Times are bad. And in bad times, marketers do two things, spend more, or spend less. The wise spend more in bad times. Why?
The recent 2016-2017 survey from leading analyst firm Gartner shows that a majority of CMOs (chief marketing officers) will spend MORE on marketing, roughly 12% of company revenue.
In bad times, some marketers spend less, or stop spending altogether. Their logic might be that since sales revenue is down, they must “cut corners”, and marketing seems like the place they cut. While accountants may not understand the importance of marketing and its relation to brand building, consumer mindshare, and beating the competition, there is no excuse for marketers to think so.
Your Greatest Opportunity
In bad times, the landscape may be brutal for all, but it has immediately transformed into a vast landscape of opportunity for marketers. Why?
- Your Competition is shying away.
Your competition may well spend less, thinking of cutting corners in marketing, thereby reducing their mindshare and media footprint, and allow you to fill in this window of opportunity to seize new customers, and to enhance your brand and mindshare while your competition hides away in the caves.
- More creative opportunities to beat your competition.
There will be more creative opportunities where agencies, media owners and production houses will create that were not available in exuberant times. For example, media owners may launch hybrid products that combine broadcast, online and event programs for a fraction of the cost, allowing you to reach a lot more people than if you were to spend in single channels.
- More partnership options.
In bad times, you will have more options for partnerships, where agencies and media owners will be hungrier for business, and can spend more quality time with you and on you. This is especially important for growing brands, or for brands that may not command big million-dollar budgets to be desirable for large agencies and media owners. For brands that have sub-million marketing budgets, you have more choices to work with quality agencies and media owners who will go the extra mile for you, offer real field experience (rather than sending greenhorns to do your work), and treasure your relationship.
Your Greatest Weapon – A Smart Website
The Gartner study also shows that marketers are spending a significant amount of their increased marketing budget on websites.
This is EXACTLY as we keep advocating to clients. As the organic reach for social networks keep decreasing (to negligible amounts), your social campaigns are not effective unless you spend a fair bit on advertising. And yet, the primary way for customers to find you is through your website. Can your website be found (SEO/SEM)? Can your website engage? Is your website compatible and speedy on mobiles? Are you video-savvy? Talk to us if you need help with a smart website.
We have seen from first-hand experience, of companies that stopped spending on marketing in lean times, and quickly extinguished in the market. They are sad examples of the harsh reality of business. If your customers do not see you in the public spaces (through the media, through programs, through events, etc), you do not exist. And if your customers think you do not exist and stop buying your products, you will really cease to exist.
So in bad times, spend more, as the majority of wise and smart global marketers know. It is the fastest way to beat your competition, and to increase sales.
Dr Seamus Phan is the Head of Content and CTO at McGallen & Bolden. He is an expert in branding, marketing, communication, leadership training, crisis management, and entrepreneurship. This article may appear concurrently on his blog. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2018 Seamus Phan et al. All rights reserved.