Every day brings a new sentiment in our economic outlook.  One day the sky is falling over Greece and that threatens to bring down the EU and then the rest of the world with it. The next day the job numbers are out and the world is ok, at least for another month.  Like every other business owner in the world, I have no desire whatsoever to repeat 2008.  But all the same I’ve been thinking about what a change in economic circumstances means for my business and for our clients. 

Marketing is one of those budgets that gets cut in a recession.  Not as badly as travel or training, but it’s significant. So when the news and markets are tumultuous, I start prioritizing. If a company has to get lean, they should focus on not losing the traction they’ve built in the marketplace, and leveraging any current opportunities that exist. 

Here are some guidelines for B2B companies to assess their marketing programs and manage reduced budgets.

Put Rebranding on Hold

If your company is in the midst of, or about to begin a rebranding exercise, consider delaying.  For some companies, a brand ‘refresh’ is undertaken when the brand has not been maintained or revised in several years.  In this situation, if not changing the brand will not have short-term impacts on a company, it is better to hold off.  Rebranding is a significant expense where the ROI may not be felt immediately.  On the other hand, if a rebrand is necessary to ward off competitive threats and ensure your firm’s leadership position in the marketplace, rebranding may be necessary to safeguard your position.

Focus on Prospects in the Pipe

Marketing dollars will be better spent on nurturing leads in your sales funnel.  Driving prospects into your sales funnel is half the battle; developing activities to continue to guide people through the sales process is vital to closing short-term sales.

Tried and Tested

For companies that have limited marketing resources, a recession or slow economic period is not the best time to take risks when it comes to marketing efforts.  Assess your program’s performance and continue to maintain those activities that have delivered results. That said, if you aren’t using digital tactics (email, search engine optimization, webinars) you should seriously consider these cost effective approaches.

Shift to ‘Soft’ Activities

There are many cost-effective marketing tactics that rely heavily on human rather than financial resources.  PR, Email Marketing, SEO build awareness, communicate with contacts and increase website traffic without a lot of third-party investment.

If your company is faced with having to cut your marketing budget, be sure to fully assess the effectiveness of your marketing program before making decisions on cutting tactics or your program altogether.

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