Navigate Mid-Year Budget Cuts With These Comms Strategies

July 3 2023

Both for in-house communications teams and PR agencies, it is not uncommon to face a mid-year reduction in the communications budget. The cuts can be a result of various causes, such as economic conditions, a shifting focus or a strategy review. When it happens it is very challenging for the comms team, especially if there are annual targets and KPIs. How to stay on track and achieve targets despite reduced resources? We give some ideas below in a few simple steps.

budget cuts
Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

Review strategy, targets and KPIs 

The first step in dealing with a reduction in the communications budget is to revisit the strategy. Examine all aspects: the target audience, the channels, the messages – and question their feasibility. Do you need to adjust to achieve the desired results with fewer resources?

In addition to the strategy, review the goals and KPIs. Focus your efforts on the goals that are crucial for achieving the KPIs. Need more information on how to develop KPI’s? Listen to this podcast.

Choose the right channels: embrace digital

It is important to focus on the channels that offer the highest return on investment (ROI). In this category, digital dominates. Digital platforms offer cost-effective avenues to amplify your message and reach a wider audience. Leverage analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of your digital campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize your budget allocation.

Furthermore, when it comes to rapid content creation on a budget, brands can use flexible content creators, stock imagery, design, and AI to produce engaging content faster and cheaper. By applying these approaches, brands can effectively navigate the competitive landscape, cut their way through the clutter, and maximize the impact of their marketing efforts without losing sight of their financial resources. Find out how to tackle content creation in times of budget cuts here.

Leverage earned media

Earned media, such as press coverage and positive word-of-mouth, can be a powerful asset when budgets are tight. Cultivate relationships with journalists and influencers in your industry – or hire a PR agency to do that for you – and focus on securing media coverage through compelling stories and thought leadership.

Monitor and optimize

In times of budget constraints, it’s crucial to monitor the performance of your communications efforts closely and communicate them to the client. Also communicate to your customers what the implications of the budget cut are, so that their expectations are also adjusted where necessary.

Regularly analyze key metrics to identify what’s working and what’s not. By understanding the impact of your activities, you can make informed decisions on where to allocate your remaining budget for maximum return on investment.

Adapting and innovating to stay on target

With a possible global financial recession and 58% of marketers expecting flat or reduced budgets for 2023, it’s vital to be prepared for budget constraints. While 68% of B2B marketers anticipate stable or increased budgets, overall limited resources remain a reality, according to the Marketing Manager Mindset Report 2023. Marketers must reassess strategies, prioritize revenue growth and lead generation, and optimize budget allocation. Emphasizing cost-effective channels like organic search is crucial. Proactive planning and flexibility are key to succeeding with constrained budgets. You can read more about how marketing managers approach the global recession and how they’ve adjusted to it in this article.

So, what to do?

When faced with mid-year budget cuts, communications teams must adapt and find innovative ways to stay on target. By reassessing objectives, streamlining operations, leveraging digital channels, cultivating partnerships, and optimizing campaigns, it’s possible to make the most of limited resources. With a focused approach and creative strategic thinking, you can navigate budget constraints without compromising your communications goals.

Frédéric Francois
General Manager, Two cents
20 years in business and still enjoying it. Especially my team and our customers!
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