Reducing spending, costs, and budgets in recessions seems scary…
- Evidence from previous recessions has shown that the organisations that bounced back from the economic slowdown the strongest are actually the ones that did not reduce their Marketing spend and, in some cases, increased spending.
- Businesses succeeding might not be changing the size of their marketing spend but instead altering what they are spending on!
- Making your voice heard in economic hard times can massively help out brand recognition and awareness in the recovery periods for the business
Most companies reduce spending in recessions, especially on marketing items that may be easier to cut (certainly relative to payroll). Right now, advertising agencies are struggling to stay afloat, and Google and Facebook are reporting substantially lower ad revenues as marketing spending dives with the business cycle (cyclical marketing). But that is today’s equivalent of bleeding – an old-fashioned but once widespread treatment that reduces the patient’s ability to fight disease.
Companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it. But they did change what they were spending their marketing budget on and when to reflect the new context in which they operated. Let’s begin by looking at the various categories of marketing costs.
New Product Launches
New product launches are a risk even in boom times, as there are many different factors to think about. In this context, getting rid of new product ideas seems to be a no brainer. However, the best time to start new product launches is after a recession’s mid-point, as it is an incentive in hope that the economy will recover.
Prices and Promotions
Companies are faced with declining sales, managers are tempted to increase prices in the hope to meet the predicted targets, which is not a bad idea as the market is more sensitive.
Businesses are forced to cut back on their spending during a recession and have to take money away from parts of the business. However, if a firm tries to maintain or slightly reduce spends on its marketing department, it will have an advantage over its competitors. Take the example of Reckitt Benckiser; after the recession in 2008 due to the economic crash, the business set a marketing campaign in aim to persuade customers to carry on purchasing its more expensive and better-performing brands, despite the harsh economic climate. Moreover, increasing their advertising expenses by 25% in the face of reduced marketing by competitors. According to the Economist, Reckitt Benckiser grew revenues by 8% and profits by 14%. When their competitors had profit declines of 10% or more. They viewed advertising as an investment rather than an expense.
Marketing is always neglected during a recession, as it is not an easy situation for any business. However, this is a time not to stop spending money, but an opportunity to change the way you spend it.
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