these virtual events continue to be top-performing lead generation engines for our clients. Webinars are one of the best ways to position your company as an expert in its industry. Utilizing this thought leadership goes a long way in building trust and reputation in your company. Not only do you get to show off your expertise and establish trust, but you also get the opportunity to tap into your network and validate your business success. These webinars are even an excellent way to connect and showcase partners and customers, furthering trust through testimonials and real-life applications of the solutions you provide.
2. Use new webinar platforms like LinkedIn Live
Okay, maybe you’re tired of Zoom. We get it! But webinars are evolving every day with the viewer experience in mind, and you don’t have to limit yourself to a boring Zoom and Powerpoint presentation setup. Test out a new platform like LinkedIn Live where you can expand your audience to your speakers’ direct networks and chat live during the presentation. Feeling innovative? Give your attendees a new experience and host your webinar in the metaverse.
Plan your webinar strategy with our free resource: How To Host Webinars Like A Pro.
3. Invest in video and YouTube
Video has been on the marketing trends lists for a while now, but YouTube is truly reigning supreme. The same DemandScience study found that 70% of B2B buyers consume video assets all throughout the purchase path. A simple way to get started on YouTube is to edit your webinar recordings into educational videos for your audience. That way, your target customers who are searching for B2B solutions will find the information they need to guide them toward making an informed purchase decision.
4. Repurpose your video content
A successful YouTube strategy is the first step in a robust video marketing landscape. Once you’ve repurposed your webinar content and started building original videos for YouTube, take what you already have and take advantage of the power of video. Cut down your YouTube videos into bite-sized content you can repurpose on YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels. Embed your videos into blog posts and landing pages. Repost your videos natively on LinkedIn and Facebook for wider views. Whatever you do, don’t let your valuable videos become one-time-only content.
Learn more about creating a YouTube channel and content in our Ultimate Guide To YouTube Optimization.
5. Build a demand and lead generation engine
If you build it, they will come… but you need to nurture and engage your prospective customers at every stage of the funnel. Do you know who your leads are? How are you scoring and qualifying them? And what’s your strategy for keeping them in the funnel?
As much as you may want to focus on creative marketing campaigns and content creation, it’s equally as important to build the system for tracking, managing, and assessing marketing qualified leads. Your efforts to build an audience and connect with prospective customers will go to waste if you don’t have a process and software at the foundation of your system.
Follow these tactics to generate and convert qualified leads in our B2B Demand Generation Guide here.
Don’t pull the plug on marketing spend
When it comes down to it, a major function of marketing is to support the growth of the business especially by driving qualified audiences and prospects for sales.
But how can you drive sales without a functioning marketing engine driving them forward? Your marketing team is there to support your company through innovative, creative, and customer-first processes. Don’t let an economic downturn or a moment of second-guessing lead to a poor strategic choice for your business and its long-term growth.
The companies that are there for customers through the best and worst of times will be the ones that prevail. Of course, you or your company may need to make some tough decisions. Regardless, don't let uncertainty stop you from investing in marketing strategically this year and the years to come. Stay positive and keep adapting to the trends of buyer behavior.