Impact Of Recession On Businesses - Why Cutting Marketing Marketing During Recession Is Almost Always The Wrong Decision

It's a familiar story. Times are tight, or maybe even worse, times are unsettled, and it's difficult to see the impact of recession on businesses and the responsible business person looks to cut extraneous costs to ensure the business is as robust as possible. Makes sense right?

Well, maybe, maybe not. It certainly makes sense to cut back on non essentials, that's a good plan at all times, but marketing (and specifically advertising) usually is one of the first things to go.

 And it's easy to see why. Traditionally marketing has struggled with what's called an attribution problem. That is, working out what has worked, and what has not worked, when it comes to justifying where the money has been spent. Stands to reason, if you're not 100% sure something is working, that would be the thing to cut back on.

 But let's just think about this for the moment.

 If a marketing is shrinking, then your market share is also shrinking. Even if it's stays the same. I mean if you have 10% of a market that's worth £100, and the market shrinks to £90, then your 10% has shrunk too. Got it?

 So the only way to stand still in recession, is to actually increase your market share in relation to the shrinking market. And the only way to increase your market share, is to take it off someone else. And the only way to take market share of your competition is to out-promote them.

 And you can’t do that if you’ve just cut back on your marketing.

 Worse still, in cutting back, you are in effect ceding the floor to your competition! Stepping aside as it were, to allow them to sweep in, out promote you, and take your market share.

 So what's the answer? What's the true impact of recession on businesses

 As someone famously said, ‘I know 50% of my marketing works, trouble is, I don't know which 50%’. You certainly can’t afford to spend money on something that you are afraid isn’t working.

 And by the same token, as we’ve just discussed, you can’t actually afford to cut back on marketing, at least the marketing that works!

 The effort must be to ensure the work you are doing in marketing is paying off. So maybe it's time to dump the traditional approaches and get into something we like to call ‘revenue focused marketing’. There’s a nice piece on it here.

 Revenue focused marketing basically means linking everything you do in that space to a return on investment. And by linking, I mean directly linking.

 This means tracking visitors to the website and where they are coming from. Then working out on a £/person basis which method is working the most effectively - returning the most versus the investment it takes to produce them in the first place.

 It means capturing your customers data as early in the buyer's journey as you can, to literally walk them through the process of purchasing your products or services. And measuring the impact of each email, each phone call, each customer interaction throughout your customer facing team. 

 It also means measuring the impact and testing alternatives of every piece of content, every image, every social media post, every call to action, every form, every email, every newsletter, and so on.

 Revenue focused marketing means weighing and measuring everything that your sales and marketing teams are working on, refining it, and making sure it's more than paying for itself.

 Easier said than done right?

 Well, yes, at least to an extent. There are many ways and means to measure what you are doing out there in digital marketing land. Many apps themselves quite rightly trumpet their ability to produce reports and feedback and analyse their work on your behalf. But before you know it, you can end up with a mish mash of data so complicated to understand that's its not really worth gathering in the first place.

 There are two ways (at least) to approach this. The first is an old school and relatively manual way to approach things, the second more modern and automated. It much depends on your budget, tolerance to change and the imagination you are able to bring to the vision you have for the new way to run your marketing. 

  • Data minimisation. This is best practice from many perspectives, not least the data protection view point. Have a data audit and find out what data tells you what information about your business, and the efforts you are making to drive more and new business. Dump the data and the systems you have that are redundant, or even better, you can identify you're wasting money on.
  • Look for a specialist marketing technology platform like the one our partners, HubSpot provide. This brings many benefits to your business, like a centralised repository for your data, marketing automation, SEO planning and strategy, sales automation and so on and so on. But also, and potentially the best thing a MarTech platform will provide you is a fully integrated analysis capability. The ability to literally track every customer interaction and engagement and map it directly to the money you spend to provide them is transformative.

 So rather than cutting back on your marketing and potentially allowing your competitor to sweep in and take your market share from under your nose you should double down. But double down in a really focused and scientific manner. A data driven and revenue focused manner. Ensuring that every penny you spend it weighed, measured and sharpened to produce the maximum bang for your buck.

 If this all seems overwhelming, then get some support. Real Inbound are experts in revenue focused marketing and sales and marketing alignment and we would be happy to take you through the first steps to start your journey and reduce the impact of recession on your business

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Tony Dowling

FCIM | HubSpot Platinum Partner | Revenue Consultant | HubSpot Certified Trainer | South Wales HUG Leader | | 07812 582213

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