Marketing budgets are most at risk during economic downturns, but Gartner, Inc. has identified six marketing processes that can be automated to drive revenue and cut costs, maximizing marketing budgets and return on investments (ROIs). Gartner advocates the use of six key marketing processes to help marketing drive revenue, cut costs and drive ROI, thus justifying its spending.
Retaining high value or potential high-value customers is essential in difficult economic times. Gartner advises that organizations calculate the profitability and value of customers, identify those they want to keep and develop retention programs based on their customer segment and identified needs. This includes understanding how a customer may be affected by the economy and developing programs to support them. Event triggers can proactively identify when a customer’s circumstances may be about to change and staff should be trained and empowered to recognize this. Gartner predicts that in 2009, companies that develop effective retention management processes will reduce churn of profitable customers by at least 10 percent within six months.
By expanding marketing’s role in the lead management process, companies can improve lead quality and ensure higher conversion rates by sales. Gartner advocates leveraging marketing insights, such as using marketing data and content to augment leads prior to sending them to sales. Gartner expects companies that automate lead management processes in 2009 will increase revenue by at least 10 percent within six to nine months, despite the uncertain economy.
The Web is a cost-effective way to reach customers and one of the easiest channels in which to measure marketing ROI. Gartner advises companies to identify and prioritize three to four online marketing initiatives and measure marketing ROI, increasing budget programs for those delivering high ROI. Gartner foresees that in 2009, companies that invest in new online marketing processes will drive at least a 10 percent increase in revenue within six months.
4. Creative Production Management
Automating creative production or product launches reduces time to market and improves resource allocation and efficiency, cutting marketing costs without cutting programs. A marketing resource management (MRM) module for creative production management can incorporate calendaring, tasks, project management, business rules and workflow, freeing up time for more-creative work. Gartner predicts that in 2009, companies that automate creative production will save 15 percent or more of their creative advertising budgets within three to six months.
5. Marketing Fulfillment
Marketing fulfillment solutions (often a module of MRM) provide 24/7 access to collaterals via portal, print-on-demand and procurement capabilities, helping companies save on paper, shipping and physical storage costs. Gartner expects that in 2009, companies that invest in marketing fulfillment solutions will eliminate 5 percent or more of marketing waste within three to six months.
6. Financial Management
In a difficult economy, improving marketing’s accountability is required to convince the finance department of the value of marketing’s programs. Gartner suggests creating a standard set of planning, budgeting and financial management processes for the marketing organization that, in turn, include processes for monitoring and alerting, thus allowing for ongoing financial management and reallocation of funds. Gartner predicts that in 2009, marketing organizations that invest in financial management capabilities will see fewer budget cuts.