We know that the decision-maker still has a set of initials that includes C and O. But the middle initial has changed. It’s now the CFO who is steering the ship.
In some cases, decisions are limited to where to cut expenses, and no budget item is off-limits. Others know that demand-side strategies are critical to future success and are asking their marketing folks to justify their spending (as they should) with a rigorous business case.
Based on what history tells us, the scrutinizing spenders and their organizations will come out stronger on the other side of the recession. As will their marketing departments, as they start to align their efforts with, and speak the language of, the CFO.
Here are seven tips to build CFO love and come out stronger on the other side of the downturn:
Sharp focus: is your positioning different, desirable and responsive to the times (providing more benefit value for the dollar); and are you in sync about your highest priority audiences.
Eliminate costs: scrutinize how you can cut costs through product or service; the costs that drive up your prices, but don’t really provide recipricol value to customers.
Prune the portfolio: kill the products that sap resources but don’t meaningfully contribute to both brand strength (e.g. customer value, differentiation, profitability, brand share, future potential) and segment attractiveness (e.g. size, growth/trend, opportunity to differentiate, profitability).
Everything in alignment: everything you do enhances or detracts from building brand reputation and relationships. Review each step of the customer journey (from investigation, to initial outreach to after-sale service) relative to your brand promises, values and story, and ensure there’s a coherent message coming out the other side.
Think Blue Oceans: what can you do to carve out a stronger competitive position, or to create new market space that makes competitors irrelevant; look across the entire delivery system to uncover how you can change the game; and what you can do to eliminate, reduce, raise and create to deliver both differentiation and value.
Maximize digital. How can you maximize the efficiency and engagement potential of this channel; optimizing your website; through email and mobile; integrating with CRM programs.
Be Social. Turn naysayers into prospects, prospects into consumers, and consumers into fans by engaging them on their terms. Build trust through open and honest conversations, and timely responses. The hard costs are minimal, yet the returns are substantial.
Measuring ROI. Agree up-front what, and how, you’ll measure; and spend wisely through your media mix so that you can course correct based on outcomes.