Prioritizing Marketing Strategies in Times of Crisis

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

“The best thing you can do is to be exceptionally good at something.”

That was Warren Buffet’s recent statement about our current state of inflation. But, for many small and mid-market business leaders, it takes a whole lot more than “one thing” to ensure their goals are met.

How can you make sure you’re putting effort and resources into the activities that will produce the best results?

When prioritizing marketing activities, we apply a few rules to marketing best practices.


Consistency

If you can commit to something consistently, that is the power of marketing. It has exponential value. So, if you need to be in more than one place, doing more than one thing, can you sustain it consistently?

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Aligning Business Objectives with Marketing Strategy: Easier Said than Done

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics—oh my!

This is always the first step in a discussion about marketing.

On “paper,” not so confusing. In B-school, it was crystal clear. An “objective” was a quantitative metric:

  • Increase new customers by 5%
  • Grow revenue in new markets by 10%
  • Increase website traffic by 15%

If the objective was the goal, a strategy was what needed to be accomplished to achieve it, and tactics constituted the “how.”

Enter the real world.

What Is “Growth,” Really?

When I work with EOS companies, they’ve already worked hard to define their business objectives. While there’s traction in the business growth path, often the specific role of marketing gets muddied.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Failure to Launch: Why Do Marketing Strategies Fall Short?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Failure to Launch: It was a good movie for its time… I mean, who doesn’t love Matthew McConaughey?

In business, failure to execute strategies rarely has a romcom’s nice, tidy ending.

Studies on the matter reveal that 60–90% of strategic plans never fully launch.

In respect to marketing, specifically, how can we hunt for the “right” culprit when something’s not working in our marketing program? Is it the executor/implementator? Or the strategy itself?

Often, we are fighting the wrong enemy in our strategies.

4 Fail-Sure Factors

After reviewing several growth plans during the first half of 2022, it’s clear that often we’re creating marketing solutions that are solving the wrong problem. How irritating is that?

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

How Deep Is Your Marketing Bench?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

One of my contractors is always talking to me in sports analogies, so I thought I’d take a stab at it myself! (But don’t worry… if you’re not a sports fanatic like she is, this is really more about marketing investment than basketball or football.)

Sports teams, or rather successful sports teams, do a lot of things “right.” They not only have a deep bench of players, they know how to use those players in a way that produces results. Some of this rests on the coach, I guess what you could call the CEO of the team—providing guidance, making key decisions like understanding which team member needs to be cut or where there are gaps in performance that need supplementation.

So, if one of your players gets injured, or your pitcher isn’t performing up to expectations, or you want to bolster your running game, you find the player(s) who can excel in those roles.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

How to Protect Your Business with Nimble Marketing Solutions

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

The importance of being nimble in business growth investments activities cannot be overstated. But “nimble” often suggests cut-and-paste solutions that don’t take strategic thought or planning smarts. Not so.

Nimbleness is especially essential now, as many companies face challenges of rising inflation and an impending recession—not to mention the enduring supply chain delays and manufacturing issues.

In marketing, I get a lot of questions about “what,” but fewer questions about “where.” Where you invest can be nearly as important as what you spend it on. Seriously. We spend hours and hours in approval processes, nuances around language, drill down on image resolution….it’s not that these things aren’t important, or that it’s ok to be lazy about the details.

It’s simply that the best creative, the most insightful strategies, the most compelling value props only matter if they’re consumed where your audience lives day after day.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Marketers: Do You Speak CFO?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Oh, the pain of the marketing budget. You can feel it, right? When it’s time to propose your investment recommendations for the year—or revise them for the quarter—tensions start to rise.

Pile on the threat of recession, and marketing folks face some extra-difficult conversations with business decision-makers.

If you’re a marketing leader, and you’re forced to “defend” marketing investment, how can you best approach it? Or, if you’re a CEO responsible for allocating marketing investment, can you feel confident being on the pro-marketing side?

What Happens When You’re Met with Resistance?

The Drum contributor Samuel Scott presents an interesting take: “How marketers can ‘speak CFO’ to survive the recession.”

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

When Is It Time to Break Up with Your Marketing?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

I’ve written previously about why marketing, like relationships, takes time. But, is there a point when it’s time to “break up” with your marketing?

In dating (or marriage), either he’s right for you or he’s not. In marketing, that decision isn’t so binary. There’s a lot to consider as you evaluate the quality of your marketing investment.

Let’s Avoid the Blame Game

We all take our own “weaknesses” into relationships. She loads the dishwasher wrong and would rather watch football on a Sunday than go to brunch. He is super-particular about bedroom temperature regardless of the season.

Can these disconnects be solved by just one-half of the relationship? Sometimes, the other partner has to step up and uncover a possible solution.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Recession Marketing Spend: Cut the Fat, Not the Muscle

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

The question is no longer “if” the recession is coming, but when (and how long will it last). At least that’s the temperature check coming from experts like Bank of America chief investment strategist Michael Hartnett:

“Inflation shock” worsening, “rate shock” just beginning, “recession shock” coming.

It’s not surprising that many CEOs and CFOs are considering budget cuts—if they haven’t made them already. Per usual in an economic downturn, marketing gets the short end of the stick.

Beware Random Slashing of Marketing

Budgeting has always been a primary sticking point when it comes to marketing. With the looming recession, decisions around marketing investment are going to need to be even more convincing.

Yet, those conversations need to take the long view on spending and profitability. If you must make marketing budget cuts, there’s a way to do it that cuts the fat—not the muscle.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

Staff Training Reminds Me of Dieting

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

We all know that turkey slices have fewer calories and fat than my beloved carrot cake. This is not a secret.

There’s more… Green leafies are good for your brain. Whole grains have high nutritional value. Lean protein builds lean muscles.

So what.

Premier weight loss programs like Weight Watchers and HMR will tell you that it’s not the program alone that creates success. It’s not the calories in, calories out or even what “type” of calories you’re ingesting. Instead, it’s the ongoing accountability, coaching, and behavior changes that yield the results you want.

In a fascinating Harvard Business Review article on the value of training, the same concept holds true. Case in point…

What You Know, What You Don’t

Last week I spoke to a CEO of a benefits software company who admitted he “knows nothing” about marketing. But, in our conversation, this smart man was able to articulate the gaps in his business development plans, alongside several darned good ideas about how to concentrate his marketing investment where it matters most.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

How Will a Cookieless World Affect Your Marketing Plans?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Everyone’s pretty nervous about the disappearing cookies. Even though the timeline has been extended until “late 2023,” we all know how that can seem like the blink of an eye. Plus, pro-privacy actions have already been taking place in the iOS and Android universes.

Some companies have made great strides in preparation. Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands that rely on third-party tracking to broaden their reach are working smarter to manage the undoing of the retargeting channel they’ve relied on for years.

So, my B2B brothers and sisters: let’s see what we can learn from them.

Step 1: Growing Your First-Party Connections

Everyone is moaning about the future of DTC brands that are so reliant on third-party tracking in the social channels to expand reach and offer multiple opportunities to engage. Take your average “Instagram” brand and get empathetic. They rely so heavily on third-party tracking that you have to wonder how they’ll survive this.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

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