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

The Road to Profitability: Cost Cutting or Growth?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

The whiplash experience of the small business during the past two years has left many company leaders holding hands over their eyes, blurting out “Uncle!” as inflation compounds the difficulties encountered during the pandemic.

This seems like just the right time to align business owners and marketers as we wrestle with how to manage marketing investment during turbulent times.

The Spin-Cycle of Financial Health

During the pandemic, unemployment—and underemployment—reached a terrifying high. This, along with the “great resignation,” dealt businesses a crushing talent shortage and even higher employment costs.

Now, small businesses are struggling to improve profitability as inflation trims margins even further. So, what’s a business owner to do?

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

How Can We Recession-Proof Our Marketing Investment?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Ah, 2022. These are tough and strange times.

It will take the creativity and ambition for SMB leaders to plow through the uncertainty and financial pressure that’s on board with rising inflation, debt, strains on capital, and the possibility of war.

Add on top of that, the death of the cookie amid privacy controls, rising talent costs due to underemployment, and increased energy costs—we have some work to do to keep our businesses thriving, and our ambitions realized.

If you’ve invested in marketing as the fuel for growth in your business, we’d all want to avoid random slashing of our marketing investment—while there’s still momentum as we come out of the pandemic.

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

Centralized or Decentralized: Which Marketing Model Works Best?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Is a centralized or decentralized marketing organization best for your growing business?

The growing-pains analogy in a recent Martech piece on centralized vs. decentralized marketing organizations is familiar to many of us working with growth companies.

I’ve been around long enough to see this pendulum swing back… and forth.

From the efficiencies of a centralized system, to the nimbleness of decentralization, a weathervane of approaches is dependent on an individual business’ path to success.

The question is: What’s best for your growing business?

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

A Small Business Marketing Team Can Drive Growth

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

In last week’s blog, we focused on the more high-level, fundamental tasks involved in bringing your small business vision to life via your marketing team. Now, let’s dig into the “nitty-gritty” you’ll need to accomplish to ensure your marketing team follows through.

Here are some steps to nail down a process to help build a marketing roadmap.

1) Mapping the Buyer’s Journey

Understanding the path your customers take throughout their lifecycle with your brand is vital to your marketing team’s success. Your marketing team owes you a crystal clear idea of how to reach your customers at all stages—from awareness and engagement to purchase, retention, and even churn.

Overall, this means knowing:

  • What customers need at each stage of their usage lifecycle for your product or service
  • What your brand can offer them at each of these stages 
  • Which channels to use to most effectively deliver value at each stage
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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy, CEOs, B2B marketing, Founders, B2B, small business

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