Ad Budgets And The Economy
Since things began to go south with the economy, there’s been a lot of talk about ad budgets. And the admonition from agencies to their clients has essentially been “don’t cut them.” (Or more accurately, “please, don’t cut them.”)
Agencies write articles that cite other marketers who say that the best time to build a business is during a downturn. And that conclusion means marketing efforts should be stepped up, as opposed to throttled down, when things get tight.
Here’s the problem. When companies are forced to tighten their belts, they start with the things they consider to be non-essentials. Which, in turn, begs the observation: If the marketing program is truly doing its job, then it wouldn’t be on the non-essential list to begin with, would it?
Hard times are not the time to begin convincing a client that marketing and advertising matter. That case should be proved all along.
So, if I’m an agency, and I’m doing ads but not really having an impact on my client’s business, then these lean times are a wake up call that challenge me to get focused on helping my client make money. If I do that then I’m practically bulletproof.
On the other hand, if I’m the client, I become painfully aware during these times that I have no real expectations for my marketing partners to be able to impact my bottom line. Which begs the question, “If marketing can’t help me through tough times, why do I invest when times are good?" And that’s a bullet through the head of the agency, and anyone else, responsible for sales and marketing.
So the bottom line is this: If your company has felt it was a prudent move to cut marketing dollars because they are considered soft dollars, then it’s probably time to face the hard fact that something is very, very wrong with your marketing program and needs to be fixed quickly.