Nov 30, 2015

Honey, somebody shrunk the budget!

5 tips for marketers suffering from a sudden budget cut.
By Ward Pennebaker

Seasoned marketers face this question frequently. Especially in a downturn, when marketing budgets are often the first to be cut—while operational dollars are protected. Nobody wants to see a layoff, but a newsletter won’t be missed, right? Then, there’s the matter of perception. Even companies with deep pockets want to appear frugal in front of their stakeholders.

And yet, marketing cannot come to a halt. It’s what keeps your employees informed. It’s your way of maintaining client relationships and keeping your prospects interested. It’s what will, in the long term, keep your lights on.

In fact, many believe that an industry downturn is the perfect time for marketing. When everybody else gets quiet—your voice will be heard, and when the tide turns, your name will be top of mind. Ta-da!

Until then, here are some thoughts to consider.

  1. Trade in trade shows for lunch’n’learns

    For many companies, trade shows are critical catalysts in expanding business. But the cost of booth rental, team travel, décor and presentation materials can be significant. The alternative: Invite your top prospects to lunch and learn at your own office.

  2. Join forces with a partner

    Consider joining forces with other like-minded companies to promote joint events or initiatives. Find partners with similar customer profiles that need a broader range of services. Be clear in the value each partner brings to the relationships.

  3. Balance in-house and external resources

    Does your in-house marketing team have bandwidth? Use their skills where you would normally assign to an agency. Use of templates adds efficiency and keeps the creative consistent.Is your internal team overburdened? Tapping an agency can give you professional products without the costs of an additional employee.

  4. Cap your pay-per-click and retargeting ads

    Afraid of drowning in the PPC waters? You don’t need to be seen 24/7. Tighten your cap by being selective about time, geographic area and number of impressions, and you will still realize some happy rewards.

  5. Turn your marketing focus inward

    In difficult times employees need more communication from management. Where do we stand? What’s next? Should I be worried?Keeping them informed allows to focus on their tasks at hand and gives them confidence in management’s decisions.Focus on thorough, informatireve content for intranet and newsletters, facilitate internal presentations, invite big ideas and incite contributions—then watch the energy of your staff move the company forward.

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