This morning, marketing and business development consultant Jim Hassett asked “When the economy goes down, should marketing spending go up?”
Here are my thoughts:
It depends on how much firms are currently spending on marketing.
If they have undertaken a careful marketing planning process that is focused on the clients they have, the clients they want, what messages are appropriate to tell each of these groups, if they have determined what needs these two groups have, what their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are, where and how they should reach them, etc., and have built a budget and a plan around all of these factors, then they need to stay the course, but make sure follow-up and accountability to the components of this plan are being paid attention to…with laser-like focus.
If firms are committing what I would call “random acts of marketing,” and feel like they are faltering with no apparent results, then they might need to visit all of the above, as well as their marketing budget, and ramp it up immediately.
A down economy, as well as a good one, is a perfect time to focus on marketing, as well as what services you offer your clients. Their needs might be changing too. The difference with a down economy is that everyone at the firm might not be working as much as they could or should, so this might be the perfect time to get their attention, and to coach and lead everyone in to an active marketing and business development mindset.
If you like the results you are achieving, then stay the course, but with more passion and diligence than ever before. If you don’t, then something needs to change. It might be your marketing budget, it might be your marketing tactics, it might be your marketing and business development behavior, or any of a number of other changes.
One thing I would definitely change would be to help your clients understand that you understand exactly what they are going through in this economy. If you don’t know what they are going through, or exactly how it has impacted their business, then this is the perfect time to ask, or have someone else go out and ask, them what they are going through. Client service can shine during this time, so take advantage of it, and become the best trusted and caring advisors possible.