10 things to do when budgets are under pressureDavid Patrick
1. Act differently! If you follow your competitors, you will fail. A smaller marketing budget will be better spent on insightful, relevant and different creative work to a select few, than generic communications to the masses.
2. Take the opportunity to refine your marketing strategy – re-focus on what’s important and plan for the future.
3. Be smarter in your targeting – is your product time specific or seasonal? If so, focus on the period that will generate the greatest yields. Refine your customer segmentation and focus on cross-selling and up-selling to higher value customers.
4. Cut out the wastage in your direct marketing – check your data against the mortuary file, make sure all your goneaways are stripped out, validate every record via tele-marketing to create more tightly targeted mailings
5. Collaborate with customers to find out how your product could be enhanced to help them through the recession – customers you have collaborated with are more likely to buy in to your products and this generates sales.
6. Use a smaller marketing budget to concentrate on core activity and make it work harder. Moving budgets from TV to online for example can save significantly on costs and still yield the same results. Equally, using word-of-mouth and customer advocacy can be a great way of reaching the right people at a fraction of the cost.
7. Reinvest acquisition budgets into research and development so that new products and services are ready for launch as your market begins to recover.
8. You won’t be alone in having your budgets cut – this will almost certainly be done to reflect a change in the market. Spend time learning about the smaller customers of your weakest competitors. Those with attractive growth prospects and strong balance sheets will yield future rewards.
9. Take stock of what’s been working and what hasn’t. You’ll have more time now to develop robust measurement devices and concentrate on what’s worked well in the past.
10. Challenge your bosses! Many cut budgets in times of recession, however, research shows that consumers don’t stop spending during a recession, plus the advertising environment will be less cluttered and subsequently less expensive. So really in times of recession, marketing budgets should be rising!