A round-up of the top takeaways from our Fireside Chat series with leaders in Work Tech
Nothing exposes opportunities for improvement like a good, old-fashioned downturn. As the whole Work Tech industry teeters on a knife’s edge, we are all still out here just showing up every day and doing our damn best with what we’ve got. Am I right?
Is the pressure of lower budgets, less workforce, falling retention rates, and higher ROI goals going to keep us down?! I mean, maybe (no judgment here). But thankfully, we know a lot of really smart people who felt it was only fair that they share their insight and wisdom with us — and with you.
Here are the top takeaways.
Guest: Mike Carden, Co-Founder of Joyous
Topic: Startup Marketing During a Downturn
- The competition is changing. Companies are more bootstrapped, and those businesses that were raining investment money have gone away. What does that mean? It means you’re up against people working hard and really efficiently.
- The conference table with a skirt: That is where brands go to die.
- Instead, do what feels right. Break the script. If there is nothing else you focus on in marketing, let it be how to break the script of what’s been done time and time again before.
Guest: Donald Thompson, CEO & Co-Founder of The Diversity Movement
Topic: The Importance of DEI for EX and CX Success
- Integrate DEI at your brand strategy level. This means that DEI is part of your authentic voice. Work with your CMO on how to create that authentic voice, so conversion rates and stickiness both go up. This helps DEI drive business results.
- A downturn creates opportunities to become a market leader. Thought leadership never goes out of style (in any economy).
- You can make adjustments to brand, marketing, sales, product, and customer success while still delivering on your CX vision.
Guest: Jeff Gelinas, President, Recognition and Engagement for Engage2Excel
Topic: Marketing During a Downturn with Customer Experience
- Customer Experience must adapt to different market realities without breaking the CX vision (Hello, 2023!).
- Companies that have excellent CX perform well in multiple scenarios, not just when their entire market segment is performing well. Setting the foundation now will save your future self.
- But you simply can’t create a great CX without first creating a great EX.
Guest: Charles Bedard, Managing Director, ERGO
Topic: Sales and Marketing in an Economic Slowdown for Private and Emerging Market Leaders
- Allocate more towards customer branding!
- Verticalization is the name of the game. Carve out a market niche and stick to it.
- What you’ve probably heard before is true: If you’re comfortable with what you’re spending on marketing, you probably aren’t spending enough.
Guest: Julie Norquist Roy, CMO and Independent Board Advisor
Topic: Marketing During a Downturn: Lessons Learned From a Tech Startup Marketing Guru
- Think outside the marketing silo to consider the entire customer experience, and develop a holistic approach for success.
- Companies need to live the story of their brand proposition; customer experience, visual brand, and marketing need to be tightly intertwined.
- Companies in today’s climate should keep a keen eye on metrics, profitability, and other meaningful metrics. Come back to the fundamentals, making sure you do not drop the ball on your company’s brand and innovation.
Guest: Cameron Magee, owner of avad3 Event Production
Topic: How to Make Your Event Dollars Stretch in 2023
- People are excited to be back at events face-to-face, but you still have to think about the virtual audience; hybrid events have huge benefits, offering in-person and virtual opportunities for attendees.
- By keeping events small and nimble, you can make them more exclusive — sponsors also have a great opportunity to reach both in-person and virtual audiences.
- If you need to scale down, you can trim the days, make the running of events more efficient, and find practical ways to reduce costs.
Guest: Don MacPherson, Entrepreneur and Podcaster, 12 Geniuses
Topic: Marketing During a Downturn; Influencer Marketing, EX, and CX
- The time to market is during a downturn, it’s a great time to build relationships with customers and employees. Establish trust with people, and the wave will come back stronger. You will have positioned yourself for success. If you stop innovating and investing during a downturn, you will miss your mark. When people pull back, that is the time to dive in.
- The pandemic has rewired society. There has never been a better time to start a company and focus on employee experience. Double down on relationships, with customers and employees.
- When people have a great experience at work, they are going to work harder to deliver for their customers, and they’ll be happier and more energized at home with family and friends and in their communities.
Guest: Rob Catalano, Founder, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, WorkTango
Topic: Beat the Downturn with Customer Experience in 2023
- Things are shifting in the market, life has changed a lot. When what you have done in the past collides with an economic downturn, it becomes a defining moment for innovators to establish market share.
- Since the pandemic, business has more confidence to execute change and leverage technology. Now, companies are more on the leading edge when it comes to change when they see it can work.
- Build an employee experience where people can thrive; if companies don’t, they will miss out on talent.
Guest: Julie Knight-Ludvigson, CMO, Unit4
Topic: Marketing Lessons for 2023, From a Battle-tested CMO
- There is a holistic approach to customer experience — are companies getting it? Are we understanding the long-term customer relationship? And what does our journey look like in year 5 or 6? We must see a full relationship picture versus a transactional business exchange.
- When you talk about big investments that require significant integration, there is an endless timeline — we sell something, offer value, training, migration and follow-up service — long-term relationships with our customers.
- In 2023, marketing professionals should think about the fundamentals. As marketing leaders, our role is continuous internal communication and employee experience as a way to bring feedback. Given all of the changes we have faced, how do we keep our people engaged? We have got to push ourselves harder to keep valuable employees on board and be willing to share experiences.
Guest: Patti Fletcher, CMO, Limeade
Topic: Marketing During Uncertain Times for Well-being Companies
- These moments of great change also tend to go hand in hand with economic downturns. If you track every significant downturn, there is often a technology shift at play. What we are seeing is not indifferent to other economic downturns; customers are asking for help understanding tech and answers to, “What business process do I need to fix or replace?”
- We, as marketers, know that perceptions are a reality, and a lot of the noise is manmade. We are in the middle of disruption — fight it or accept it.
- If you have a solid customer base, double down on that group. How do we keep our customers engaged? By meeting them where they are. If you have deals that are stalled, don’t stop talking. You’ll need to stick with it.