by Jennifer Green, CEO
The economy is struggling. Inflation is up, interest rates are rising, and businesses are justifiably nervous. Smart companies are eyeing the bottom line and watching trends carefully. To keep your business on course, you may have to make some hard financial decisions. I know. I’m a business owner myself.
But where should you cut? Ask a financial expert, and some may tell you to go straight to the heart of your marketing budget. After all, marketing is a big-ticket item that isn’t crucial to the overall health of most businesses, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
As a business owner, I completely understand the penchant to cut in areas that seem peripheral. It makes perfect sense–on the surface anyway. But as someone who has been in the marketing industry for nearly three decades and more than a few economic downturns, I’ve seen the damage caused by cutting marketing, firsthand. It’s not pretty.
In fact, Forbes analyzed several economic downturns from the past century and found that the consequences of slashing marketing when the going gets tough can have a decades-long impact. Some businesses never recover.
So when budget cuts are top of mind, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t cut your marketing—even when times are tough.
You cut off your sales funnel
I can’t stress this enough: marketing is integral to sales. It brings in leads and helps build the sales pipeline. Don’t make the mistake of putting marketing into a “support” bucket. Cuts to marketing will mean fewer leads and eventually, fewer sales. In fact, companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it.
You’ll lose touch with your audience
Marketing is about more than just reaching new customers. It’s also about staying in touch with your existing clients, showcasing your offerings and sharing your expertise. Marketing is a way to communicate your value, and without that engine working on behalf of your business, you cut off an important inroad to your customer base.
Your business will risk becoming irrelevant
Worse than losing touch, becoming irrelevant is much more painful to your business—and more difficult to repair. How can you become irrelevant? Simply put, if you stop communicating, your audience will forget about you. Think it can’t happen to you? It can—and has—to some of the biggest brands in the world. They became complacent, stopped marketing and the sales funnel slowly dried up. So did industry attention, media attention, and general visibility elsewhere. People moved on.
A business that stays relevant, stays around, even during challenging times.