A new benchmarking study of business-to-business vendors in North America shows very different responses to the recession. 44% of firms will cut marketing while 31% will increase by more. Former Gartner country manager Ally Motz writes that “the average spend changes for the entire group was actually slightly positive, increasing by 0.4% – especially on pipeline acceleration and client retention.” $1bn-plus firms were most likely to cut their spending. Lighthouse´s free IDEAL Audit can help AR teams to realign their resources to new priorities.
The good news for analyst relations professionals and other marketing communications managers is that cuts are concentrated in advertising (down 17%) and events (down 14%). Marcomms budgets will fall just 6%, prompting the Canadian Marketing Association to “question, however, whether this investment should be reduced at all; for example, leveraging the value of public relations in international markets can be particularly cost-effective given time and travel considerations.”.
AR managers should pay heed to the areas where spending will grow the most: accelerating the pipeline; and increasing client retention.These are two key areas of leverage explored in our IDEAL model.
- To accelerate the pipeline, AR managers need to identify, and focus on, analysts most likely to generate sales recommendations and advise buyers. Sales teams need to be trained, and be given information by AR and market intelligence teams, to help them pull clients towards them.
- AR can improve client retention by ensuring that analysts in mature business areas are not neglected, and that resources swing from areas no longer generating growth towards those generating profits. AR needs to ensure that positive analyst coverage is reflected in client communications.