Published in Jul-Aug 2022
If your business revenues took a hit this year due to political instability, rising inflation or new taxes, your recovery plan will surely include a cut in the marketing budget. There is no debate that core operational costs, such as production, rent and salaries have to be prioritised in order to keep a business functional. However, ceasing all marketing efforts may do more harm than good. By not understanding the metrics or clearly seeing the ROI, companies may fail to identify the opportunities that marketing creates, prompting swift and heavy-handed decisions that will have long-term, adverse effects on the business.
Studies have consistently shown that businesses that market themselves during tough times are more likely to survive compared to those that don’t, as consumers can be reached better in a less cluttered environment. What businesses should be doing in such periods is to rework their business and marketing strategies and make smart decisions, instead of cutting budgets. Here, and in no particular order are some measures brands can adopt, once they have also input their own thinking.
1. Reduce Your Budget, Rather Than Cut It
Engaging your audience should remain your number one priority. The question is identifying the medium that will gain you the highest ROI, and you may want to consider shifting the focus from TV and look at other media such as digital, activation or PR, to sustain your efforts during a lean financial period. Staying competitive and commercially relevant should take precedence. It is all about reallocating your marketing budget to avenues and content without dialling down current plans.
2. Allocate Funds To New Channels
If there is no choice but to make budget cuts, then make sure they are right kind of cuts; those that will not backfire or compromise future gains. Instead of cutting marketing costs, how about redistributing them from over-utilised and low ROI channels to underutilised, high-potential ones? Like, for example online or alliance partnerships. A crisis is the perfect time to reassess your marketing strategy and work out not only how to cut costs, but which platforms and channels your business has yet to make its mark on. You may, for example, find that while a legacy channel underperforms during a recession, a new platform has a better, more relevant user-base that could help you reach customers for a fraction of the cost. Sometimes shaking up your budget and allocating funds to new channels can be an excellent way to optimise your budget and increase ROI without having to shrink it.
3. Send Positive Messages To Consumers
Consumers are as stressed as your business in times of economic crunch, and human touch based campaigns can help to connect better and more deeply with consumers in a more authentic way.
4. Content Is The New Marketing King
You are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to your industry and your brand. Invest in digital content that helps customers make informed purchasing decisions by leveraging your knowledge and presenting it as well packaged and digestible video content. This speeds up your sales process and ensures you continue to attract customers. Upload a video containing all your sales and brand ambassador pitches, product information, tutorials and any other information you think people may need to know about your company. This is the right time to do it, because people carry out more searches in hard times. However, you need to get experts to make this content so that it is attractive and watchable.
5. Pay Attention To Consumer Promotions
During hard times, consumers are more likely to be on the hunt for good deals, so use this opportunity to adjust your advertising message by offering short-term prizes, gifts and deals, price incentives and show that you care about your consumers and their budget constraints. Decades ago, promotions used to be a key marketing tool, but they lost their punch. However, digital promotions and deals work well. Smart promotions can be developed for every brand and financial model; all it takes is smart and focused thinking.
To conclude, katakat is a wonderful way to approach budget cuts. We all know this flavoursome dish consists of chopped and sliced pieces of chicken, beef, liver, brain and many other ingredients. Marketing is a challenge and great marketers will take on any brand challenge and will always find a way forward, irrespective of the budget. All you need to do is to cook up a great marketing katakat that fits your brand and serve it to your consumers to keep the connection going and continuously delighting them.
Happy cooking no matter what budget you have to play with!
Shoaib Qureshy is Managing Director, Bulls Eye DDB Group. firstname.lastname@example.org