Marketing budgets are getting tighter and tighter. Funding gets cut; programs are shifted to the next quarter, the next year or just go away completely. What’s frustrating for many CMOs is that demand goals remain the same or in some cases even increase.
And we all know what happens next: The cost to the customer rises to make up the difference.
The secret to success isn’t saving. As the old saying goes, “You can’t save your way to success.” Instead, you can measure your spend, maximize your budgets, show a significant ROI and make a case for increased budgets. In a time when everyone is cutting or pulling back budgets — and while your competitors are going silent — even a whisper sounds pretty loud.
As a bonus, some great bargains can be had out there in the media world.
It’s not too hard to prove this point. Go back to recessions from years past and notice who was doing any spending or even launching companies. You’ll find the likes of GE, HP and even Burger King. More recently you’ll see Microsoft. Look at some of the marketing budgets of other companies during the current recession and you’ll witness increased spending from Coca-Cola, IBM and Progressive Insurance. They’ve learned that “doubling down,” so to speak, during a recession might be a risk, but it is a calculated risk.
Some of those examples, of course, are from 30 or even 100 years ago. So how do we apply this learning to today’s economic environment? Fortunately, technology has come a very long way and now enables us to optimize more accurately and regularly. With the use of URL tagging, analytics and other tools, in some cases we can optimize our marketing investment almost daily.
Marketing in 2011 and 2012 is smarter than it’s ever been. It’s easier to look at every dollar spent, analyze performance and shift resources to optimize accordingly. And we can do it frequently — very frequently. That’s good: There’s nothing wrong with keeping a very close eye on precious marketing dollars.
Here are some keywords to think about when marketing in an economic downturn and the ingredients to have on hand to help ensure success:
– Opportunistic: Those who are out there spending hold the keys to great opportunities and if such opportunities don’t smack you in the face, create them yourself with the media companies.
– Optimistic: You need to be optimistic about your spend. You must have a positive outlook and an eye to the future.
– Commitment: Any marketing that is worth doing requires commitment from the organization, specifically the commitment to seeing things through. Don’t spend precious dollars only to pull out and cancel shortly thereafter. Stay committed and focused. Commit to spend, but ensure you analyze and optimize.
– Consistency: Ensure that your presence in the marketplace is consistent and that your message is too. We often see companies become tired of their messaging and change too quickly. Choose a communications platform and stick to it.
– Conviction: Have conviction for what you are doing. Ensure that the leadership team is on board and show the rest of the organization that every member of the leadership team is speaking from the same page — with conviction.
Be confident in an economic downturn.
You can succeed because you have the tools — and the courage — to spend wisely.
by Keith Turco
President – New York
Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network