Five Ways Martech Companies Play the Long Game Given an Expected 28% Drop in Marketing Spend


The Coronavirus pandemic has come with its set of challenges and learnings from a societal, personal, and business perspective. It’s been challenging to keep new business growth due to economic uncertainty and frozen sales opportunities.

And now that Forrester expects a possible 28% drop in marketing spend over the next two years, some of the 8,000+ martech companies may be (inefficiently) scrambling to overexert themselves in preparation.

However, what I believe will keep martech businesses growing during the remainder of this pandemic – and is good practice for the long haul as well – is to truly double down on existing strengths, tools, and assets. 

Here are five ideas to conserve resources and maintain momentum using what you already have: 

  1. Clear out the backlog and clutter: Channel your inner Marie Kondo, and go back to your longstanding to-do list. Finally give attention to those less pressing items that were put off for months, maybe years, but can drive productivity over the shorter and longer-term. Our company has been methodically ticking off backlog items in sales operations, finance, customer success, and other areas making us more efficient, and even unlocking new opportunities for growth. 

    Perhaps you have some basic infrastructure improvements that you’ve been meaning to make to your technology. Use this time to address those smaller priorities and enhance your business or products for when sales start to pick up again. 

  2. Reduce some of your organizational debt: Just like in technology development when we incur technical debt, in organizations we generate organizational debt. Take this time to redefine and streamline your processes, clean up, and unify your data so you have better insights into your customers, products, and business as a whole. Taking a step back when processes or resources change allows you to take a clean sheet redesign approach to your core business process. For example, our team recently used our own customer data platform (CDP) to organize, de-duplicate, and clean up all our sales and marketing data across silos, so we can run more relevant, targeted outreach, with better ROI.
  3. Get to know your tech: After investing a good portion of budget into the right tech solutions for your sales, marketing, IT, and more, demands and other constraints might have limited your teams from fully-utilizing the platforms you pay for. From Slack to your company’s CRM system of choice, use this downtime to become an expert on the key tools in your toolkit, or deepen knowledge on lesser-known tools. Even companies like Marketo and Microsoft are seeing this opportunity and making advanced training for their products available for free
  4. Focus on existing customers: Sales might be slow and our usual face-to-face sales opportunities are limited during a pandemic (to say the least); but, that doesn’t mean your hands are tied. As companies make the most of what they already have, this includes existing customers. Brainstorm with sales, marketing, customer success, and others to find creative ways to grow relationships or increase loyalty across your customer base. Our team has started creating and sharing a series of tutorial videos to help customers be more comfortable and interested in using new features of our platform. 
  5. Double down on innovation: You’ve hired the best of the best and you’re producing what you consider your best. But, could it be that your workers, if given the chance to innovate, could enhance products and processes even more? During downtime, make it a company-wide priority to invest in innovation. Launch a company-wide hackathon or friendly competition that gives employees a chance to analyze, experiment, and come up with brand new solutions. Our company recently did this and found that with a few hacks, our product could become even more useful to our internal team, and to our customers as well. 

No matter how the next two years play out, I believe this pandemic has reminded us – business leaders and employees alike – that when challenges arise, so do opportunities. What gives room for those opportunities to blossom is a company culture that inspires freedom, creativity and growth. Employees should be encouraged to try new things and then celebrated for their creativity and solutions. 

No matter how your martech company decides to make the most of what it already has – be that focusing on your products, tools, people or customers – the ultimate goal is to inspire passion, even in challenging times.