Adam Leslie discusses new research from Dun & Bradstreet, which reveals how UK marketers are changing their approach in response to Covid-19 budget cuts
The marketing industry as undergone a major disruption following the impact of Covid-19. It has resulted in reallocation of resources, and according to our latest research, 80% of marketers surveyed have had to adjust their plans and activities.
Budgets have been reduced across the board – and that includes sales and marketing. While for many organisations it has meant projects have been shelved and they have had to take a more conservative approach, some are using it as a chance to challenge the norm and re-think how they connect, engage, and convert leads.
Budgets may have shrunk, but the pressure to deliver has not. While seven in ten (70%) marketers surveyed revealed that their marketing budgets have been reduced as a result of Covid-19, over three-quarters (76%) said they and their teams have been under increasing pressure to deliver during the pandemic. Yet despite this, 77% agree that new business leads have reduced since the outbreak. With fewer resources available, it is important to make marketing budgets work harder than before. To be able to engage with customers on a personal level, you first have to understand them and this comes down to data.
Ask yourself: “What is your customers’ situation? What are their concerns? What are their biggest challenges?” The answers to all of these can be found in data and analytics.
Before the sales team drafts an email or picks up a phone, they should already have the answers to these questions from the marketing team so that they are primed for the conversation. Having access to this information and knowing who to call, at what time and what is top of mind for them provides the best chance of success.
Our research indicates that since the outbreak, 67% of CMOs and senior marketers surveyed have increased their tailored offerings to customers to help accelerate their sales processes. Businesses are increasingly understanding the value of a more targeted, data-driven approach.
Marketing activity hasn’t necessarily decreased, but rather, changed. The focus has shifted away from chasing leads in favour of precise outbound messaging.
CMOs and senior marketers are focusing on customer consolidation and trying to better understand and engage those with a higher propensity to buy. It’s not about trying to reach more customers, but instead targeting higher-value customers. And one of the best ways of doing this is through empathy.
Offering support and advice is a useful strategy to engage customers in the current climate. This can be achieved by well-placed thought leadership, but it’s also about having helpful conversations with current customers; keeping them up-to-date on the impact to services and finding new ways to support them.
The pandemic is by no means over, but we can start to see glimpses of how the marketing landscape will have changed in a post-Covid world. As many as 80% of marketers we surveyed said that since the outbreak started, they have used the time to revaluate their marketing strategy. And 83% said they’re making changes and preparing to bounce right back towards the end of the financial year. It’s encouraging to see this kind of thinking and it’s exciting to know that now more than ever, data is being used to drive success within marketing departments.
Once their budgets are returned and we get back to business as usual, putting data at the heart of marketing operations will continue to deliver value. The marketing function has the opportunity to be the catalyst and driving force for the restarting of business, using data to make more informed, targeted decisions to drive revenue and improve business performance. ν
Methodology In May 2020 Dun & Bradstreet interviewed 210 UK
CMOs and senior marketers/decision makers in the following sectors: financial services, technology, healthcare, construction and building materials and logistics/transportation.