Drop Kick The Losing Strategy

“We’ve cut down our marketing for right now.” “We’re hunkering down and waiting it out.” “Let me see what happens.” These are the swan songs of a company that will continue to struggle. By electing outside influences as to the prime reasons to not be proactive with your B2B marketing strategy you are allowing yourself to becoming a victim. Thus. you have opened the door to incurring further financial woes.

Economizing is not a marketing strategy, it is a financial policy. Replacing marketing strategy with financial policy is the beginning of tougher times, all self-induced. Promoting and marketing during a recession or tough economic times seems counter-intuitive to most business owners, yet it is the most rational and statistically proven course of action that any business can and must take to survive and flourish. With one proviso: You must conduct your marketing correctly and efficiently within a budget.

The Wisdom of David Ogilvy

I do not expect most people to know the name David Ogilvy. He has often been called, “The Father of Advertising.”In 1962, Time called him “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” In early 2004, Adweek magazine asked people in the business, “Which individuals – alive or dead – made you consider pursuing a career in advertising?” and Ogilvy topped the list. The same result came when students of advertising were surveyed. His best-selling book Confessions of an Advertising Man is one of the most popular and famous books on advertising still to this day. Here’s his take on people raid their ad budget:

“I avoid clients for whom advertising is only a marginal factor in their marketing mix. They have an awkward tendency to raid their advertising appropriations whenever they need cash for other purposes.” – David Ogilvy

Fix Your Marketing!

Realistically, any marketing has a budget. It may be minimal, but to reduce it to almost nothing is suicide. In fact, one should figure out how to cut out other expenses first. So we come to the very first reason why marketing is cut almost instantaneously as a knee-jerk reaction to the first sign of an economic downturn: most business owners have never been formally educated in marketing. But the truth is: MARKETING IS A VITAL, INDISPENSABLE ASPECT OF THE PRODUCTION CYCLE.

PRODUCTION IS NOT COMPLETED UNTIL THE PRODUCT/SERVICE IS CONSUMED. DEMAND FOR ITS CONSUMPTION MUST BE GENERATED AND IT IS MARKETING THAT CREATES THE DEMAND. WITHOUT A DEMAND FOR THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE, YOU WILL EVENTUALLY SELL LESS AND THUS WILL MAKE EVEN LESS INCOME.

Marketing is a cost of doing business, not an “expense” to be cut. To cut marketing first instigates a dwindling spiral. The answer is not to cut it, but to invest in more effective marketing that will rapidly create the demand needed so as to achieve your necessary sales objectives. And this gives us the second problem: How do we market more effectively when we already do a bad job of it?

Truth be told, who would kill an effective marketing program except the uniformed, an idiot or someone who was outright psychotic? No one in their right mind who had the desire to succeed would kill that which was successful. But when you have a marginal marketing campaign, that is less than spectacular on the ROI, it seems like you are saving money by dropping it. In reality, you are missing out on your best opportunity to grow!

Recessions Are When You Grow!

You’re kidding, right? But look at the extensive research that proves that a recession provides you with the single best opportunity to grow your business. These are some conclusive marketing statistics that point to that fact that I shared in my last post, Fiscal Cliff 2013: Fly, Don’t Jump.

A McGraw-Hill study of 600 businesses found businesses that maintained or increased their ad spend saw higher sales growth during a recession and in the years following. In fact, the study found those who maintained or increased their ad budgets experienced a 256 percent increase in sales compared to those who cut their budgets.

And if you think waiting until the recession is over is a smart thing to do, consider this. A third study revealed 80 percent of the businesses that waited until a post-recession economic expansion to advertise saw zero increase in market share. Which, of course, is obvious since everyone else began advertising again. Lesson: Waiting is a loser strategy!

Need More Proof?

During the 1970 recession, a study by American Business Press and Meldrum & Fewsmith showed that, “Sales and profits can be maintained and increased in recession years and in the years immediately following by those who are willing to maintain an aggressive marketing posture, while others adopt the philosophy of cutting back on promotional efforts when sales appear to be harder to get.”

During the 1974-75 recession, another study by the same group stated, “Companies which did not cut marketing expenditures experienced higher sales and net income during those two years and the two years following than those companies which cut in either or both recession years.” Studies during the recessions in 1985, 1990-91 and 2001 showed sales for companies that remained aggressive during the recession enjoyed sales that were 2.5 times more the average of all other businesses.

Learning how to market correctly during a recession is the path of successful business. While it may seem counter-intuitive, the research is conclusive.

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