As the pressures and demands on marketing teams worldwide grow year upon year, it seems budgets are going in the opposite directions.
At least that is the impression Gartner’s Annual CMO Survey presents. In 2021 marketing budgets plummeted to their lowest percentage of overall company revenue on record at just 6.4% – significantly lower than 2020’s 11%. In addition, Gartner also found that:
- No industry averaged a double-digit percentage, with consumer products and goods (CPG) the highest average at 8.3%
Obviously, this has no doubt been influenced by factors like the global pandemic. But, there is no set timeline for how long the economic effects of COVID-19 will remain. This, and other global events yet to play out, may be a situation that marketing teams may have to contend with for a while – which is problematic considering the challenges they face in the current landscape.
A need to be agile to consumer trends. Maintaining a frequent stream of consistent content across multiple channels. Future-proofing processes against external disruptions. Preserving employee wellbeing and ensuring they have the tools to do their jobs as capable as possible.
That’s a lot of plates spinning at once, and with less budget than ever to keep them going. Now knowing where to focus your budget is critical; you cannot afford to waste it on short-term fixes.
You need a solution that will bring widespread benefits to your marketing efforts, empower your employees and maximise the full potential of your budget. In short, you need Brand Activation Management (BAM) – our area of expertise at Papirfly.
Here, we cover 4 key areas that marketing teams must re-evaluate in the face of restricted budgets, and why investing in BAM makes a big difference.
Strategic, creative and brand
Strategy, creative and brand development should be among the core focuses for any marketing budget. Without these, your brand experiences no innovation or growth – it is left in limbo, or constantly putting out the same material regardless of how the world changes around it.
This therefore is an area that requires ongoing investment, and Gartner’s research backs this up. Their surveyed CMOs report that an average of 11.3% of their marketing budget into programs and operational areas is devoted to brand strategy. This is the third largest segment behind digital commerce and marketing operations.
But, with budgets tighter than ever, the knock-on effect of maintaining investment in strategy, creative and branding means it has to be taken away from other areas. Production levels decline. Employees are let go. Campaigns are restricted. More advanced marketing techniques are taken out of the equation.
So, marketing teams are left with a choice:
- Restrict their spending on strategy and brand development, hindering innovation and creativity in your organisation;
- Find a way to cut down the costs of other processes so strategy and branding can still receive the attention they deserve.
Where BAM makes the difference
BAM can be a crucial difference-maker in allowing you to devote as much time, focus and resources (if not more) to your strategy and branding as you would have with a larger budget.
By enabling your team to streamline and simplify the production of assets across all marketing channels, this will save a significant amount of time and money that can be dedicated to continuously evolving and adapting your marketing strategy, creative direction and branding. This helps to ensure it doesn’t go stale, so you keep up with ever-changing customer trends and demands and don’t fall behind your competition.
We’ll talk about production more closely in the next section. But BAM’s capacity to support your strategising extends even further:
- It provides a central, online repository to house all key documents and files relating to branding, marketing strategy and creative direction
- The brand guidelines you spend time crafting during your planning sessions are easily accessible by your team members, ensuring they aren’t ignored and that consistency is maintained across all channels
- Campaign planning gives you a birds-eye view overall marketing activity throughout your organisation, empowering you to set up, monitor and adjust campaigns with total ease and complete control
With consumer expectations reaching all-time highs, prioritising and evolving your marketing and brand strategies are more crucial tasks than ever. BAM allows you to maintain that focus in the face of tightening budgets.
Content production represents one of the biggest overheads for marketing teams worldwide. With more channels available than ever before for brands to engage their audiences and build visibility, taking full advantage of these has traditionally required a great deal of time and resources.
But, with budgets shrinking, it is becoming a real challenge for marketing teams to uphold the same level of production through conventional processes. Sacrifices have to be made somewhere, whether that is limiting the number of channels utilised and how frequently content is created for them, or budget being pulled away from other areas.
Additionally, Gartner’s survey has illustrated that marketing teams’ reliance on agencies to bear the burden of content production is noticeably declining.
So, with agencies now less available to pick up the slack on content production, how can internal marketing teams continue to populate their channels with the same frequency, consistency and quality with less budget?
By revolutionising their approach to content production…
Where BAM makes the difference
One of BAM’s primary benefits is the ability to ramp up the efficiency of content production, while simultaneously allowing you to bring more of this work in-house.
In a matter of minutes anyone in your organisation, regardless of design skills or experience, can produce studio-standard, perfectly branded assets across all mediums. Social media posts, videos, digital banners, emails, posters, brochures – all of these and more can be produced faster through BAM.
