Finding the ROI Upside of an Economic Downturn

Finding the ROI Upside of an Economic Downturn

Warning signs of a recession are looming across the world. As consumers adjust their spending to adapt to inflation and higher interest rates, many brands and advertisers are following suit. Inevitably, as a marketer, you will soon face (or already are facing) budget and resource slashes, while being asked to minimize the impact on growth and revenue.

Although it sounds extremely challenging, it is not impossible.

Marketing during an economic downturn presents particular challenges. It’s not a knee-jerk reaction to simply put all marketing on hold and pause advertising. On the contrary, it requires attention on operating your marketing system at optimal efficiency and making the right cuts while investing towards the future.

But how do you make a start? Well, one very easy option is – talk to Ematic!

Ematic’s expertise in digital optimization

Digital optimization is our day-to-day. As you may have known, Ematic offers a wide arsenal of MarTech tools and full-funnel marketing services, so that we have a high ground advantage to help any business optimize their whole digital ecosystem. Whether it’s migrating technologies to lower cost solutions, examining marketing strategies that are wasteful, taking over from high-priced agencies, or complimenting your marketing team’s capacity to ensure their productivity, we have plenty of experience in systematically eliminating wasteful spend without disrupting ongoing growth plans.


The three pillars of digital optimization

For those who are interested to know more, here we summarize the three key pillars you should review to optimize your marketing system:

3 pillars of digital optimization

MarTech Stack Optimization

MarTech investments make up a quarter of marketing budgets on average. However, the latest survey from Gartner reports that marketers utilize only 42% of the breadth of capabilities available in their MarTech stack overall, down from 58% in 2020. The under-utilization means you are overspending on something unnecessary for your actual use. This problem is particularly prominent when you are using an all-in-one integrated suite. When it comes to digital system optimization, MarTech investment is an area where you can oftentimes find some fat to trim.

martech satisfaction survey


Ask these questions:

  • What features do you buy for the platform and how many have you used? Do you use your platforms to the fullest?
  • Is there a cheaper, more flexible alternative that fits your actual use and need?

Do these:

  • Implement an audit of your MarTech stack deployment and usage
  • Leverage professional agency like Ematic for overall diagnosis and help determine the best vendor approach
  • Ingest right knowledge and skills to drive adoption/utilization

A MarTech optimization example: Cupshe

Cupshe, a female swimwear brand, previously ran their CRM on Mailchimp in some countries and Klaviyo in some others. This put them in a pricing disadvantage since they couldn’t aggregate the send volumes to effectively drive down the unit cost. In addition, both platforms didn’t support in-app or push channels to achieve real cross-channel CRM.

To overcome these issues, we helped Cupshe move to Iterable, a cross-channel CRM platform with rich features, added our monthly platform management service and achieved cheaper unit cost per send. It was a triple upgrade with even lower total cost than before!


Marketing channel efficiency

Most marketing teams structure ownerships by marketing channels. However, even when everyone is working hard, optimizing each channel doesn’t always sum up as optimizing the whole portfolio to its best. Sometimes you find you are over-communicating the same message to the same group of users; sometimes you realize your paid channels accidentally cannibalize your organic channels (common mistake in SEO & SEM).

On the other hand, the demise of 3rd party cookies and the rise of data privacy make it harder to rely on paid advertising as the main growth driver.

Ask these questions:

  • Do your channels work in silo or do they create synergy?
  • Are you effectively capturing the audience and moving them down the funnel?
  • Have you seen a diminishing result in paid ads simply using demographic or interest data?
  • Have you developed a 1st party data strategy to empower your marketing?

Do these:

  • Establish data groundwork to collect, use data and understand your marketing attribution
  • Develop a cross-channel, integrated marketing approach driven by 1st party data
  • Strengthen existing relationships and build upon customer loyalty

Process & Team resources

When the economy declines, consumers tend to tighten their belts. The decrease in demand imposes a shift of business mindset from “move fast” to “stay focused”. In such a situation, marketing leaders need to take a broader perspective on how they think of their in-house teams. It is natural to think of using the existing team to cover more work for cost-saving purposes, but you might risk drowning your team in the grunt work and leaving them little time to focus on real value-add, which impedes team productivity and refrains the growth you could have maintained.

Ask these questions:

  • What should be your key 1-3 big bets to drive growth?
  • Are you able to move your team nimbly to support those focused areas while keeping the lights on?

Do these:

  • Adopt an agile approach and streamline the process to deliver value more quickly and minimize waste
  • Regularly review your team resource, skillset, productivity and identify the gaps
  • Allow your team to focus on fewer but more impactful bets while providing enough support to take the tedious execution off their hands.

A team resource optimization example: Uniqlo

Uniqlo has a lean digital marketing team in each local market. From early on, they understood the value of hiring external experts to compliment the capacity and knowledge of their in-house teams.

They started leveraging Ematic to manage and optimize their email campaigns in the Philippines in 2018. With the collaboration, they were happy to save their internal team hundreds of hours from execution per month, so soon it was introduced to other SEA markets like Indonesia, Vietnam.



Your ROI is our focus. Ideally, we aim to introduce our services without any increase to your total costs.

In the following series, we will talk deeper in each pillar. But if you cannot wait, why don’t you talk to us now? We are happy to help you look into your current situation, for free!

Get a free consultation


Finding the ROI Upside of an Economic Downturn

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