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May 19, 2022 // //  //       //  Opinion

Global CMOs vs. Looming Recession: Using Analytics to Stretch the Marketing Dollar

The distinct smell of recession is in the air. With a falloff in economic growth, decreasing profitability, continuing supply chain challenges and a myriad of other negative factors impacting business, CMOs have been handed budget cuts with an ask to make the marketing dollar go farther.

To stretch that dollar, there is no better friend than tight, impactful analytics and insights to optimize programming, spot opportunity and spur innovation.

While each organization is in a different stage of analytics, here are a set of diagnostics businesses should check:

  • Prioritize First-Party Data: With privacy regulations already in action or expected, sets of third-party data will be limited or go away completely. You don’t want to be in the middle of a recession and have third-party go dry, so prioritizing first-party data is essential. Marketers likely will move to a customer-first strategy and institute elements like privacy, choice and transparency. This will require deep knowledge and assessment of who your customers are, who they might be and who they will be.
  • Revisit Modeling: Ask your analytics team to revisit models developed in the past to ensure strategic and tactical shifts and budget changes still hold within the model. Getting your analytics team thinking about this ahead of time is essential, as eliminating waste (in this case, time waste) is crucial during a recession.
  • Explore Emerging Tech Solutions: Emerging technology like quick-to-turn MMM models and AI-driven solutions can help with cost reduction, efficiency and optimization. For example, tools that use AI to optimize visuals in digital ads can lead to quicker turns in profitability than a traditional process.
  • Don’t Skimp on Testing: During a recession you can’t have as many misses, so don’t cut back testing. Instead, lean into it more. Testing will reduce waste and can help determine if an effort or campaign can have longer shelf life, which will reduce cost on new campaign development.
  • Look Forward to Predictive Analytics: Predictive analytics is an upper right activity and requires an advanced level of analytics maturity. The first steps include ensuring data is fully accurate, integrated and accessible. While it may not be a quick process, it is worth exploring as it may pay extraordinary dividends during an extended recession or economic downturn.
  • Ramp-Up Social Listening: With some elements of third-party data going away, one of the cheaper, faster ways to gather insights into your brand and customers is through social listening activities. Social listening can uncover negative brand issues or sentiment, uncover ideas for product innovation, and help to create authentic voices to connect to your customer.
  • Examine Your Tech Stack and Contracts: Like examining your investment portfolio before a pending recession, examining your tech stack and determining if there are technology solutions that can be trimmed, that overlap or can be reallocated is always a prudent practice. You may also want to examine pricing structure and options to see if there are efficiencies to be gained. For example, entering a multi-year contract (if it is a cornerstone piece of tech) or exploring out clauses (if it is a technology that could be trimmed).

Fighting through a recession will require marketing mettle that focuses on efficiency, optimization and smart reduction. Those elements are the output of a cross-practice data analytics effort. 

Brent Diggins is the managing director of measurement + analytics at Allison+Partners.

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