Why cutting marketing in a recession will kill your business
While the knee jerk reaction in a recession may be to cut B2B marketing spend, ceasing all marketing activity during this leaner time is a big mistake and can kill your business fast.
Marketing is now a core function of business operations, and holds under its purview such vital things as customer experience and customer loyalty. Marketing cannot be swept aside without adversely impacting the bottom line of your business.
You'll be months behind the competition
B&T recently cited multiple studies on companies which demonstrated increasing ad spend by up to 20% in a recession saw an average share gain of 0.5%, and those that increased beyond the 20% threshold recorded average gains of 0.9%. The fact is, marketing through a recession, even with decreased activity, will hold a brand in firmer stead than ceasing marketing altogether.
When the economy does ramp up again, businesses who have to start marketing from scratch again (even to the point of having to hire new staff) will be months behind the competition. Starting your marketing campaign again from scratch could put you six months or even a year behind the competition that marketed through.
You'll put off existing customers
Your existing customers will still expect you to market to them, and a loyal customer is better than seeking a new customer from scratch. Importantly marketing is essential to retain existing customers. If marketing is cut, there's a chance you're jeopardising your existing customers from enjoying their customer journey with you. By pulling the plug on marketing, you drain the information train to your existing customers and they'll notice all the newsletters, product updates, videos, webinars or content they had once enjoyed are now suddenly, gone.
Now that's a huge turn off to B2B customers - and no business can afford this.
Youll struggle to keep the sales funnel alive
The need to stay in operation by gaining new customers demands a level of marketing spend. The ever-hungry 'marketing funnel' still needs to be fed, awareness still has to be raised, the journey from leads to conversions still need to happen.
A common mistake businesses make is seeing marketing as being ‘lesser’ to sales. This is an outdated way of thinking. Much like vegemite and toast, or Ben & Jerry, marketing and sales coexist and one can’t exist without the other. Even the best product in the world won’t sell if no one knows about it.
Forrester actually estimates up to 75% of the purchase process is completed before the sales department even gets involved. No company can scale and grow successfully with only sales or only marketing. So tempting as it may be, don’t stop marketing, because marketing through this coming recession could mean you actually survive it.
Marketing can’t stop just because business gets hard
It is the lifeblood that keeps organisations and your pipeline thriving, and once it goes, the business is often not far behind.
Now, with the pandemic and life unlikely to return to normal for quite some time, if ever, businesses are competing for a shrinking share of purse and need to stand out more than ever before.
You can’t capture, and keep, the minds and wallets of thrifty consumers, by contracting marketing and therefore customer experience. Some level of marketing activity must be maintained to keep existing business, and to also be ready to ramp up when times are once again good.
Invest in a marketing partner
Has your marketing budget been cut so you can only afford one or two junior in-house marketers? In this instance, you may need to consider outsourcing some or all of your marketing efforts to a trusted marketing partner.
Imagine how powerful your marketing efforts could be if you have a full team of senior marketers on hand to direct your strategic marketing efforts and help you make your budget work smarter, not harder.
Discover how AZK Media can be your trusted marketing and media partners here.
Vanessa Mitchell is the Director of Content and Communications at AZK Media
This article was also published in Little Black Book, one of the world's leading publications for marketers, agencies and advertisers.