Home Business In turbulent times, tech marketers have an imperative to state the case
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In turbulent times, tech marketers have an imperative to state the case

by uma


Tech marketers are traditionally poor at communicating effectiveness outside their functionbut they must develop a dialogue with leadership if they are to build for growth in a turbulent market, argues Alchemists’ CEO and Founder, Vlad Komanicky

The recession has technology companies spooked. Despite its previously expansive nature, 1Meta recently announced it is to shrink its workforce and reallocate resources in the wake of its first ever drop in revenue. Cutting the fat is a natural response, but this is not about slicing expenditure. 

Technology businesses like Meta must find efficiencies to make sure marketing investment is available for critical functions in the business. In a recession, tech businesses don’t batten down the hatches. Their growth is driven by product innovation and marketing and they need to keep investing their available cash in both.

This is not news.A 2Harvard Business Review article from 2009 has gained notoriety for giving chapter and verse on what marketing teams should do in a recession. Adjusting portfolios, reassuring messaging, and understanding the customer were all on the table, but so too was the unequivocal message: “It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession…can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost.”

Marketers have a crucial role to play

It’s not an easy case to make. Any CFO worth their salt is scrutinising every single investment and cost pressure. Their consumer base is doing the same. Market turbulence is forcing customers to dig deep into their pockets to service rocketing mortgage rates while inflationary pressures impact the cost of living, more than doubling energy costs and sending food costs spiralling. 

Marketers are at the centre of this storm because they hold the keys to reducing that pressure and helping their customers navigate choppy waters. Product innovation, creative pricing structures, adding value and reducing costs are all within their purview. But to do this they need to look internally to make sure they are operating at peak capacity and efficiency, simultaneously. 

What does this ‘work smarter and harder’ model look like? Marketers, in tech businesses especially, need to delve inside their organisation and explore every aspect of their operating model, structure and capabilities not just to deal with the current volatility but in anticipation of what’s to come. The true impact of today’s troubles will only really become apparent from 2023 onwards. 

Pay attention to the stats

It’s a generalisation, but not all marketers are naturally number and finance proficient. Now it is more important than ever that they are comfortable credibly communicating internally about their company’s marketing investment effectiveness. Not just that, but they must overcome their oft-reported reticence to communicate those numbers to the non-marketing parts of the business – finance especially. It’s a skill that needs to be practised if marketers want to be taken seriously. 

Recent research from Marketing Week’s 3Language of Effectiveness report suggests that marketers are primarily sharing performance data amongst themselves. Less than a third (31%) of the brand-side marketers surveyed share effectiveness analysis with the chairman or CEO and only a fifth present their results to the board. 


So, when the difficult conversations come, it is difficult to easily defend current strategy, let alone propose a change of direction.

The multitude of channels, technologies, customer interactions and agency partners can make it a complex landscape to explain to those outside the marketing function. There is no space for shortcuts, they simply don’t tell the whole story. 

Instead, acting in the twin roles of reporting and translating conduits, marketers need to take critical figures like ROI, revenue and customer acquisition data and report them to the business in a meaningful way. This means delving into the relative merits of short-term versus long-term strategies, their respective spend and expected return. It also means developing an ongoing dialogue. Speaking at the Festival of Marketing, former CMO and Tag CEO Andrea Vidler said, “you don’t want any surprises.” The news may not always be good, but that in itself is an insight, and a platform for change. 

There is no cookie cutter approach to how marketing should be delivering its metrics to the business. Marketing Week’s data was notable for its wide spread of different data points that mattered to leadership. To build an insight platform for the business to optimise against, it really is a question of delving into what matters to the individual operation –  and to continually review this. Needs change. Often. 

However marketers ultimately choose to help their organisations meet the challenge of tumultuous times, cutting prices at point of sale or cutting costs at a strategic level, proving the effectiveness of decisions big and small is where they will gain the support of their board. With many potential cost savings to make, the view from the top is that everything is on the table. It is the marketer’s job to make sure that it’s optimisation and innovation, not rationalisation, which will be key to having a ‘good recession.’



  1. https://www.yahoo.com/news/meta-reportedly-putting-workers-onto-214253173.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAMTZUE86v-Rq6d9AEcIbV2B6GR8DlGkbfH6lMf4EXS4RcFZlGZr9Iyw1EsYW3sLTcmoq9VIKZrlwSL24b9is0mijiN42Up0-MZ9SbMjUiiYyUxxkGuH2N3FPBCzqOGW-gDhN0c6nNw8oH3ECjuyZALtTIm6XvzF6Ig0kvrpMTQfP
  2. https://hbr.org/2009/04/how-to-market-in-a-downturn-2
  3. https://www.marketingweek.com/marketers-effectiveness-message/?utm_medium=email&_hsmi=2&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-98wv6kUUG2XQMmMUGg9E_VoZ89vUrK5QWmaArl9wn-0DH7YtRSOy1ANaE5tSn8usMVV1epFXanVU0SamZnbtNeawL03AO9xxgc_E4CYpd0FCF7QKQ&utm_content=2&utm_source=hs_email

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