Does cutting back marketing costs have to mean doing more with less?

15/09/2020
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Summer’s over and we’re all heading back to work. Coronavirus is still here as is the uncertainty is has created. As a result, many businesses are rolling up their sleeves and rethinking their spending in order to move forward. However, does cutting back costs have to mean doing less? A change in the way you do things and the help of a Fractional CMO might mean the opposite.

Think carefully about the ‘how’

Many businesses have suffered this year and have to rethink spending. For some, that might mean restructuring, and yes, it might even mean job losses. However, it doesn’t have to mean shrinking your business productivity or going backwards. 

If you are looking at a restructuring process, try to find someone who can help you really think about what that might look like. Don’t just cut jobs and downsize, look at how you can operate your business in a more streamlined way as a whole. That might mean looking at your office set up and embracing a great remote work policy so you can reduce ongoing overheads. 

Or it might mean bringing in a fractional CMO and other members of senior leadership to provide strategic guidance and oversee management teams on an interim CMO basis. The result is a more streamlined process, that still has the checks and balances of senior leadership without the ongoing costs.

Where can you use talent on demand?

How we bring different skills into our teams has changed, and in recent years more and more people have opted to work for themselves in a bid for greater flexibility and an improved work/life balance. With Covid-19, the time it has given individuals to reassess what they want and where they want to live, as well as the economic impact on companies and full time roles, there is an anticipated increase in the number of people who will look to freelance or work on more of an interim basis in all areas. 

When it comes to you and your company, that may mean rethinking how you bring in different skills and services, and where you can use talent on demand. It also means more opportunities to think differently. You may look to replace a large, expensive advertising agency with a talented network of individuals and SMEs under the guidance of an informed fractional CMO, for example. 

Or you might commission a number of articles and graphics from a pool of content writers and designers rather than having a full arsenal of permanent team members in place for example. Talent on demand doesn’t necessarily mean doing less, but it does mean allocating your budget more consciously and limiting tail spend.

Don’t undervalue your team

Restructuring can be an extremely positive thing for a company, and a chance to make sure you’re not wasting money as well as looking to where it can be saved. However, it never pays to be cheap. If you do look to restructure into a more flexible business model, it does mean that the people within your team become even more important than they already were. So take care of them and make sure they feel valued. 

It’s hard to find good people, and recruitment can be an expensive process. Last year the Harvard Business Review reported that it takes an average of 24 days to fill a job in the USA, costing employers up to $4,000 per hire — maybe more, depending on your industry. Of course, C-suite hires are likely to cost at least 30% upwards of their salary given the role of headhungers. It can also have a big impact on team morale, which in turn could affect productivity and company success. 

Last year IBM was in the process of patenting an algorithm that can supposedly predict which employees are likely to quit. We don’t all have one of those, but we can do things to make sure that our team members are invested in the company, what it does, and feel a sense of ownership in their roles. It’s as valuable, if not more so, to your company's success as your SEO, your POS system or anything else.

We will conclude on a key point that encompasses all of these suggestions. These things sound like cost cutting exercises, and they are. However, these are also things that the world has been moving towards for some time. Some of the most productive, agile and resilient companies have already adopted these approaches. Covid-19 has been dreadful, but it has forced us to look at some realities that were already here and were not being given their due. 

Flexible Working Is Part Of The New Reality

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Remote working, limiting the need for expensive office space, creating a more flexible workforce and rethinking business structures is not just cost effective, it’s more adaptable in a crisis and it fits better with individuals’ lifestyle expectations. 

For example, a 2015 report from flexible working experts Timewise and social research charity The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that almost half the UK workforce – more than 14 million – would like the opportunity to work in a more flexible way. Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported that US retailer Best Buy adopted flexibility at its headquarters, resulting in a reduction in staff turnover by 45%.

What we’re talking about is not making a fast buck or hunkering down for the winter in the hope you survive the cold spell. We’re talking about changes that have a cost saving effect now as well as focusing on fast and long-term benefits to help the company move forward.

If you would like to talk to our team about talent on demand or how a fractional CMO might help you, contact us any time.