You’d be hard-pressed to find too many areas where the gut punch of generational inflation in the U.S. isn’t being felt—on the homefront and on the job.
B2B marketing certainly isn’t immune to what’s taking place.
As the price for goods and services continues to increase (creating a decline in purchasing power), the collective reaction as it relates to resourcing makes sense: cut back. Just as you might forgo certain luxuries in your personal life, you may take the same approach as a marketer.
Budgets, after all, are under a microscope.
A recent report on the state of marketing budgets revealed that nearly 60% of B2B marketers said their budgets were cut or stayed flat due in 2022. Inflation, according to 38% of respondents, ranked as the primary driver of budget changes from a year ago, with 21% saying they dealt with mid-year marketing budget cuts.
It’s no wonder two-thirds of respondents said the “Do more with less” mentality was put to the test.
Care to guess which areas of B2B marketing were most affected by cuts and freezes to budgets and staffing? (Hint: It has a whole lot to do with content.)
The same report cited a tie at the top (34%) between “content creation/strategy” and “customer marketing.” Of the 10 areas listed, those specific functions were the only ones to crack the 30% threshold.
Inevitably, reviewing pricing strategies may also receive increased scrutiny when revenue streams slow to a drip or dry up altogether. But be warned: 40% of respondents to a Gartner study earlier this year “insist that companies must do more to absorb some or all of the additional costs instead of passing it onto their customers.”
With this in mind, there are other levers your team may first look to pull for relief from inflation frustration. And you guessed it—they’re tied to the areas most adversely impacted by tighter budgets.
Consider these three tactics and whether they can help you meet short-term goals without sabotaging long-term success:
Review your roster
You know your team best, so this exercise is something you can likely handle without help. Do you manage, or work with, a team of content specialists or generalists? There’s no wrong answer here. But how you answer may determine whether it’s wise to take a new and temporary course of action. Perhaps you should focus your marketing efforts on a specific industry or cohort that aligns with the skills of specialists. Then again, maybe speaking to a broader audience that enables generalists to tap into their talents makes the most sense.
With a clear assessment, you can plan accordingly.
Audit your current content
Repurposing your existing assets is an efficient way to make the most of marketing materials. But before you do, make sure your message is in tune with the time. Whether it’s an overarching organizational message or a campaign credo, determine if it can still be effective. Content that needs a minimal uplift, or no uplift at all, is a worthy candidate for re-use.
However, it also requires critical introspection with regard to your marketing materials. Is it best for you and your team to determine what’s worthy? Or a trusted partner with a fresh eye and equally fresh perspective?
If we’re “too close” to the work we are evaluating, it can be incredibly difficult to see the forest for the trees.
Focus on feedback
Input and insight from your customers is always valuable. In turbulent economic times, it pays to take a proactive approach to gathering it. In the same way, inflation is likely to impact your team’s short-term goals, the objectives that your customers prioritize for their livelihood are likely to change, too. If you can identify their most pressing pain points relative to the current climate, you can help them create content to address those challenges. Maybe it’s leading stakeholder interviews, creating more “quick-hitter” content or forgoing a laundry list of small assets in favor of a single all-encompassing experience. Maybe it’s something else entirely.
The point is, enlisting a partner with a proven content strategy operation can help you lead this charge efficiently—saving you time and money.
Bottom line, taking a hard look at your pricing strategies is still worthwhile (and may be unavoidable). But it’s also possible to find wins—and make gains—in other ways.
Inflation doesn’t change the fact that the name of the game remains the same:
Demonstrate why your versatility and value are deliverables your customers can’t do without.