To prepare for a potential recession, B2B organizations will look to gain budget savings across marketing. Marketing leaders will look to identify realistic savings. Whether you’re preparing for a recession, trying to improve profitability, or implementing a growth strategy of improved productivity, marketing operations leaders can leverage the following six operational tips to help the organization save money, reduce wasteful spend, and align spending to company objectives for growth.

  1. Realign marketing goals to growth opportunities. Use The Forrester Marketing Strategy Compass Template to prioritize growth opportunities, refine strategy, and align changes to updated goals.
  2. Redirect spending according to an up-to-date marketing plan. Continue to focus on core capabilities and balance long-term and short-term opportunities:
    • Adjust your marketing plan on a page to identify markets that should be harvested, paused, or exited. The goal is to intentionally redirect spend from those markets to growth markets.
    • Focus on what marketing will intentionally do and not do against updated goals and objectives. Intentionally redirect spend from the “will not do” list to the “will do” list.
    • Complete a keep, modify, create, or drop exercise for key marketing activities. Document and assess current and proposed marketing actions against executional readiness and goal alignment. Intentionally redirect spend from the drop list to the create or modify lists. During persona planning, determine persona preferences for tactic types; intentionally shift spend away from those interaction types they do not prefer.
  3. Reprioritize program family focus. Leverage the Campaign Framework to prioritize program families — reputation, demand, customer engagement, and enablement — to align with the needs of the markets you’re targeting. Use caution to not over-rotate the program family balance to demand only objectives. Align product launches to campaigns, embedding tier 2+ product launches into existing campaigns rather than creating new campaigns for each launch.
  4. Reallocate marketing investment and budget to reduce waste. Leverage the Strategic Budget Allocation Process to do the following:
    • Prioritize, shift, pause, or reduce investments.
      • Review planned spend and renegotiate or pause contracts that no longer align with this year’s plan (see item 2 above).
      • Remove tactics not directed at your target (e.g., tactics associated to seeding vs. accelerating demand).
    • Identify wasteful or duplicate spending.
      • Review line items across budget owners. Identify duplicative spend or programs and tactics out of alignment with campaigns or marketing planning.
      • Don’t cut across the board (i.e., 9% reduction across the board, pausing all marketing, or delaying all new technology investment). Be more strategic about cost reduction.
    • Allocate resources differently.
      • Leverage agencies, outsourcing, or automation where appropriate.
      • Upskill and leverage current talent based on key actions identified in your marketing plan.
  5. Review and document marketing processes. Audit and document marketing processes and automation to support a distributed workforce.
    • Complete business process audits to reduce waste.
      • Review your waterfall stages and service level agreements to improve conversion and velocity as well as reduce waste.
      • Assess your content engine to improve utilization and reduce internal touch points.
      • Audit your campaign implementation process to reduce touch points for approvals.
    • Consider introducing or expanding agile marketing as a process methodology to drive quick wins.
  6. Complete a marketing technology audit. Review your current martech stack to assess how well adopted it is and whether the full capability is being used. Consider consolidation options based on business needs and supporting marketing goals.

Forrester clients can schedule guidance sessions to talk about their specific challenges.