Marketers: Make 2024 Sparkle (…Yes, With Less)

Don’t dread the aftermath of budget cuts! Marketing Cake gives you the gift of growth ingredients to make next year full of cheer.

POV: You’re A Marketer Doing More With Less in 2024

Oh hey, that’s you! And me.

So, you’re still doing marketing, you’re just doing … less. Okay, sure, less budget. Well, less budget quickly becomes the spiral of less experimentation, less channels, less headcount, less MQLs, less SALs, less Opps. But what do you still need? Pipeline. And what do you need to generate pipeline? Money—no, wait. Something else…

People.

All we really need is people. Not dashboards, not metrics, not overinflated PPC campaigns, not empty promises of qualified leads, not “future-proofing,” not AI-enabled programmatic LLMs, not chatbots freaking out in their own endless loops of fragile hallucinations, and it’s certainly not “the reduction of granularity through Fullistic account restructuring” (courtesy of a Google Ads deck, DM me).

You don’t need to invent an entirely new set of business-speak to meet the expectations of B2B SaaS in 2024. I’m going back to the basics. And yes, we all need resources and capital. But we’ve got what we’ve got, little or a lot, and here are a few of the things you can do. 🎅🏻 🎄

Entertain Your Audience

So, notice anything strange with social media lately? The heat death of legacy platforms is upon us as market entropy claims would-be legacies… tl;dr the internet is really boring now.

People want people more than ever. Build a community. Start a Discord. Give away all your best tips for free. Un-gate everything in a joyous liberation of the countless hours a marketing writer toiled on content, with only a semi-invested SEO agency to keep them afloat upon the endless sea of keywords. Stop thinking about keywords.

Do something interesting. The algorithms aren’t listening and the hashtags are censored for your safety and the sameness is overwhelming. So, it’s time.

It’s time to make a fool of yourself, in your own brand, your own way, and see who follows. Speak in an authentic language and those that hear will listen. And the Word of the Year™ bestowed to us by the reigning experts of culture was authenticity, or something, but I don’t think there’s anything less authentic than telling people to be authentic, which is why I am begging you to be interesting at worst and entertaining at best. It’s the least we can do while courting customers.

Good Tidings to Revenue Teams

Sometimes, doing more with less means… doing less. Channels, agencies, vendors & entire teams are cut. If this is happening to your company, I promise it also did to your prospects. Deal cycles are longer, more decision-makers join the POC and Closed Won is a lot farther away.

So, smart marketers don jaunty hats and play Secret Santa during what will become a very temporary slowdown. Deliver the most amazing gift to revenue teams: stay ahead of a pipeline shortage in H2 2024 with minty-fresh content.

Stocking Stuffers 🧦

  • ROI calculators (downloadable or interactive)

  • NEW case studies with 2023 numbers!

  • Reports, market research & competitor intel

  • Nurture + cold email copy & CTA refresh

Greeting Cards 💌

  • Transform customer data into compelling graphics

  • Deliver a stellar End of Year campaign with CX

    • Psst! Prime customers for case studies next year

    • Psst! A little goodwill now helps NRR :)

  • Thank investors for their continued support

Check Your ROI List Twice

Marketing teams can generate 40% to 80% of pipeline and still struggle to prove value. Sometimes the revenue really isn't there, but what if it's a communication problem?

As marketers, we spend a ton of time developing value propositions that match personas but don’t bring that same attention to internal teams. Shift the perception of marketing from a creative pursuit to the pursuit of creating value.

Analytic platforms are great, but you’d be amazed how many teams still rely on spreadsheets. Export some CSVs and power up your Apple pencils to dive deep into the data. Whether it’s you and some notes on napkins or a whole marketing ops team, look at what you did this past year and craft a story. Then sell it. Marketers should be framing problems and solutions constantly.

