6 Cost Optimization Tactics for Marketing Leaders

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February 20, 2024
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B2B marketing teams are constantly under pressure to do more with less. Now more than ever, marketing leaders are expected to prove bottom line impact and ROI, all while on a shoestring budget. 

Accordingly, understanding how to optimize B2B marketing costs effectively is increasingly important. For one, cost optimization tactics ensure that you’re eliminating wasted marketing spends. 

In addition, it encourages the reallocation of otherwise wasted resources to more efficient tools and efforts. This blog explores 6 actionable cost optimization tactics for B2B marketing leaders to leverage this year.

6 Cost Optimization Tactics For Better Spend Control

Marketing costs may be divided into three types: 

  • People costs: Costs associated with, well, people — copywriters, designers, paid ads specialists, SEO experts, PMMs, and other members of the marketing team and beyond.
  • Vendor costs: Costs associated with the tools and technology adopted by the marketing team, including CRMs, marketing automation platforms, analytics platforms, lead generation tools, etc. 
  • Operation costs: Costs associated with frontline marketing efforts such as paid advertising, offline events, direct marketing, and so on.

This article focuses on cost optimization tactics for the latter two types of costs: Vendor and Operation. Let’s dive right in!

1. Do your research

Few things hurt more than purchasing a shiny new tool on an expensive, annual contract only to later experience misaligned requirements or failure to adopt. Accordingly, it’s crucial to do your research before incurring the cost of new vendors and tools. 

This research should consider internal and external factors before making a purchase decision. 

Here are a few important points to consider:

  • Does the tool solve for our team’s exact use-cases? 
  • Does the tool integrate with our wider techstack?
  • How does this tool compare to its competitors? 
  • Will the team use this tool or do they prefer an alternative? 
  • Will this tool scale well as our business continues to grow?
  • Does this tool meet our security and privacy requirements?
  • Does the tool’s ROI justify its initial costs and subscription fee?

Albeit time-consuming, conducting thorough research before investing in marketing tools will help your team optimize costs and maintain a lean technology stack in the long run. 

2. Make the most of lifetime deals and seasonal offers

SaaS products, including marketing technology vendors, frequently offer promotional deals on their products. It’s worth looking out for seasonal offers (Holiday specials, Summertime specials, etc) to secure a cost-effective deal for tools you’re in-market for. 

Occasionally, vendors will also offer lifetime deals. That is a one-time payment for a tool that’s otherwise sold on a subscription basis. Here are a few common marketplaces to score lifetime deals:

  • Appsumo
  • Pitchground
  • Dealify
  • RocketHub
  • SaaS Mantra

SaaS procurement vendors such as CloudEagle have SaaS buyers who collaborate (and negotiate) with SaaS vendors to secure favorable deals for their customers. This is another tried-and-tested approach to reducing vendor costs. 

3. Leverage partnerships & collaborations

If you’re an early-stage start-up that has raised funding from a VC, you’re likely part of the VC’s start-up cohort. Typically, SaaS start-up cohorts are built of similarly sized companies from aligned domains. 

These cohorts can be a tremendous source of network and mutually beneficial barter trade. CRM software, for example, can exchange its products and services with a marketing automation platform for no additional financial cost. This tactic sources marketing technology virtually for free, helping both teams add new logos. 

This collaboration needn’t be limited to start-up cohorts. Several SaaS companies today establish community brands and Slack communities (E.g., Pre-flight by Rocketlane) where special product deals and discounts are regularly offered. It's definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

4. Regularly audit and optimize your Martech stack

The previous three tactics help optimize costs before/during the martech vendor procurement process. But more likely than not, your marketing team already has a pretty extensive tech stack currently in use. It helps conduct regular audits to identify and eliminate wasted spending from retroactive investments.

CloudEagle’s 2023 SaaS spend trends and insights find that the marketing department leads in terms of the number of apps used and comes in second (after the engineering team) in terms of spending. 

