With the world currently in turmoil, there is no doubt that the publics’ pockets are getting shallower, purse strings are getting tighter and the common moth is settling in for an extended period of hibernation in your dad’s wallet!

With this in mind, businesses will be looking for ways to control overheads, and directors will be looking to gain efficiencies within their organisations.

I personally deal with several marketing agencies, print providers, new media et al, and it was during a casual catch up with one of these agencies, that the conversation turned to marketing cut backs.

It’s a horrendously difficult thing to quantify – the ROI of a marketing campaign.  Even with the advanced metrics of google and facebook, the numbers are always open to interpretation, so the success of any given campaign is predicated on the opinion of the person reading the results. 

‘The first thing people cut when times get tough are their marketing budgets” was the line that piqued my attention.  This got me to thinking – is this really the best policy? 

Over the years I have worked with many businesses, and one thing usually remains true.  When they are busy, they don’t advertise.  When they are quiet, they panic, and advertise.  There is no strategy – and how can there be?  There is no goal?  If there is no goal, how can you plan to achieve it?

It’s the same when times are tough.  Pull advertising and keep the money in the bank. 

However the universal constant is that it takes money to make money, so what good it is sitting in your bank account, except for giving you a warm fuzzy feeling that you are acting responsibly for your business, and tightening your proverbial belt?

Advertising businesses are extremely marginal – hard to believe I know – which means even the smallest drop in advertising revenue can have a huge impact in their workforce.  Targets aren’t met, and bonuses aren’t paid.  

Now said workforce don’t have the additional “cash to splash” on a nice meal out, a theatre ticket, or something for the house that they don’t need, but really fancy.

So now the restaurant, theatre or shop loses revenue.  bonuses aren’t paid, or worse, jobs are made redundant.

The circle continues.

But what if you bucked the trend?  Kept your advertising revenue, but reduced it appropriately if required?  The money stays local, and ultimately helps keep our high streets and small businesses alive and kicking. 

Times ahead are going to be tough, and of that I have no doubt.  But is austerity ever going to be the solution?  I for one highly doubt it.  If the recessions of the past have taught us anything, it’s that a considered approach is always going to be the best way forward.

What do you want to achieve with your marketing?  What does that look like as a monetary number?  Great! That’s your goal.  Now you can plan how best to achieve it, while at the same time keeping the extremely grateful local economy as buoyant as it can be.