Marketing Through Our Economic Fears

The recession has lasted much longer than many of us anticipated. For many, it has had the most far-reaching financial effects since the Great Depression. So it’s no surprise that while many organizations are doing just fine, they continue to stand pat and not make the investments necessary for continued growth.

As a marketing service provider, I have a unique perspective that comes from both marketing our business while providing those same services to our clients. It’s clear to me that most organizations do not put the proper resources and dollars into marketing themselves. In fact, many view marketing as a cost-center area rather than a valuable tool to grow the business.

Companies that are doing well––and there are many––have continued to hoard cash and refrain from reinvestment in capital projects as well as marketing efforts. It’s curious to me that every time business slows in our economy, the first budget cuts made are in the marketing departments. Doesn’t it make sense to increase your marketing efforts when business declines? Don’t we need to focus MORE on developing new business?

The cost of marketing in today’s digital world allows us to build an integrated marketing plan that fits into a broad range of budgets. Marketing through the use of digital tools such as email and social media carries a very low price point, and in some cases, it’s free. In fact, there’s a big shift away from traditional marketing toward interactive methods (see chart). The time resources to develop the messaging and creative are often the majority of the costs involved.

So if it’s this easy, why isn’t everyone doing it? Most organizations that are paralyzed by fear lack a clear strategy of who to market to, how they should be reached, and what message they need to hear. They just don’t see the benefits. Additionally, they lack a clear understanding of how to use the new media now available. After all, the myriad of icons we see from the different social sites is enough to make us crazy. It’s easier to pull in the reigns than to spend valuable time and resources on all of this change.

Here at Vanguard, we struggle with spending valuable dollars on marketing but recognize that it’s a vital link to future business relationships. As a business leader, it’s important for me to look at the “Marketing” line on the financial statements as an opportunity for new business rather than a cost center. Personally, I’m grateful we now have new and cost-effective avenues of communication. So my question to the audience is, what are you doing differently to market your organization?

Author: Robert O’Connell

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