When a business is hit by an unexpected drop in demand (much like we’ve seen over recent months) quite often the knee jerk reaction is a cost cutting exercise. After all, if the revenue isn’t coming in, you don’t want your cash to keep flowing out.
Unfortunately, what we witness time and time again is marketing spend being reduced or the marketing function being cut back altogether. Every time we see an influx of quality marketing professionals back on to the job market, we despair at the fact that decisions at higher levels are going to have a lasting impact on the business, most likely setting them several steps back from where they want to be.
We are into the sixth month since the UK had to lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak which coincides with the typical time where businesses start to plan and focus on the year ahead. We want to make business owners stop and think before they commit to any further marketing cuts because it’s actually marketing that will help you to recover.
Reason #1 – It’s a short-term fix that causes long term damage
If you only take on-board one of the reasons we’re sharing, make sure it’s this one. We understand that your cash flow is being squeezed and possibly you’re heading into an extremely uncomfortable financial space BUT you can’t keep your focus solely on the short-term. There are always peaks and troughs in demand but if you always react with applying the brakes to marketing activity when demand falls, you’ll potentially slow down your business to a point where a huge injection of energy is needed to get you back to where you were.
Is that really the position you want to put yourself in, just to save a bit of cash in the short-term? Think about how far you’ve come in your business. Times are tough right now (believe us, we aren’t denying that fact!) but you need to think and act strategically, rather than with gut emotions.
Reason #2 – Now is the time to remain visible
Let us give you an example. When lockdown hit, restaurants were closed. There was no competition as legally no one could open. All restaurants could choose to cut marketing activity as they wouldn’t get any immediate return of people through their doors, and many of them did. But the ones which didn’t, despite the fact they couldn’t sell at the time, remained visible.
It was an opportunity for them to show their support for the NHS staff who were continuing to battle and save lives, to remind everyone they were taking responsibility for keeping their staff safe, and to remind their customers that they still cared and looked forward to welcoming everyone back when it was safe to do so. And when it was safe, these brands were the ones which were top of mind. People knew they were open, that they still existed. The ones which went quiet had to work harder to tell everyone they were still there, especially with newspaper headlines informing us daily of ‘big names’ going bust. Losing visibility and credibility could be much more costly in the long-term.
Reason #3 – Go back to basics and make your budget work harder!
If budget is a real issue for your business, then make sure you are smart about where the cuts are made. You need to thoroughly evaluate where marketing spend has delivered the biggest return and protect that budget!
Look back at your marketing campaigns – can you re-purpose or reuse material which engaged your target client? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time – squeeze every penny of return you can from your ideas.
This is also an ideal opportunity to review and update things such as your customer persona and messaging. Have recent events changed their attitudes towards certain services or products? How can your marketing reflect those thoughts and emotions to capitalise on them? This may be a short-term change, or it could be a more permanent change in buyer behaviour.
Making assumptions without properly researching changes in motivation or behaviour will cost you in the long-term as it will reinforce your belief that cutting spend in the short-term is a wise thing to do.
Would a professional eye support your decision making at this crucial time?
You need to be strategic with your marketing decisions over the next few months especially. You need to understand exactly what you can spend and what it will give you back in return. Guesswork will be a big risk.
Fortunately, this is what we do at PP8 and why many of our clients choose us as their marketing partner. Why not book a discovery call to find out how we can help your business navigate this very uncertain time and give you confidence in the marketing decisions you are making?