It’s the ultimate question that every executive, every CMO, every owner needs answered, and while some of us older Millennials and Gen X are laughing about the reference to the acclaimed Wendy’s commercial with the little old lady peering into the bun - it really is time to get into the meat of it.
We’re seeing marketing agencies everywhere encounter the SAME song and dance from all their clients: “We’ve just gotta cut the budget. There's a recession happening." Agencies are scrambling to write content about why cutting the marketing budget of all things during a recession is counter intuitive (we agree, for the record). They’re trying to explain to clients how it churns salespeople, how it annihilates your pipeline, how you can lean out your efforts without slashing your budget like a freakin’ WalMart rollback… but what some of them AREN’T doing? They’re not seeing how they’re failing to prove their own ROI.
It’s an unfortunate conundrum as an agency, sometimes, isn’t it? We’ve painted ourselves into a corner putting against a print ad, “We’ll take your marketing dollars FURTHER! Don’t toss away thousands on that print ad or billboard with no measurable impact! DO INBOUND MARKETING! You can SEE EVERYTHING…”
And then they did. They saw all the analytics. All the data points. And once they stopped being impressed by organic traffic growth and that one viral reel and some sales here and there, they really started to see… we can waste money in inbound marketing too, and we’ll demand more than we ever did from that silly little magazine ad we totally forgot about while our marketing teams stress more than they ever have to figure out a way to measure the results of their efforts.
Have we shot ourselves in the foot demanding clients shell out hundreds or thousands a month on a marketing automation tool that actually (gasp) holds us accountable?
For us, around here, as HubSpot technical architects, the answer is a resounding HELL NO. We engage with HubSpot customers and agencies alike to learn - WHERE IS THE ROI and help them show the client that with a little adjustment, investment and reallocation, you can truly optimize your marketing spend and PROVE ROI.
We found the beef!!!!
We’re here to answer the question all the agencies are asking…
Why are my clients cutting marketing budget during a recession and HOW DO I STOP IT?
We have a few answers for you:
They’re paying too much for marketing when they really need to be paying for data architecture first.
Elephant. In the room. Here it is. Hi. We said it. As the agency model continues to die (this is a whole other blog post) and Elite agencies charge hundreds of dollars more per hour while continuing to farm out the work for pennies on the dollar with little to no oversight on delivery, we’re here to tell you that the agency model is dying. And if we don’t evolve and become true business process consultants - we die with it.
Hear me out:
Your people are slowly seeing they can make more money going directly to the client on their own. The pandemic changed a lot. We started using Zoom. People started realizing they don’t need offices to do amazing work. They bailed on business casual in favor of hoodies and jeans. They started to understand that the people behind the scenes doing the work were capable of having the same conversations that large agencies were having and they could work directly with the client. And the savvier clients? They’re catching on, too.
As an agency, you should see this. Because your job is not to prevent it from happening but to evolve beyond it. We have seen how deep we, as HubSpot Partners, have to go into business processes with clients to make sure that deals can close. It’s why HubSpot introduced all the different Hubs to begin with. Our value is evolving to optimizing business processes, and we need to see that now so we can not only keep customers in HubSpot, but retain our clients, help our employees get paid more and stop inflating the true cost of marketing by holding onto our Mad Men way of doing things. We don’t need to charge less, we just need to let go of a portion of our business model and pivot into the direction of architecting and optimizing processes and data to really service their bottom line. I hate to break it to you, but in some instances, that’s gonna be reallocating the budget in a way that works for them.
They’re not seeing the results, because their reporting isn’t customized.
We discussed in our blog on Marketo to HubSpot Migrations, that one of HubSpot’s weak points is reporting. Data architecture needs to be configured in a HubSpot portal from the outset, not reactively. Not only will a HubSpot customer pay more to store contacts and data they don’t need, but they’re not going to see the items they want to see that support their bottom line.
Just a few questions that sales managers, executives and other might have that aren’t getting answered:
- What deals are coming in?
- Where are they coming from?
- How are Sales & Marketing Hubs feeding one another to move prospects closer to a buying decision?
- Is the data clean and organized inside their portals?
- Are they losing deals and money because the right processes aren’t in place?
You know this to be true - you can get a company all the leads they want. But if you can’t keep them warm, nurture them and seamlessly play between sales and marketing, deliver service and operations and bring everything back full circle - you’re not going to retain that customer, and a lifetime customer is even more valuable than a new customer. How can we see this data if we don’t set our clients up right from the start? We have a prospect that we had a lot of conversations with recently about how their shopping cart wasn’t configured properly when they migrated to HubSpot. They’ve been paying for HubSpot for over a year with lackluster functionality and almost zero ability to see which customers are their most valuable customers and which efforts are driving the most repeat purchases.
You wouldn’t drive a car blindfolded. Why did you sell and build this marketing machine only to toss your clients in with a wave? “Godspeed, guys.” Meanwhile, they have no map, they don’t know where they’re going, they haven’t laid out their journey along the way and they don’t even know what the mile markers look like.
But somehow we can’t figure out why they’re cutting budget and bailing on HubSpot?
Is it too harsh of a conclusion to come to that poorly guided customers could be close to the root of the reason that 500 HubSpot employees were laid off earlier this year?
We have a responsibility to HubSpot, to the customer, and the world of Inbound Marketing at large to make sure that our portals perform. It’s why we get paid the way we get paid, but time and time again we’re seeing customers let down and left without any direction and we’re sick of cleaning up the mess, guys.
You don’t have a HubSpot architect on your team.
You don’t build a house without an architect, so why are you selling HubSpot portals without an expert that can take a deep dive into business processes and data architecture BEFORE you sell a HubSpot Portal? We’re not trying to make you feel bad, we’re trying to make the case for change.
We see your pain. We feel your pain. But we can’t help you unless you take a good hard look at the processes that you’ve put into place to understand - HOW CAN WE DIFFERENTIATE OURSELVES IN A POOL OF PARTNERS THAT LARGELY ALL DO THE SAME THING?
You can offer ROI. You can offer the right implementation from the start. You can bring on and partner with technical experts that can completely change the game from the get go and situate your team to find the results that they’re working hard to deliver on behalf of the client.
Without the infrastructure to truly show your impact, when budget cutting time comes, you’re gonna be the last thing they want to cut. But you have to make the decision to pivot the model that has always worked in honor of the model that will serve you (and your clients) moving forward.
It’s time for a change.
It’s time to assess your processes, and it’s time to add in a HubSpot architect into the lineup.
Do it now. Before they reach out. Save the client. Optimize the revenue. Optimize the spend. Be the hero.