In these hard times, there’s no doubt that marketing budgets are under scrutiny. Finance and procurement people are considering marketing spend as a line item to cut and, as an agency and a trusted advisor, we are working with our clients to take account of their changing needs in difficult times. We’re finding ways of making budget go ever further, work even harder and deliver a measurable return. This is no bad thing; neither is it a new thing – in fact we’ve always worked that way. We have a long-held belief in spending our clients’ dollars as if they were our own and we were doing this even back in the halcyon days of plentiful budgets and chocolate biscuits in meetings (…and yes i do mean 18 months ago).
For me, this came clearly into focus last week with one of our largest clients. Summoned to a meeting with the ominous title of ‘Marketing Efficiencies’ we braced ourselves for a tough conversation and, armed with our best calculators and serious faces, expected to be asked to make happen the marketing equivalent of ‘feeding the five thousand’.
Indeed, we learnt that ATL budgets had been cut and the new advertising push was on hold, but to our surprise the savings weren’t to be put back on the bottom line but re-directed into lead generation and CRM – our area.
Surprising though such decisions are in the current climate, it’s neither a radical or brave move – the facts speak for themselves, this area of marketing ticks the boxes that all companies need ticking right now: it helps to retain and extract value from the precious customers they already have, finds new sales opportunities and – when done properly – pays for itself many times over.
Arbitrary, unilateral cuts to marketing spend don’t take in the whole picture. They are short term-ist and based upon a misperception that marketing is an indulgence. The companies that know this are instead switching spend to harder working channels. Cutting out the chocolate biscuits and the lavish, sugar coated blockbuster TV ads shot in far
off glamorous locations and replacing them with more targeted programmes designed to retain customers, drive demand and sell product. Bring it on I say…
Client Services Director