I was reading in a BusinessWeek article the other day that many of the biggest brands are pinching their marketing pennies ever more closely right now. I’ve seen this sentiment echoed in various places on the internet as well, and each time I see it, I can’t help but think “yeah, but THEN what?”
A successful business should NEVER stop marketing – especially in a downturn. Downturns are when you need customers more than ever, right? There’s the no-brainer for the day. Jim Connolly referred to this as well in a recent blog post.
Now, in light of what I’ve just said, I’m going to say this: many of these big names are probably 100% right to reduce their marketing budgets.
Here’s the problem: corporations have developed a habit of “spending on marketing” regardless of what it delivers. You and I would likely be absolutely floored if we actually found out how many unaccountable marketing dollars swirl around out there on a daily basis. The problem is that the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in television, radio, and print is so rarely tracked that the end result is simliar to throwing dollar bills into a tornado – you just don’t have a clue where they’ve gone! Now, I’m not saying that these millions of dollars have no impact – I’m sure that they do. However, nobody knows what that impact is!
And that is the kicker.
So, in today’s downturning economy – don’t stop advertising, get smart about it! The amazing thing about marketing on the internet is that if done correctly, you can attach a return on investment (ROI) to nearly every dollar you spend! That’s something that is incredibly hard to do with traditional media.
So here’s my bold prediction – I expect that internet advertising will continue to grow in spite of the decline in other forms of advertising over the coming year.
If you advertise your business, now is the time to take a close look at what forms of advertising are making you money, and which aren’t. Maybe those radio ads which you love so much because they’re really funny and you helped create them simply aren’t bringing in the dollars. That might be a hard decision to make, because of your personal investment, but it is one that needs to be made.
Marketing is often confused with branding, and I think that is why corporations are so willing to spend the huge bucks on it. However, branding CAN be accomplished with correct advertising as well – they aren’t mutually exclusive!
So go get smart about your marketing bucks!