In today’s challenging economic landscape, firms big and small are struggling to maintain performance while under increased financial pressure. With high inflation and interest rates, the recent US banking crisis and other warning signs, it’s possible the worst is yet to come: as of September 2023, market professionals are predicting with 60% confidence that we will fall into a recession by August 2024.
Capital markets firms and B2B fintechs are feeling the heat. With less budget to go around, it’s critical to determine how to allocate your spending to ensure resilience – and it’s all the more important to keep your foot on the gas pedal when it comes to marketing. By investing in these efforts today, your firm can claim an ideal position in the marketplace and lay a foundation for attracting even more clients once economic conditions improve.
Read on for eight practical and actionable tips designed to help industry firms squeeze every drop of value out of their marketing spend while operating on a tighter budget. With these tactics in your arsenal, your firm can emerge stronger on the other side of the downturn.
1. Take advantage of early registrations
Many event organizers in the B2B fintech and capital markets space encourage industry firms to take advantage of early, discounted registration rates. To avoid paying marked-up prices, be sure to sign up for all relevant conferences, tradeshows and networking events well in advance. Signing up early also increases your likelihood of negotiating added benefits, such as featuring your company logo on as many event promotional materials as possible or securing a speaking slot for one of your executives.
2. Ship event materials well in advance…or consider going virtual
If you’re attending in-person events, be sure to ship all event materials – sales sheets, booths, giveaway items – to the right location well in advance to avoid costly overnight shipping and onsite handling fees. While a small FedEx box won’t break the bank, a large crated booth could cost you your flight home. And before you ship a large TV monitor to the event, consider buying one onsite and using it as a raffle giveaway – it could be cheaper, not to mention a nice way to get some sales leads.
You can also consider saving on the cost of physical materials altogether (plus travel expenses) by signing up for virtual events. You may have to put in some extra work to identify the webinars that are the best fit for your firm, but the savings can make it worthwhile.
3. Check your ad spend
A market downturn is as good a time as ever to reassess your Google/LinkedIn Ads spend. Conduct a proper audit on the performance of the ads your firm is currently running to determine whether they are still worth it. Don’t allow non-impactful campaigns to linger! Bonus tip: make sure all employees are regularly amplifying your social content to their personal LinkedIn networks. While not a total substitute for paid ads, you may find it highly impactful for increasing visibility and awareness.
4. Repurpose published content
Are you taking full advantage of your firm’s previously published content? Chances are, you’re not getting all the value possible from what’s currently living on your website. Rather than expending the resources to create entirely new thought leadership pieces, you can fill your content pipeline by strengthening older pieces. Reposting articles with updated introductions, creating corresponding infographics or data visualizations and converting written pieces into podcast episodes or webinars are all ways to reduce costs and improve the overall ROI of your content.
5. Embrace partner marketing
Hunting for a bargain? Consider engaging in partner marketing with like-minded firms in your space. This tactic can help you expand your reach and increase brand awareness in a way that benefits both parties. For example, at a conference, a joint sponsorship deal can enable two firms to split the fees while maintaining almost as much visibility. Another cost-conscious approach is collaborating to co-create high-quality content and distributing it via the websites and marketing channels of both firms.
6. Use data to guide spending decisions
Should you spend your limited content resources on five short-form blog posts or one larger whitepaper? Whatever you decide, it’s crucial to get down to the numbers, especially when budgets are strained. Always examine how each of your marketing pieces has performed on your social channels, email blasts and other distribution channels. Armed with insights on engagement and lead generation, you can adjust your strategy for maximum reach and visibility.
7. Consider (carefully) leveraging AI
When trying to cut down on marketing costs during an economic downturn, you may find potential use cases for AI technology. Tools such as ChatGPT can come in handy when creating marketing materials, whether to speed up the process of writing copy or to quickly generate new campaign ideas.
However, it’s important to exercise caution when using this technology. ChatGPT cannot produce original insights, and AI-generated writing often lacks expression, making it easy to detect a non-human voice. AI is best used as an accelerator, not a replacement, for human marketers – so use it smartly and sparingly.
8. Get creative
This final tip is a bit of a catch-all, but you should leave no stone unturned in finding ways to make innovative use of the resources at your disposal. Can a conference organizer use your office space to host a casual event in exchange for a speaking slot on a panel? Can you book a podcast appearance by offering advertising in your company newsletter or social accounts? When you leverage the full extent of your network and distribution channels, the possibilities become nearly endless.
While current economic conditions may pose unique challenges when it comes to managing marketing efforts, businesses that adapt strategically can thrive. As ever, a fully integrated program that takes advantage of the natural synergies that exist between program areas – content, digital marketing, media relations, design and more – will help your firm get the most bang for its buck. Our full menu of services has helped dozens of B2B fintech and capital markets firms differentiate themselves in the market, amplify their brand and activate their target audience, propelling them from launch to leadership.
Interested in how Forefront can help you implement strategies to improve marketing ROI and protect your business amid the economic downturn? Drop us a line.