Nov 1, 2022 - Economy

Salesforce CMO: Marketers not worried about economic downturn

Illustration of a one hundred dollar bill on a billboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Marketers see their jobs as being more important than ever as economic conditions turn, a new Salesforce study concludes.

Why it matters: Companies still have to grow during downturns, and "efficient" marketing can bring in more customers during austere times, Salesforce president and CMO Sarah Franklin tells Axios exclusively.

State of play: Consumers are shopping more cautiously amid record levels of inflationtrading down from name brands to store brands, substituting products and foregoing purchases altogether.

  • In light of these new habits, stores such as T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have been "laser-focused on driving traffic and sales with our marketing initiatives" this year through "sharpened [messages that] to reinforce our value leadership position," TJX CEO and President Ernie Herrman told analysts in August.
  • "In an environment where consumer wallets are stretched, we believe it is as important as ever to amplify our value messaging across television, digital, and social media platforms," he added.

The big picture: One in three marketers surveyed by Salesforce between the end of June and early August say budgetary constraints are a challenge.

  • At the same time, 87% of the 6,000 marketers surveyed in 35 countries say their work "provides greater value now than it did a year ago." That's up 10 percentage points from last year.
  • "I don't see [marketers] worried about their jobs," Franklin says.

What to expect: Higher levels of precision when it comes to marketing and promotions.

  • At Dick's, president and CEO Lauren Hobart and her team have become "much more surgical, much more real-time, much more personalized" with digital marketing campaigns so that the company doesn't "have to put the whole store or the whole website on sale."

Our thought bubble: Companies barely had to market themselves during the pandemic when consumers were flush with excess cash and stuck at home.

  • Now some of that savings has been drawn down, and businesses are facing inflation eaten budgets and investors looking for growth that outpaces last year’s record levels.
  • It’s no surprise that brands are in some ways doubling down on digital marketing to attract customers wisely and widely.

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