Marketing has had a rough time over the past two years because businesses have had ample reason to scale back costs. First, a pandemic which drove many businesses to a halt, now economic uncertainty sparked by war in Ukraine—suffice to say the belts of businesses around the world have tightened. When this happens, companies are quick to cut marketing expenditures from their budget. Today, we’ll be shedding light on why this is a mistake. Here’s why you should keep marketing during this economic downturn.
1. Why Companies Think Marketing Should Be the First To Go
Us marketers like to kid ourselves. We like to think that profitable times are the result of our ingenious methods. In reality, they have much more to do with the state of the economy. During periods of panic about the health of the market, spending habits become stricter across the board. Anything expendable can and will be eliminated as companies and consumers seek out short term cost breaks.
This puts marketing in a difficult position. Marketing isn’t cheap and when times are tough, the impulse is to slash it. With increased pressure to prove marketing returns on investment, it becomes tempting to shelve certain strategies.
Take, for example, the case of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). SEO is the vital backbone of every business’ online visibility, but results depend on long term investment. Without consistent attention, search rankings decay quickly and with them declines your online visibility.
Whilst slashing an SEO budget will give you a short term cost break, it will decrease your revenue growth over time. As we’ve noted, the tendency during an economic downturn is to favour short term savings over long term profits—a move which is understandable, but inefficient in the long run. It takes time for revenue to turn into ROI, plus no one’s marketing plan performs as well as their expectations.
2. Why Companies Should Approach Marketing as an Investment
The case of SEO exposes the central error behind businesses scaling back their marketing strategies. The main takeaway is to avoid mistaking short term cost breaks for long term financial success. You’re not finessing anyone by slashing your company’s marketing plans. In fact, all your doing is putting your company at a disadvantage.
The truth is, by cutting out marketing, businesses put themselves in a dangerous position. Marketing is every business’ method for connecting with their clients. It also assures the future of your business by bringing new eyes into the equation. What your company is willing to spend on marketing equates to how close you want this connection to be. Cutting out marketing puts your business out of sight—and worst of all, out of mind…
But perhaps you’ll say you want to focus on retaining clients instead of gaining new ones. Fair enough—but what happens when one of these clients decides to cut your services from their budget? No business is immune to tightening budgets across the board. There’s an old advertising adage that goes something like this:
‘When times are good, you should advertise.
When times are bad, you must advertise.’
3. How to Keep Marketing in an Economic Downturn
So, how do you carry on marketing during an economic downturn? We think of a recession as a time for frugality, but it should really be a time for experimentation. Only the strongest marketing strategies will survive—but strength also requires adaptability. Here’s a couple things to bear in mind:
Without recourse to funds needed for large-scale campaigns, the trick is to invest in cheaper, long term strategies. SEO is the best marketing investment of this variety. Cheap because costs are spread out over time, SEO accounts take a few months to gain traction—but once they do, you can expect jaw-dropping returns on investment by placing your business on Google’s doorstep.
Next up: a different way of approaching your audience. During times of economic pressure, invest in strategies that connect to your customer base on an emotional level. Otherwise known as ‘value-based marketing’, this strategy is historically popular during economic downturns.
Essentially, it means appealing to people’s values and ethics as opposed to their desires (something traditional advertising likes to lay claim to). A great way to practice value-based marketing is through email and social media. These are platforms where value-based decisions are made every second.
Contact Universal Web Design
At Universal, we know how to keep marketing going strong despite economic adversity. Every company needs top notch search rankings—recession or no recession. That’s why we’re specialists in marketing plans for small to medium sized businesses, allowing them to ride the marketing wave to calmer, quids in shores.
Speak to our team today to find out what we can do for you and your business. Visit our website by clicking here, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01206 588 000 and get your marketing plan underway.