How is this possible? Well, it’s because BAM:
- Harnesses intelligent, custom-built templates, which can be instantly adapted to fit the dimensions and requirements for all of your digital and print channels
- Utilises templates with locked-down elements, ensuring that there is no risk of going off-brand regardless of who is creating an asset
- Empowers your teams to use pre-programmed templates with set design, text and database parameters, so high-quality designs can be produced with ease
- Has dedicated language and localisation features so that assets can immediately be translated and adapted for your international markets
- Helps you get organised with an in-built DAM system – allowing you to store all approved assets in one location, to be shared, reused and adapted by your teams worldwide
By using BAM, marketing teams across the globe are seeing the time, cost and effort involved in production shrink significantly, allowing them to overcome tight budgets and even ramp up both the number of channels they use and how frequently they post to each of these.
In fact, BAM by Papirfly™ users save an average of £421,000 per year on production fees alone, as well as 297 days’ worth of production time. That is an extraordinary amount of time and budget you save to be reinvested into other areas. Especially when you consider that you only have to produce 20 assets per month for the solution to pay for itself.
Furthermore, with your employees more capable of producing exceptional assets in-house, this helps your team handle the fact that there’s less budget available for agency support. This way, you can devote your limited agency budget on important high-value projects and strategising, rather than let this go to waste on routine production.
In short, BAM puts the power of content creation into the hands of internal marketing teams. They can produce content faster and more cost-effectively with no drop in quality, enabling them to make full use of their marketing channels and get campaigns to market sooner.
Restrictions placed on budgets will likely have knock-on effects on the composition and dynamics of marketing teams. Personnel may be let go due to the lack of funding or their roles becoming obsolete, while at the same time the remaining employees will be expected to maintain standards and spur growth despite these new limitations.
This could lead to a very precarious situation in many organisations. Employees being asked to work harder and under greater levels of pressure is unlikely to inspire job satisfaction. Performance levels could drop due to a lack of motivation, and talented people may walk.
If you are having to streamline your marketing team in response to budget cuts, investment in technology will be crucial to maintain performance and help those remaining to fulfil their role as capably as possible.
Where BAM makes the difference
As noted earlier, BAM works to make life easier for its users by minimising the time and effort it takes to produce on-brand assets. Rather than designers and other employees spending hours at a time creating, revising and adapting materials, this can now be done in a matter of minutes, with proofing and amends happening in real-time.
This upskilling through technology has an overall positive effect on team dynamics:
- Employees feel empowered to perform their roles with maximum efficiency and effectiveness
- They feel like they are directly contributing to the development of their brand
- They feel like their organisation is investing in them by training them to use this technology
- They benefit from completing their work in a shorter space of time, allowing them to maintain a healthy work-life balance
Furthermore, by being a completely digital and online platform, BAM can be set up to be used from anywhere at any time. This can allow an organisation to institute flexible or remote working opportunities for their marketing teams, which may boost morale, increase productivity, and make your brand more attractive to potential candidates.
Even if you are in the fortunate position to be growing your marketing team despite shallower budgets, empowering your team with digital tools like BAM helps create a more dynamic work environment, as well as enabling you to push more budget towards recruitment, onboarding and other areas of marketing.
Digital advertising and media spend
Bucking the trend illustrated by Gartner, the IPA Bellwether Report indicates there is a big boom anticipated for digital advertising spending, with global ad spend expected to grow by 12.6% and reach $665bn by the end of 2021.
This demonstrates how high a priority marketing teams and brands generally are placing on this form of advertising. Gartner does reiterate this by noting that a massive 72.2% of total marketing budgets is being devoted to pure-play digital channels.
Therefore, the onus is on teams to maximise the potential of their own digital advertising, to help them stand out on these saturated channels against competitors – who will likely be looking to harness these as much as possible too.
Where BAM makes the difference
Again, BAM can help brands achieve this goal and accelerate their presence on digital ads by speeding up the process of creating and sharing these assets. By making production more efficient, your team can become more ever-present on these highly sought-after channels than competitors still relying on conventional processes.
Particularly at a time where marketing budgets are being stretched to their limits, this is an ideal opportunity for brands to ramp up production when others are lacking the resources to dedicate to this. If you have the technology like BAM that makes this attainable, you can steal a march on the competition and make a larger mark on the digital landscape.
Moreover, the speed and reliability of BAM enables teams to react quickly to events and trends that resonate with their audience. This enhanced agility empowers you to produce campaigns built around these trends, engaging both new and existing customers with up-to-date, relevant content.
At a time where digital advertising is a top priority among marketers worldwide, anything you can do to gain a competitive edge in this setting will improve your prospects tremendously.
Take marketing budgets further with BAM
With marketing budgets increasingly limited, it is important that teams focus on the right areas to invest in that will make the biggest difference to their overall performance.
As we have hopefully demonstrated here, making BAM a priority for next year’s budget will have a significant knock-on effect on your whole department. By streamlining the time and costs associated with production and enabling your team to do more in-house, you can free up your budget for other essential areas, from strategy and brand development to digital advertising.
Make this quarter count – discover the incredible potential that BAM by Papirfly™ offers and how it can enhance the potential of your marketing budget like never before, get in touch with our team today or book your free demo.