Covid has presented big challenges for CMOs across a range of categories. When the pandemic first struck, many companies wondered about their performance and simply scrambled, cutting their marketing and advertising budgets in an effort to survive.
Later, when we realized we were in for the long haul and would need to operate as close to “business as usual” as possible, companies pivoted and set out to do more with less—a.k.a. drastically lowered spend. According to The CMO Survey:
- Almost 10% of marketing jobs have been lost as a result of Covid
- Hiring within the industry has dropped to historic lows
A year later, despite shrunken budgets and dwindling resources, CMOs continue to face immense pressure to deliver results. Consequently, they’ve had to focus most of their attention on the short term: hitting targets on a month-to-month basis
Pete Markey, CMO of U.K. pharmacy chain Boots, notes in Marketing Dive: “The bit that often gets lost in the business of the day-to-day is the transformational side of where we’re heading next, what’s over the horizon. Often we get caught up in the short term because you have to—because the lifeblood of any CMO is results and performance in today’s data.” He adds that focusing on short-term goals has forced many CMOs to neglect (by necessity) one of their most important responsibilities: the long-term future of the brand.
With no sign yet of marketing budgets turning around, how can CMOs claw back capacity in this seemingly never-ending marketing limbo, and free themselves up to start thinking again about the bigger picture?
By finding a strong, trustworthy communication partner. One who can—without undertaking a full, enterprise-wide transformation—help streamline and/or automate some of the more routine, labour-intensive tasks that must be completed on a daily basis, such as:
- Collateral creation, customization, and distribution
- Maintaining brand compliance across the network
- Supply chain / executional management, through better integration and simpler administration
The bottom line is that CMOs need help doing the “grunt work” associated with day-to-day marketing so that long-term brand strategy can continue behind the scenes. That means:
1. Reining in the day-to-day admin
There may not be the budget to make massive shifts, so the key is to automate “smaller” routine tasks where possible to increase efficiency without big up-front investment. For example, automating brand compliance and reducing approval bottlenecks are two areas where excessive manual checks and balances can eat up resources that could be allocated to more strategic work.
2. Looking—closely—for cost savings
Proactive analysis of your own department prevents the wrong kinds of cuts from being imposed by those outside your team. At the same time, looking at resources in an objective, unbiased fashion is a challenge in itself. This is particularly the case for brands with complex communications systems and large catalogues of collateral: Redundancies and inefficiencies can often get lost in the daily shuffle.
Taking a step back, with the help of an expert partner, to analyze the entire network from a cost-rationalization perspective can yield telling results. The findings can help a CMO decide, in a more controlled manner, where potential cuts make the most sense—and where they might even be avoided by identifying hidden inefficiencies that are quietly nibbling away at the budget.