Navigating a perfect storm: how lean marketing can help


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Ecommerce brands are being forced to streamline their budgets due to economic pressure and uncertainty. For many, marketing can often be one of the first departments to suffer budget cuts. In fact, according to a recent survey by SALESmanago, 74% of marketers say they have already cut – or are cutting marketing costs – from their budget in light of the looming recession.

This is where lean marketing becomes a marketer’s holy grail. In short, lean marketing optimises resources and finds the most cost-effective way to deliver the best results. Sixty three percent of CMOs we surveyed believed marketing could be more optimised in their organisation. Despite this, many brands have been slow to adopt lean marketing.

With fears that customer loyalty will drop in a recession, lean marketing and prioritising customer intimacy will be essential.But how can marketers achieve this?

Use data to boost customer retention

Data analytics are the key to customer intimacy. Our recent survey found that half of marketers say they have some visibility on customer data, but feel it could be better. Identifying common trends and learning about customer habits can help brands customise their marketing techniques.

During economic turbulence, customer loyalty is fragile. If a brand can show that they can prioritise a customer’s needs during a difficult time, they are likely to gain their loyalty. Collecting data across many platforms to personalise the customer experience can help build a deeper trust and ultimately boost customer retention. Brands can reach their target audience and attract the right customers by using data to truly understand what their audience needs.

In a market this crowded, attracting and retaining customers has never been more difficult. Knowing your customers better than your best friends will therefore be crucial.

Use AI to prioritise sustainability and strengthen customer intimacy

AI can help guide marketing campaigns across all platforms in order to create customised customer journeys and increase customer intimacy. AI can digest large amounts of data to create unique experiences, allowing brands to create the personalised experiences that consumers look for today.

Using AI tools such as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) can also increase efficiency and sustainability. Without CDPs, the amount of data floating about is often doubled and its use, management and storage requires electricity. Given that digital technologies make up nearly 4% of GHG emissions, with that number expected to double by 2025 – digital marketing campaigns can have a greater negative effect on the environment than you may think.

Instead, brands need to embrace zero-party data in order to reduce the carbon footprint across the board. Embracing Economic, Social and Governance (ESG) goals is highly important, and this is a step in the right direction. According to our survey, 42% of marketers think customer loyalty will decrease in the next 12 months so using past data and CDPs to contribute to a sustainable environment, build customer intimacy and predict future trends is crucial in the current economic climate.

Use automation to your advantage to maximise results

An optimisation tool can gather and manage zero and first party data in order to accumulate customer habits across the relevant sources. This can reduce the costs and time needed to collect information on customer needs.

During a recession, budget cuts can mean businesses are often hesitant to spend money on expensive marketing strategies. Forty percent of CMOs in our research said they still struggle to prove the ROI of marketing to the CEO. But if the process can be sped up through automation, CEOs are likely to see a return on investment at an accelerated rate as the data is collected at a faster rate than if it was managed manually.

Quick results are important during a recession and can pave the way for a shift in attitude towards marketing in the coming years.

The bottom line

With revenues dropping globally and a recession creeping upon us, marketing budgets are often the first to get cut. But instead of neglecting this part of business, current times should mean a greater chance to get closer to customers, encourage loyalty and get well positioned for better times.

Adopting ‘Lean Marketing’ to be more efficient, more effective and more sustainable will be a smart move as we tackle these turbulent times head on. With this approach, brands can gather insight into what the consumer really cares about while cutting costs in the meantime.

Greg Blazewicz
An entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in marketing and management Greg has worked in marketing agencies in New York and London, was CMO of Comarch, one of the largest IT companies in Europe (2000-2006), and CEO of Interia, Poland’s 3rd largest Internet portal. In 2011, Greg founded SALESmanago and has been running the company since then. He is a marathon runner, academic lecturer, startup mentor and author of the popular book “Marketing Automation. Towards Artificial Intelligence and Hyperpersonalization”. Greg was a finalist in the 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year award.


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