Noel Martin

Noel Martin
Senior Project Manager

Faced with tighter budgets, reduced headcounts, and softer sales, CMOs and digital commerce leaders need to make the right investments into digital marketing campaign operations to keep the business healthy.

What are the 5 key strategies CMOs can leverage to survive and thrive through a downturn?

1. Leverage AI capabilities and automation

In tighter budgetary conditions, it’s common to delay or drop projects that fall outside of core operations. But these short-term measures can hurt long term business health. Today, with the power of automation and AI, much of the campaign production can be scaled without significant cost.

While ad spend may need to be cut, you can still leverage a variety and testing of creative, and keep your digital experience, customer journeys, social media, email, and SEO projects fresh.

AI can replicate expensive photo shoots, cutting out the need to plan, travel, hire costly photographers, models, and digital artists.

Generative AI supports rapid production of web banners and email assets, posters and billboards, web content and copy, and copy translation. AI automation can streamline processes like PDP copy upload and updates, search and category merchandising and analytics/reporting. The key is to start small, as AI is still nascent. Find low hanging fruit and chalk out a plan to implement and scale up gradually, while keeping track of on-ground learnings during deployment.

2. Build flexibility into campaigns

Flexible digital marketing campaigns can easily be adapted to real-time conditions and customer behavior. Considering the time, it takes to plan, produce, and push any digital initiative, having contingency and fallback plans ensures your efforts aren’t derailed in the event of “black swan events” such as a global pandemic, a featured brand facing a PR crisis, event cancellations, or a delayed product launch due to production or supply chain issues. Similarly, the ability to pivot mid-game if a campaign is underperforming ensures you stay on track to hit target KPIs.

Preparing segmented versions of your campaigns is another strategy. For example, be ready with retargeting creative based on categories viewed, products in the cart, or other customer attributes and behavioral indicators. More granular and relevant messaging typically converts better.

While in the past such flexibility may have been cost prohibitive, today’s generative AI tools help you scale production, so long as you have the right strategy in place.

3. Build flexibility into your team

Hiring full time team members is costly and can lead to excess capacity in slower periods. Outsourcing is a more elastic and efficient way to support year-round digital operations as production tasks can be ramped up or down as needed, without the overhead or risk of taking on headcount. If you’ve recently cut staff, outsourcing can help you backfill lost roles during critical periods.

Why outsource digital commerce marketing operations?

  • Specialized expertise - Outsourcing lets you tap into talent outside your core competencies, without the need to train and supervise them in-house. This frees your full-time staff to focus on their strengths and maximize their own productivity.
  • Cost savings - Compared to building an on-shore, in-house team, outsourcing can save you 30-40% on salaries, benefits, and overhead costs.
  • Flexibility - Ramp up or down based on your needs and budget. You can quickly adjust service scope without the challenges of recruiting and downsizing staff.
  • Advanced tools and tech - Reputable outsourcing partners have access to the latest-and-greatest digital tools and technologies, including analytics, no-code/low-code and generative AI. Consultancies that also specialize in IT and development can also help integrate these technologies seamlessly with your existing stack.
  • Reduced risk - Partners that specialize in project delivery have proven processes and workflows that help ensure deadlines are hit on time. Without them, agencies simply don’t retain clients – this “skin in the game” takes pressure off internal management. There’s also less impact when talent leaves a project or team, with a roster of specialists to fill their place quickly.
  • Global reach and support - Working with off-shore teams can backfill your on-shore time zone, ensuring your digital operations are “always on,” 24/7, no matter how broad your global presence.

4. Find efficiencies in your process

When it comes to workflow, make sure to:

  • Document your current process and map out touchpoints and decision points.
  • Identify all platforms and steps to execute given tasks.
  • Label all required manual steps and automations, and how long each step takes on average.
  • If approvals are required at any step, identify them as stop points.
  • Set up a monitoring dashboard and reports that track how efficiently work is flowing.

Then, look for areas where people or steps can be consolidated:

  • Where, at each point, can data or assets be completed in one step versus several?
  • Can automation replace any manual steps?
  • What creative assets can be templated or scaled with generative AI?
  • Are any stakeholder reviews merely “nice to have” versus “must have,” and regularly serve as a bottleneck?

Technical solutions can also create new efficiencies. For one large footwear retailer, the Infosys Equinox Digital Commerce and Marketing Operations team built automated scripts to find null search results and perform SKU checks, dramatically cutting down manual work.

Finally, look at your martech stack and see where integration can support the team to work faster, eliminate duplicated manual entries, or share data more seamlessly. For example:

  • Content management and digital experience platforms (DXPs) can help streamline content publishing without IT
  • Search and personalization engines support automated merchandizing rules
  • PIM systems centralize product information in one place, making it accessible across teams
  • Social media management tools enable you to pre-schedule and repurpose content across networks

5. Keep digging trenches

Regardless of near-term conditions, your business is in it for the long haul. Keep investing in evergreen content such as buying guides, SEO articles and video. A balanced mix of short term, immediate win and long-term planting ensures you’re well positioned for the future.

Want to learn more about how Digital Commerce and Marketing Operations can help your business leverage these strategies with 40% cost savings?

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