Others still are leaning into typical demand gen motions. Investing more in email marketing, testing to find sweet spots in paid acquisition, continued investment in SEO (and driving efficiency in that channel through AI). We have owned content again as well.
High Level Overview of Strategic/Budget Plays
There are a few ways to think about budget and company growth strategy right now, on a very high level (also borrowed from Jason Lemkin over at Saastr).
- Cut all spending, do free tactics
- Spend what you can, but not as much as before
- Stay bullish, grow aggressively
Cut all spending, do free tactics
Focus the marketing budget on Free / Very High ROI channels.
This can work well in the short term. Spend is cut, and you can still drive growth from inbound leads with high intent, and you can harvest opps from your existing list of prospects.
The issue is that, in this case, growth slows pretty rapidly. You don’t drive any growth from the people who you could have captured, if you had jumped into their orbit (i.e. ads, sponsorships) vs them coming inbound. So a whole chunk of the market stops hearing about you.
So you’re not engaging anyone that’s a medium or low intent prospect - only the high intent ones.
Spend what you can, but not as much as before
So what’s a better approach if you can spend something (even if not at the same rate as before).
Pick a fixed budget that is the most you can handle…to keep the train moving on those medium and low intent prospects.
As a leadership team, get super in the weeds on the budget for the entire business and figure out what you can handle spending on sales and marketing. Give functional leaders that set amount and see what they can do with it. Even if the budget gets chopped greater than 30%, you can still direct that spend toward the prospects who wouldn’t have otherwise come into your funnel, so that you don’t entirely lose touch with the large segment of the market that’s interested but needs some convincing to buy.
It feels risky to target those folks because they’re more expensive to close than the high intent prospects, but the beauty of SaaS is that they’ll stay around, upsell, and LTV:CAC just goes up and up.
Stay bullish, grow aggressively
This is like the good old days - trying to take over a category by selling to all possible niches, and accepting that ROI will be close to zero in the process. If you have capital, there’s no downside to doing this.
You may be in a combination of these positions right now. Maybe you’re bullish on one channel, taking a big risk that you believe in, and are staying conservative in the rest. Maybe you’ve cut out all spend except for a couple things that are reliably driving growth.
In any case, the boat that we’re all in is that leadership teams want marketers to demonstrate that their work is driving returns. And they want us to budget more cautiously than before. On the flip side, companies are still trying to grow, and it’s marketing’s job to make that happen. And any work you do that drives opps for sales, or a new customer for the business, is still good. Even if it feels risky to advocate for budget, if what you’re doing is resulting in customers that stick with the business for multiple years, it should be worth it.