Why delay marketing?
Amongst our business connections a common opening question is ‘How’s business?’. On the occasions this is not treated as idle chit-chat we are currently hearing that for many businesses things are OK – despite the circumstances. Those prevailing circumstances might be the impact of Brexit on exporting, the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy and fuel costs, tightened budgets due to the cost of living or the ‘hangover’ from covid.
That is not to say it is tickety-boo for everyone. There is a significant portion of the economy that is in distress. However the balance is in favour of ‘It’s OK’.
The conversation that follows, though, is quite revealing. ‘Who knows what is round the corner.’ The circumstances if not the media coverage have made us all wary of what the economy is going to bring us this year. The next common comment is ‘We have a lot of proposals out there. But not a lot of action.’
This is certainly true for us. A quick totting up shows that we had done 17 proposals during October, November and December but only 3 of those have resulted in a decision.
What’s going on?
We think it is an understandable reticence to invest in marketing even though things are OK… because of what might be round the corner. Historically we know this is unwise decision-making, or in reality an unwise lack of decision-making. It is long proven that those that continue to invest in marketing during recessions not only fare those recessions better but come out the other side stronger too.
If demand is going to fall there will be greater competition for those fewer customers. Who is going to win that competition, the business that continues marketing or the business that retreats from marketing?
If demand is going to remain static where will the share of the market shift to, the business that continues marketing or the business that retreats from marketing?
If demand increases who will win the larger portion of any growth, the business that continues marketing or the business that retreats from marketing?
In our nearly 20 years of trading we have once shied from investing in our own marketing. Psychologically it took us three years to return to a ‘growth mindset’, financially it took another 2 years!
I think our message is plain. If you are postponing an investment in marketing to see how the economy fares you are almost guaranteeing your own downturn. If, instead, you commit to carefully planned marketing you are going to stack the odds in your favour.