Swirling uncertainty about the economy has business leaders thinking that leaner times could be on the horizon. Yet marketers are optimistic. Although the Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020 shows a slight decline in marketing spend, CMOs are continuing to invest in the core capabilities needed to compete. By all appearances, marketers are prepped to accelerate into the next turn.
A “turn” is Gartner vernacular for a moment of uncertainty. In sports such as speed skating or Formula 1 racing, turns can be unpredictable due to poor visibility and dangerous conditions. There’s an instinct to slow down. Those who lean in or speed up instead can emerge in the lead on the straightaway.
The same is true in business. When faced with uncertainty, leaders might halt investment or cut costs until signs are clearer. But Gartner analysis of firm growth during and after the 2008 economic downturn shows that the companies that resisted the urge to cut costs across the board, and instead continued selective investments in core capabilities, recovered sooner and grew faster in the following decade.