During these turbulent times businesses are cutting their marketing budgets at the first sign of trouble. For a short period of time this can be sustained but not long-term. Strong branded businesses know that in order to grow they must continue to invest.
The decision to reduce marketing budgets could be driven by the fact that the resident marketing department is doing more “administrating” than “innovating” and therefore the executives don’t see the value. If that’s the case then marketing is a victim of its own malaise. I’ve always been a strong believer that marketing must play a leading role in an organization as the group that generates new and exciting ideas. This is a sure way to protect budgets when times get tough because management can see the expected value of the investment.
One of the cornerstones of successful brands is being able to continuously grow. The only way to do that is to evolve and change. It’s hard to imagine a brand evolving and changing with budgets that are being reduced at the first sign of trouble. Having said that, it’s probably worth stating that small to mid size companies are quick to shift to survival mode when the markets turn so in some cases an ‘across the board’ expense reduction may be necessary. But again, it is not conducive to long-term growth or survival.
If you want to protect your budget consider these three things 1) keep a steady stream of new ideas coming for management to review. Keep the executive team thinking about and supporting marketing and to do that you need to show some creativity 2) keep your budget requests realistic. Excessive budget demands for new initiatives can kill a good idea before it gets off the ground and 3) spend efficiently. Manage the budget like it was coming out of your own pocket.
Keep these three things in mind and you’re more likely to enjoy an active marketing program, even during tough times.