It’s safe to say that none of us could have foreseen the events of recent weeks as the world grapples with containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in the United States, schools, places of worship, and many businesses are shuttered as people shelter in place hoping to avoid infection, including this monkey who is fortunate enough to be able to work from home. (As I write this blog, I sincerely hope you and yours experience as little disruption and setback from this situation as possible, that it’s of a short duration, and that—above all else—you stay well!)
A NEW REALITY
Given where many businesses unexpectedly find themselves today, business leaders are facing the age-old question, when the going gets tough, should we speed up or slow down, should we do more marketing or less? As a lifelong marketer and entrepreneur at heart, it should come as no surprise to you where I stand on the issue.
There’s an old business axiom that goes something like this, “when you need to cut expenses, start with marketing.” It’s never made much sense to me. Your company, for whatever reason, is experiencing a financial crisis. Shouldn’t you want to build awareness and drive sales? Shouldn’t you be doing everything possible to grow revenues? Cut marketing and you all but derail those efforts.
In some ways, I get it. Really, I do. When numbers-crunching types look at their spreadsheets, all they see are fixed costs, variable costs, and cost centers and revenue generators. Marketing typically doesn’t show up on the revenue side of the ledger. In fact, for most companies, marketing only represents expenditures for staff, for advertising, for content development, for social media, for website development and maintenance, etc. For most, it represents money going out rather than money coming in.
As a result, some see a robust marketing effort as being akin to a luxury—something to take advantage of only when the economy is going good. Thus, when things go bad, companies shrink their marketing staff. They pause social media, limit e-blasts, stop running ads. In short, they drop off the marketing landscape. What kind of message does this send to customers and prospects?
As a marketer at heart and by head, I couldn’t disagree more with this approach. Knowledgeable business leaders know better.
PENNYWISE AND DOLLAR FOOLISH
Without expenditures for marketing, how does your target audience learn about your company, your products, or your brand? Word of mouth from current customers can only carry so far, especially in today’s global economy. Marketing is what helps brands stand apart from the rest of the chatter. Marketing is what makes some brands successful when others are not.
In the recent inc.com article, 4 Reasons Why Marketing Should Never Be the First Expense You Cut, the author contends that reducing marketing spending in most cases, only makes bad financial situations worse. I agree. It’s really quite simple: marketing and sales go hand in hand. Without sales, revenue shrinks, and without revenue . . . well, you get the picture.
There’s also another misconception about marketing that I have encountered wherever I’ve worked and whether the company I worked for was big or small: that somehow marketing can be turned on and off like a faucet. Let me debunk this myth once and for all. Marketing is not a simple on/off proposition. It takes time and repetition to build awareness, grow market share, and gain followers and brand fans.
Shut your marketing all down today, and you lose the momentum you’ve built so that when the marketplace does rebound, you’ll essentially be starting out from the bottom floor all over again. Where’s the sense in that?
While I am a proponent of keeping a company’s foot on the marketing gas pedal in both good times and bad, I am also a realist. If the amount of money coming in shrinks, a company’s leaders have no choice but to look for ways to reduce expenses. It’s an unavoidable fact for businesses that don’t have limitless resources (which is most of them).
But when it comes to looking at marketing as a place to cut costs, I want to suggest an alternative to simply slashing the budget and circling the wagons. There is a way to maintain the marketing drumbeat and maintain your presence in the marketplace—and that’s to market smarter and more efficiently.
The way I see it is that despite the events of the last few weeks, never before has “marketing smarter” been more doable and more applicable than it is today, thanks to technology, the internet, and social media. As people are forced to distance themselves physically, they will be looking more and more to social media, the Internet, and other online forums to gather virtually. This is an opportunity for brands to grow and enhance their online presences, especially if others should foolishly remove themselves from the marketplace.
Because We Could All Use A Good Laugh Right About Now!
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
Barrel O’Monkeyz is an experienced team of seasoned marketing experts who can support you and your business during these trying times and beyond. Now is not the time to disconnect from your audience. Now is the time to engage customers and prospects even more by showing them they can rely on you and your brand in times of crisis.
From social media management and digital advertising to email campaigns and content marketing, we can work with you to develop and implement a sound strategy that keeps your business moving forward. Better yet, we have years of experience engaging with clients remotely, so the new norm of doing business virtually won’t slow us (or you) down one bit.
Contact us today to explore how Barrel O’Monkeyz can help you maintain your marketing momentum.