Few marketing leaders follow contingency plans when disruption hits

By our News Team | 2023

Having a plan is a good first step, but following through on that plan when disruption occurs is what really matters.

Eighty-one percent of marketing leaders have established a contingency plan to respond to disruptions, according to a survey by international insights company Gartner. However, just 21% of respondents said they follow these plans, as marketers weather the storm of continued economic and geopolitical uncertainty.

The survey of nearly 400 marketing leaders conducted in November and December 2022 revealed that 44% of digital marketing leaders who enacted a contingency plan during an economic disruption event exceeded the company’s year-over-year profit growth.

Marketing Strategy

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“With ongoing economic and geopolitical disruption, contingency plans are more important than ever,” said Greg Carlucci, Senior Director Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “Having a plan is a good first step, but following through on that plan when disruption occurs is what really matters.”

Nearly all respondents reported adjusting their marketing budgets in response to the current economic environment.

Increasing spending more likely to increase profit

Gartner says positive budget adjustments are an effective way to counter disruption: Respondents who increased spending relative to their contingency plan were nearly twice as likely to achieve year-over-year profit growth than those who decreased spending or did nothing.

In contrast, just 5% of respondents decreased their spend, reflecting marketing leaders’ increased appetite for budget to deliver against their organisational objectives.

The three most utilised digital channels for B2B marketing organisations executing their 2022 marketing strategy were email marketing, social advertising and SEO – highlighting the effectiveness of these channels during times of disruption.

Analysing the study results, marketing industry news website Marketing Dive commented: “Gartner’s findings suggest marketers are more willing to spend to achieve their organisational objectives during an economic downturn. However, many still hold back on enacting a contingency plan, which could undermine efforts to reach goals during a period of disruption, per the report. 

“Gartner’s survey is the latest indication that increasing budgets amid economic disruption may help to stave off negative effects. Last year, Analytic Partners found that 60% of brands that increased media investment during the last recession saw ROI improvements.”