With CMO corporate tenures again declining, we wanted to squarely recognize the most significant digital marketing challenges you’re likely to face in 2022 and ideas on how to address them.
COVID, at least the version and associated environment we all faced in 2020, is coming to an end. States are vowing to remain open. Consumers are spending more than ever before, and businesses are ready to hit the ground running in 2022.
Against this backdrop, there are two elephants in the room that CEOs and CMOs need to acknowledge and address. Those two issues are price increases and staff shortages.
At Tempesta Media, we expect a bunch of different price increases. One is the cost of vendors and marketing programs. The other is accelerating costs of hiring and retaining staff. With the CPI already at 7.0%, we are bracing for double-digit increases in these areas.
Despite your 2022 plans being locked in, your company needs to acknowledge that inflation is no longer transitory. If you don’t do this now, you’re going to be caught in an untenable situation later this summer: being forced to improve your marketing program’s performance while effectively facing budget cuts because of the harmful effects of inflation. In short, it’s a no-win situation for CMOs and ultimately impacts the viability of your overall company’s plans.
To get you ready to deal with reality, we’ve come up with four actionable steps that you can take now to insulate yourself and your company.
Automation and outsourcing
Your entire c-suite, including your CEO, needs to embrace automation and outsourcing now. This is not some pie-in-the-sky aspiration. This is an immediate action item.
Automation is getting implemented across all business sectors and industries. Since technology is advancing so rapidly, areas of your business that could not produce sufficient ROI may now be viable. So, CMOS, go back and reassess your marketing team’s responsibilities.
At Tempesta Media, we underwent this exercise across marketing and the company. As a result, we uncovered many areas that were ripe for automation. As a result, since Q3 ’21, we’ve allocated dedicated engineering staff to do nothing but implement automation. Fast-forward to January ’21, and we already see results.
Here are a couple of specific steps that CMOs take to streamline their operations:
- Stop manual lead tracking. There is no reason why marketing departments should manually measure, route, and track leads. Use Zapier to get your different marketing campaigns to talk to each other.
- Use smart forms. Intelligent forms can handle multiple inquiries from one “contact us” form. There’s no need to send prospects to all kinds of different formats. Use one and make it bright.
- Use a social media management solution. Digital marketing platforms, like ours, intelligently connect your social media networks. Now, you can create, schedule, and track your social media posts from one dashboard. Bonus points if your solution is integrated with your content and influencer marketing programs.
- Integrate all your marketing data. This is more than implementing Google Analytics. Nearly all marketing programs and tools have open APIs. Stop maintaining your marketing data in different silos. The more silos you have, the more your staff’s time is eaten up generating reports. Even consolidating one or two data silos will take a lot of burden off of your team.
Outsourcing is your next low-hanging cost-cutting fruit. Unfortunately, the 2022 digital marketing landscape is nowhere near the same as in 2002. There is simply no way that one person or even a small team can be deep experts across every part of the digital marketing ecosystem. It’s just too complex and requires significant subject matter expertise (SME).
Please stop trying to do it all in-house. Larger enterprises get this and are increasing their outsourcing of marketing SME functions. However, smaller businesses struggle to grasp this concept. So why does the barrier exist, to begin with?
Once again, it goes back to the early 2000s, when digital marketing was much more straightforward. At that time, marketing generalists did not need to make such deep commitments to learning how to gain proficiency-level knowledge of the marketing tools and programs. Then, it would be hard to justify paying another company to do the work for you. The impression was that there wasn’t much additional value to be gained.
Today, it’s an entirely different story. Take Google Analytics, for example. If you compare the solution suite of today to what existed even ten years ago, it’s night and day. Employees now need to spend months mastering every aspect of the program – Google Tag Manager, filters, target audience segmentation, attribution, conversion goals, etc. It’s a lot.
I’ve just covered Google Analytics. What about paid search, social media management, content marketing, email marketing, etc.? All of these have become incredibly complex, requiring actual expert knowledge.
At the same time, the cost for SMEs has jumped dramatically. As a result, it no longer makes sense to hire one or more SMEs as full-time salaried employees onto your team, especially when you only need a fraction of that person’s time to do the work required for your company.
For most SMBs over $2M in revenue and lower-middle market companies, building the capability in-house makes neither strategic nor financial sense. So instead, the solution is to outsource SME work and develop your team as a group of company experts, excellent marketing generalists, and superb project managers. Doing so will give you flexibility, cost savings, and, most importantly, better results.
Considering that outsourcing is way more cost-effective, especially combined with automation, it is a great way to handle the price increase of staff and marketing programs.
Here’s a real-life example
A company was considering whether or not to build a content marketing team in-house (writer, editor, content marketing manager, and designer) or outsource the function. Once they began modeling the numbers, it became a no-brainer that the operation should be outsourced and an internal generalist marketing project manager hired to manage the program. Here’s how the numbers worked out (note internal salaries are fully burdened):
The CMO initially attempted to justify the added headcount by claiming that these people would also support other initiatives outside of their content marketing program. However, concerned about the additional fixed cost overhead, the CEO brought in the CFO to provide further insight.
Once the CFO got involved, the CMO’s justification quickly melted away. The CFO found that the outsourced content marketing firm could take on a portion of those tasks for an additional $12,000 per year. Further, he found that nearly all the other extraneous marketing projects could be covered by hiring an outside contractor on retainer for $24,000 per year.
The net result: The CEO got better output, with reduced costs and overhead. The CFO came out as the hero. The CMO…well, he “exited” the company 6 ½ months later.
The bottom line
Anything not part of your company’s core competencies (this goes beyond the marketing function) is a candidate for automation, outsourcing, or both!