Take the work you’ve done and repurpose and repackage the numbers for your C-Suite, revenue teams and hey, the whole dang org. Make it fun and digestible: a few sweet little crumbs and a pleasant aftertaste of sugar cookies and ARR. A quick slide deck, short informal video chat or presentation at the next All Team of the year—it’s up to you to give a big impression of the work marketing does, the complexity involved and the results our constant experimentation drives.

Tune Up Your Tech Stack

Third-party cookie changes, 10 million domains tossed into the wind, shared IP addresses sending spam in your email service provider, oh, and have you checked SPF and DKIM lately?

Those were just a few of the big technical marketing stories in 2023 and I’ve got it on good authority (mine) that more upheaval is soon to follow. Why? The Internet today is more reminiscent of Netscape Navigator and endless cascading interstitials than anything else. That can only mean more interruptions for go-to-market teams trying to reach prospects.

Brush up on your technical implementation skills, go over configurations and talk to your MOPS and DevOps teams to find out to ensure plenty of silent nights with crisp, clear data.

  1. Domain

    1. Did your domain name registrar change?

    2. Domain health and domain authority

    3. Internal and external email deliverability

    4. Own + warm multiple domains for outbound

  2. Website

    1. Lead routing

    2. Form fills

    3. Broken links

    4. Copyright date in footers [if not automated] (web + emails)

  3. Conversions

    1. Use UTM codes on all URLs

    2. Unique UTMs for partners + advertisers

    3. PPC conversion tracking implementation audit

  4. Analytics

    1. GTM + Server Side Tagging

    2. GA4 (because none of us finished this in 2023 🤣)

    3. Content analysis for conversions (manual or with a platform)

    4. Measure channel mix and effectiveness

  5. Reporting

    1. Update the CRM (+ sales)

    2. Partner efforts and metrics

    3. Pipeline and deal health

    4. Performance by territory

Throw an Unforgettable Party

When all else fails, be the person that shows up with a huge bag of gifts and plenty of cheer. ‘tis the damn season to gather, laugh, cry, mourn and illuminate the events of the past year. Invite old friends, reach out to people you admire and start to build your own network. Partnership teams are a core competency as tough times make us realize we're all in this together.

So celebrate with those folks and bring more into the fold. Don’t forget your investors, either; many are willing and ready to help. Quick virtual Happiest Hours, in-person meetups, private Slack groups or even a retreat if you’ve got the budget—just set a date, time and theme.

Virtual

  • Catch up with far-flung friends over video chat

  • Celebrate your team’s wins with an awards ceremony

  • Include partners, customers + everyone that helped

IRL

  • Start niche meetup groups (content marketers, demand gen, MOPS)

  • Run promos to bring food donations & get free drinks

  • Use local vendors and suppliers for extra goodwill 🫶🏻

Hybrid

  • Exclusive, value-add content for virtual participants

  • Fill breakout rooms with an actually lively chat

  • Personalized pings / SMS / chatrooms for engagement

Don’t stress about guest lists, ROI, attendance counts, or any of that nonsense. A simple gathering to grow with colleagues and friends is going to endear your brand to the market more than any stupid “last chance” discounts that’ll return in another three months anyway. And, at the very least, throwing a party is interesting and entertaining.

Sugar & Spice

Gather round, o’ humbled, meager marketers and reminisce on yet another year dropped into the trash bin. There were quite a few lumps of coal and very little sugar to balance out the heat many were thrust into.

So before we get ready to do it all over again, and despite the list of tips above, enjoy the rest. Dim the computer screen for the next few weeks. It’s okay. 2023 has been a year, friends, and 2024 is only a few short nights of sleep away.

In these tiny days of small sunlight and long quiet nights, I suggest you get lost in the prettier kind of electric lights, the ones topping trees, not emitting from screens. Wonder at the warmth of our breath as we expel our spent sentences and send off wishes to the stars. Take your moments to rest, and then prepare to return to another year of … doing more with less.

Before then, though, Santa likes cookies. Maybe bake some cookies? 🍪 🥛 🎅🏻 🎄

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Kristin Ides 🧁