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COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the country in ways that go far beyond the mortality incurred. Businesses need to come to grips with the new economic landscape and adjust accordingly. Your content marketing program is no exception.
Content marketing budgets
Your content marketing budgets, regardless of their ROI (return on investment), will come under pressure. When economic slowdowns hit, marketing budgets get slashed by companies. Anything that does not meet the minimum ROI threshold as set by the CEO or CMO is canned. As to be expected, that’s happening now with the coronavirus.
Fortunately, well-established content marketing programs tend to have extremely high ROI numbers. These are the ones that have been consistently built up over several years.
The same cannot be said for newly created programs. They are the most likely to get the axe. This is largely because these programs take time to develop and scale for both lead volume/sales and ROI. When companies are hemorrhaging losses, they don’t have the financial stamina to sustain anything that is not already providing great results inexpensively.
As marketers, we know that an established content marketing program can become the cornerstone of a corporate marketing strategy. How can we keep content marketing programs going while the Sword of Damocles hangs over them?
Make hard decisions now
Before any specific actions you can take, as a simple rule of thumb, CMOs ultimately need to make the hard decisions sooner rather than later. In other words, figure out what you can do today to keep your content marketing program moving forward for when better times emerge (and, don’t worry, they inevitably will).
Reduce content marketing overhead
Like your company, you need to view your content marketing program as a business within the business. While most of your costs are probably in headcount, you need to break their tasks and responsibilities down into a couple of buckets:
- customer acquisition
- customer retention
- brand development
What you will predictably find is that there are tasks being done that are not needed or that do not add value to the program. This happens when your team is trying to “create work” to keep a full-time person on the payroll.
It’s always more comfortable to have a person right next to you working on a project. It’s less so when that person is remote or a third party. However, by acknowledging that a full-time employee is doing a part-time job and turning to outsourcing or automation options is the first step towards improving the ROI of your program.
The bottom line is that for your program and company to survive, you’re going to have to make the call and let some people go.
Scale your content marketing program while reducing headcount and costs
You’ve now determined that your headcount needs to be reduced. For many CMOs, the number of necessary cuts likely exceeds the number of staff reductions that you have determined as redundant. What do you do?
This is where it gets hard. You are now cutting into the bone of your department. You have to let go of good people, some of whom may have been at your side for years.
Even worse, you and your team will have to do even more work with less hands (as if you weren’t already working nights and weekends!) It’s no wonder the turnover rates for CMOs is disturbingly high.
On top of that, you have to make sure that your department can quickly turn around and scale up fast once the economy improves. It seems like an impossible job, yet CMOs across the country are making it happen. How?
Transform marketing’s organizational structure and composition
CMOs are scaling up fast by embracing the transformation of their organizations from specialists to highly skilled marketing project managers. This means they’re replacing SEM, SEO, creative and content marketing specialists with a few marketing generalists.
The role of the marketing generalist
Marketing generalists are like mini CMOs. They have strong project and program management expertise and well-versed in financial, operational and vendor management. They understand the company’s mission and strategy and are able to translate it into executional implementation orders for managed service providers, contractors, vendors and others.
Additionally, marketing generalists are able to establish, optimize and scale up traditionally internally managed marketing programs with outside resources. They can quickly optimize operational processes in such a way that they can get the best out of their internal (e.g. other departments) and external resources.
Marketing generalists can drive top- and bottom-line results fast
When used in conjunction with managed services providers, like Tempesta Media, these generalists can deliver cost savings of up to 80%. This is compared to trying to implement the same content marketing program exclusively in-house.
Time is not your friend, but Tempesta is
With spending drops across most major categories and industries, time is not a CMO’s ally. Delaying even one month to implement cuts may result in you having to make even deeper cuts later. As a leading content marketing managed services provider, Tempesta Media can help you quickly make the move to a hybrid or fully outsourced content marketing program in days.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook: 100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs. Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies. 100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.