Jan 30 2023
Megan Reschke

3 Strategies to Help Tech Marketing Teams Weather Unpredictability  


As folks in the technology industry know all too well, the past few years have been a wild ride. Though factors like economic uncertainty, inflation, and supply chain disruptions have affected many sectors, the tech industry has been especially hard-hit. Couple these challenges with skyrocketing layoffs, and advertisers in tech might be left questioning whether working in an industry that’s supposed to be on the cutting edge of innovation is all it’s cracked up to be.

Today, we’re exploring the most significant challenges that tech advertisers are facing, as well as some key strategies for weathering this storm of uncertainty.

What Challenges Are Technology Marketers Facing?

To understand what tech marketers can do to adapt to the unpredictability of today’s landscape, let’s first explore what they’re up against. Though there are many factors contributing to industry upheaval, here are some of the most significant:

  • Digital media complexity: In the last decade, digital media—and with it, the digital advertising landscape—has become increasingly complex. From the number of tools necessary to run a campaign, to ever-evolving consumer tech, to a lack of consistent measurement tools, today’s marketing professionals are juggling a lot.
  • Geopolitical instability: COVID rocked the global supply chain several years ago. Today, continued geopolitical instability (especially related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) has prolonged that disruption. The result? Worldwide shortages of certain materials, many of which have outsized impacts on the tech industry (the global computer chip shortage, for example).
  • Economic instability: Peruse recent headlines, and it’s clear that current economic conditions are fickle. Constant speculation over whether the US will be plunged into a recession has led markets and financial institutions alike to act with caution. The result? Most tech companies are choosing to "hunker down,” and many venture capital investors are pulling back on their startup funding.
  • Inflation: Tech companies are navigating the same inflation-related challenges as everyone else. Some are adjusting by halting planned expansions of operations, while others are implementing hiring freezes. Which leads us to our next factor…  
  • Job uncertainty: In 2022, more than 153,000 tech workers lost their jobs to lay-offs. This is an increase of more than tenfold from the year prior.

Handling one of these factors alone would likely feel overwhelming. But trying to handle all of them at once? It’s easy to see how a tech marketer could end up feeling like they’re stuck in an endless, unbeatable game of Whac-A-Mole.

How Can Technology Marketers Adapt to this Unpredictable Landscape?   

Luckily, there are some proven strategies that tech advertisers can use to adapt to tumultuous times. Though conditions and solutions will differ depending on the type of “tech” you’re in—EdTech, FinTech, software tech, etc.—the following three strategies can make an impact across the board:

1. Address burnout.

Extensive layoffs, increased workload, economic uncertainty: these are just a few of the factors that contribute to burnout. And, if this list looks familiar, it’s because many of these are the same forces impacting the tech industry today.

To say the threat of burnout is real for tech workers feels like an understatement—just take a look at these findings from Yerbo’s The State of Burnout in Tech report:

  • 69% of women and 56% of men can’t relax once their workday is over
  • 62% of tech professionals feel physically and emotionally drained
  • Two out of every five tech workers show a high risk of burnout

Coupled with the level of burnout experienced throughout the digital advertising world? Many tech marketers face an even higher risk of the physical and emotional exhaustion that is characteristic of burnout.

So, what can tech marketing leaders do? First and foremost, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Pretending that burnout doesn’t exist merely leads to—you guessed it!—more burnout. Once leaders acknowledge the risks and realities of burnout, they can take action to combat it head-on.

In the face of short-staffed and burnt-out teams, embracing technological innovations that save your people time is a no brainer. Advertising automation tools that offer features like automated billing, automated reporting, and workflow automation can not only free up time for marketers by reducing manual labor, but also make their jobs more enjoyable by automating tedious tasks.

Leaders can also address burnout by acknowledging the difficulties that tech marketers face. This validation legitimizes team members’ experiences and helps to build trust, which is essential for navigating difficult times successfully. Employers can also provide resources like mental health days, wellness events, or free memberships to health apps (whether physical, mental, financial, or emotional) to help tech marketers prioritize their overall wellbeing.  

2. Revisit the basics.

Even during “normal” times, consumer habits and behaviors shift. And during times of uncertainty? They do so in a big way. Take, for example, the growth of connected TV (CTV) viewership, the rise of TikTok, or the increasing popularity of e-commerce over the past few years. These are just a few of many recent—and drastic—changes in consumer behavior.

While the number and scale of these shifts can feel overwhelming, the best way to manage them is to go back to marketing basics. Specifically, re-invest your team’s time and energy into tracking and understanding consumer behavior, and in using insights from that data to make strategic campaign decisions.

By setting up robust systems to regularly collect and dig into consumer data, tech advertisers can ensure that they are meeting customers where they’re at. Revisiting the basics in this way can help tech advertisers reach consumers, even when the marketing landscape—not to mention, the broader social and economic landscapes—shift.

3. Embrace opportunities to innovate.

Often, part of tracking consumer behaviors is discovering that they’re using their time in new ways. And here’s a hot(ish) take: when things change drastically, people tend to fall into one of two camps:

  1. Cling to the known and resist said change.
  2. Throw everything out the window and start again from scratch.

We hope that, by now, you can tell that we aren’t in favor of stubbornly resisting change. It’s exhausting and can lead to burnout.

But, at the same time, we aren’t fully in camp two. There’s a reason that certain solutions, such as tracking shifts in consumer behaviors, have stood the test of time.

The solution? Marketers should embrace a healthy mix of the two: stay flexible and try new things, but not at the cost of abandoning proven tools. We’ve already addressed the importance of revisiting the basics, which is why our final strategy for tech advertisers is to embrace opportunities for innovation.  

So, what might this look like in practice? For those in EdTech, it might mean experimenting with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology to better connect with students in ways that excite them. For marketers in FinTech, it might mean trying out new(er) channels like CTV to elevate your unique story (and adding in a QR code to quickly connect customers with your products or services). For advertisers in the software as a service (SaaS) field, innovation might include using artificial intelligence (AI) tech like dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to personalize your ads—in real time—based on the prospective customers you’re targeting.

By using consumer insights to make campaign decisions and embracing innovation, tech marketers can meet the moment—no matter how complex that moment is.

Looking Ahead:

To adapt to the challenges of today’s landscape, tech marketers need to be on the cutting edge. As trends shift, news breaks, and intel surfaces, advertisers need to be in the know so they can act flexibly and strategically.

But, as explored earlier, tech marketers’ plates are already quite full. Researching and finding what’s most important in the world of digital advertising can take time and resources that many don’t have.  

That’s where we can help. Each month, our team puts together Basis Scout, a digest of top digital content and news, and delivers it straight to advertisers’ inboxes. It’s a great way to stay informed on all the trends impacting the world of digital advertising, especially for those in the tech industry.  

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