Should you really be cutting your marketing spend right now?

It’s one of the hottest stories to emerge from last couple of months – and it’s sparked a vicious debate around the important role that marketing plays in the growth and development of every business.

Where’s this question come from, Frances?

ICYMI, the government unveiled plans to run a taxpayer-funded ad campaign from July that encourages firms to slash the prices of their products and services. Those behind the idea are saying that organisations in the UK should be doing more to absorb the effects of inflation, fuel rises, and everything else that’s making consumers feel the squeeze right now. Companies that sign up to the scheme will eventually be able to add the campaign’s name and logo to their branding, as a means of showing their customers, “we’ve got your back”.

Sounds great in principle, doesn’t it? But there’s been backlash from many people in the marketing industry, because the campaign’s messaging is suggesting that businesses should use the money they would usually spend on promoting themselves to offset price hikes.

Basically, what we’re hearing from the government is: when times get tough, stop investing in the things that are helping you attract new customers, so you can look after the ones you’ve already got.

Why is this kind of messaging a problem?

In my opinion, the government is trying to propose a very simple (and misguided) solution to a really complicated problem.

Everything is getting more expensive, which means many companies are having to increase their prices just to stay viable. Most business owners with any sort of moral code will be doing everything in their power to keep these price rises to a minimum – I know I am. So, why should firms who are already worried about their survival now feel pressured into getting rid of the very function they rely on to keep actual enquiries and sales coming in? 

Companies cutting their marketing resources in difficult times is nothing new. It’s a well-known fact that marketing budgets are often the first to be slashed if a business needs to save cash. But it concerns me a LOT that the government is essentially suggesting that marketing is a luxury and not a necessity.

Anyone who has been in business for a little while will understand that marketing isn’t something you can, or should, switch on and off at the drop of a hat. If you stop engaging with your potential customers, they won’t feel the need to buy from you. If you stop showing up and showing everyone what you can offer, people won’t know where to find you. They’ll go to somebody else, instead. And while this is not necessarily an issue when sales are going well, it can lead to disaster if your business takes a downward turn and you’re suddenly struggling to keep revenue coming in. 

Consistent marketing is essential for every business. It’s an investment, not an expense – and if it’s done right, it will pay for itself over time. Getting rid of your marketing staff and resources now is very likely to damage your reputation AND your profits in the long term – so all you’ll be doing is moving today’s challenges to tomorrow.

Perhaps what the government should be saying to companies is, make sure you’re putting your budgets into channels that are likely to work, so you’re getting the best possible return on investment from your marketing activities. Maybe we should all be focusing on streamlining and justifying our marketing spends, not getting rid of them completely.

My final word on the subject…

My advice, for what it’s worth, is don’t let the government convince you to lose your corporate voice at a time when it’s super-important to stay competitive.

Cutting your marketing spend is not in the best interests of your company – but if you’re worried about costs, it could be time to change your approach.   

If you need help finding new and more cost-efficient ways to reach your target audiences, DM me. My team and I offer all sorts of affordable DIY and done for you social media services to help you raise your online profile.

(And if it turns out that social marketing isn’t the right fit for your business right now, we’ve got plenty of talented professionals in our wider network who can help you find an equally effective alternative!) 


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!