When facing an economic downturn, many business leaders consider deprioritizing their marketing efforts, but the data suggests that this is the time to double down on marketing. Research has shown that teams which have increased marketing outlay during the pandemic have gone on to enjoy a significant lift in sales. Sure, consumer spending dropped approximately 50% overall, but those that cut marketing saw online sales fall, and those that held steady saw revenue even out after an initial dip.
However, ramping up your marketing efforts comes with challenges. Marketing teams have been hit by layoffs and budget cuts as businesses struggle to remain financially stable. A Gartner report found that more than 44% of CMOs faced midyear budget cuts, and over one-third had cuts of over 15% in 2020.
A separate report noted that 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with gig workers as a cost-saving measure, but hired guns from the outside are less likely to buy into your culture and feel like key aspects of your team. At the same time, marketers, like most knowledge workers, are mainly working remotely, undermining their ability to collaborate and operate as a cohesive unit.
Now more than ever, it's vital to use every tactic at your disposal to ensure that your marketing team is aligned, connected and able to work together effectively. The time and money wasted in marketing campaigns that work at cross-purposes, dropped leads, and unclear messaging is more than you can afford, and is the inevitable result of a misaligned team.
Fortunately, SaaS marketing tools can help a great deal. The outlay is minimal, and in the words of Nirmalya Kumar and Koen Pauwels, writing in the HBR, "This is a time not to stop spending money but a time to change how you spend it."
Here are five marketing tools that can improve team collaboration and alignment, helping to ramp up the impact of your marketing efforts.
1. Let Buffer orchestrate social media marketing
Every marketing team needs to manage several social media channels, as even SMBs have a presence on more than one platform. Effective marketing relies on consistent cross-channel brand messaging across channels, plus you need to avoid the chaos of launching new offers or products at different times on different networks.
Buffer is an excellent solution that enables the whole team to collaborate on social media content. Use the platform to draft social posts, share feedback in real time, review content for quality, and schedule it in a calendar that syncs instantly across users and channels.
With Buffer, you can orchestrate entire social media marketing campaigns and manage all the moving parts from a single view. You'll also find access controls so that different users can be authorized to post independently or only after review, to keep all your messaging streamlined and organized.
2. Use Deputy to streamline team scheduling
When your entire marketing team is working from home on flexible schedules, you need to know who's in control of which campaign and who's available to troubleshoot new issues at any given moment.
The Deputy scheduling app enables you to build agile employee schedules, so you can feel confident that there's always someone on the ready to put out marketing fires. Use Deputy to share and sync schedules so that everyone knows who to turn to for urgent feedback, which manager is available to approve content, and so forth.
You'll manage a lean team more successfully when you can see clearly if you're struggling to cover all your bases or need to find ways to use your existing marketing personnel more efficiently.
3. Swipe over to Videoleap to improve video content
Video content has been the most popular and best-performing content type for years, but COVID-19 pushed it even higher. In 2020, 48% of marketers saw increased ROI from video, compared with 28% in 2018. With nowhere to go, online video consumption rose massively during the pandemic to 18 hours per week, a rise of 2 hours since 2019.
Video converts, too. About 84% of consumers said that watching a brand video convinced them to buy a product or service, and 79% were convinced to buy software or an app. Finally, people are twice as likely to share video content than to share any other type of marketing content.
As a result, businesses that neglected video are paying attention. Roughly 24% of marketers used video for the first time in 2020, and 51% said it's become easier to create and edit in-house.
A prime example is Videoleap, a one-stop shop for video editing – with advanced effects, filters, sound effects, green screen, frames and stickers to boot. Videoleap removes the need to have a video expert in-house, thereby slimming down your team without compromising on content quality.
4. Turn to ReferralCandy to boost recommendations
Referrals are the lifeblood of every business, whether you're running a dropshipping ecommerce side hustle or a 20-strong in-house marketing team for professional services. It might sound disheartening, but people trust referrals from friends and family more than your own marketing, and even referrals from strangers on the internet are highly valued.
Don't fight it – embrace it as part of your marketing strategy. Consider your most successful customers as an extension of your marketing team by using ReferralCandy to encourage them.
Among its many functionalities, ReferralCandy provides deep real-time RoI analytics that show which customers are most active, so you can incentivize them further, and reveal which channels they're using so you can focus on them yourself.
ReferralCandy automates the entire rewards process so you can just set it up and let it run, with workflows that make it smooth and easy for customers to refer to friends and share offers.
5. GrowthHackers WorkFlow
With so many marketing channels and media types involved, it's all too easy to lose track of marketing campaigns and overall marketing goals, especially when everyone is working from home.
To prevent it, you need a single platform where you can plan and research marketing strategy, set goals, prepare means and methods, and measure success.
Use GrowthHackers WorkFlow to plan content marketing campaigns across channels, including mapping personas, agreeing on keywords, tone, and branding, and tracking KPIs. It's an excellent way to keep all your team members aligned, assign tasks, ensure that everyone is meeting their targets and all assets fit into the overall strategy.
The right tools boost marketing outcomes
Successful marketing is every bit as challenging in 2021 as it was in 2020, but smart businesses that fill their toolboxes with the right tools can keep marketing teams aligned to meet and exceed their goals.
Using SaaS platforms to manage social media, video content, team scheduling, content strategy and referral campaigns enables organizations of every size to hit their marketing targets and raise profitability now and in the long term.