While this isn’t a damning stat in itself, alarms start to ring when you realize that marketing is also the department with the most unused apps within a year of buying. Scary!

All of this is to say that you might want to start inspecting your current marketing technology stack for redundancies. First, start at a vendor level: which tools are actively used? Which tools are used occasionally? And which tools are never used? Create a list of the latter and sort by cost. Review each of these tools and cull the ones that don’t make sense to invest in now. 

Once this is complete, examine the usage of active tools. You’ll likely realize that you’re paying for empty seats or unused overages. Work towards eliminating these, too, so you’re left with a lean, mean martech machine.

Needless to say, this process is a lot of manual work. This is where CloudEagle steps in to help with a lot of heavy lifting across usage tracking, offboarding, and more. 

5. Monitor & optimize operational costs

So far, we’ve explored cost optimization tactics focusing on vendor procurement. These next two tactics explore optimizations related to marketing's operational costs. 

Ad optimization is nothing new. The ability to analyze numbers to make sense of what works and what doesn’t is the cornerstone of digital marketing. The difference between good and great optimization, however, is granularity

Rather than settling for CPCs and CTRs alone, it’s worth digging deeper to identify which marketing touchpoints result in the right kind of conversions. Advanced marketing analytics is an indispensable tool to help weed out extraneous marketing spends and reallocate resources towards operational expenses that drive ROI. Here’s an example:

Say you’re targeting two keywords with search ads: “recruitment software” and “employee onboarding software.” Recruitment software has a higher search volume and receives more clicks and leads than employee onboarding software. 

Upon initial inspection, you might assume that “recruiting software” is the right keyword to invest more in. However, if you look closer, you might realize that while “employee onboarding software” receives fewer clicks and leads, the quality of those opportunities matches your ideal client profile far better, ultimately leading to a greater pipeline impact at lower costs. 

At the end of the day, this bottom line pipeline impact and ROI are what matters most. This principle applies across the entire marketing organization: keywords, campaigns, channels, and tools.

6. Retarget. Retarget. Retarget. 

Casting a wide net across your entire addressable market is costly, time-consuming, and ineffective. Rather than adopting spray-and-pray tactics, this final cost optimization tactic strongly recommends retargeting be the primary strategy for your paid marketing campaigns. 

Account intelligence and analytics tools such as Factors.ai help B2B marketing and sales teams identify and activate high-intent companies already engaging with your company. Here’s what a powerful flow could look like:

  1. IP-based account identification: on average, only 2% of website traffic reveals itself via sign-ups. Use an IP-based account identification tool to de-anonymize the remaining 98% of companies already visiting your website via inbound marketing. 
  1. Qualify target accounts: Not every account visiting your website will fit your business well. Filter down identified accounts based on firmographics (industry, size, geography, etc.) and engagement to create a list of high-fit target accounts.
  1. Automate audience retargeting: Finally, configure workflow automation to push qualified accounts for retargeting on LinkedIn, email, and more. 

This way, rather than buying ads targeted towards cold accounts that may or may not be familiar with your work, you’ll ensure that ad spends are directed towards brand-aware and potential in-market buyers. That’s a lot of savings.

Learn how Factors.ai empowers account-based retargeting workflows and more


And there you have it! 6 proven tactics to optimize marketing costs. 

Marketing has long been touted as an expensive but unavoidable business expense. This is not necessarily true. If approached with tact, marketing costs may be optimized to the point where, ultimately, marketing transforms into a powerful revenue-generating function. 

To achieve this, cost optimization tactics should be adopted throughout the marketing process: perform exhaustive product and market research, make the most of deals and partnerships, conduct regular marketing audits, improve operational spending, and reallocate budgets toward the right audiences. 

All in all, optimizing martech and mar-ops costs is often a low-hanging opportunity to improve ROI effectively. 

Written by
Joel Platini
Content Writer and Marketer, CloudEagle
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