Last time out, in Part 1 of this two-part post, I offered some tips on what marketing cuts to make. In this economic climate, after all, you can't not make them.
Today, I'm talking about what NOT to cut in marketing. This time around, the goal is to foresee what initiatives you may actually need to keep intact, or even spend more time and/or money on--assuming you're not in "burn the furniture mode."
Here are six things to consider, according to Pat LaPointe and Dave Reibstein of MarketingNPV in a recent article in MarketingProfs.
2. Research evolving needs. The economy is affecting your customers, too. If your research isn't telling you how their wants and needs are evolving, you probably need to spend a little to find out -- before you end up cutting back the wrong things.
3. Tweak your value proposition. Consider whether your brand's value proposition is strong enough to withstand competitors' challenges -- and whether you might need to strengthen it. Because you can't compete on price alone, unless you have a balance sheet that can take a beating -- and keep taking it.
4. Take a look around. Also consider whether your newer competitors' business models are built on newer technology, or lower-cost structures, than yours. If so, you risk being outflanked -- and may need to spend to gain the maneuverability you need to compete.
5. Retool your messaging. Does your company message strategy still resonate? If not, spend to make it relevant. Shifting costs to new media may lower cost, but your message still has to be on target and in tune with the times, or you won't improve engagement.
6. Consider the key questions you'll have to answer in the next planning cycle. You'll also need to begin testing and experiments to answer them. That'll cost. Spend it, because charm and wit alone won't carry you through the next planning session.
LaPointe and Reibstein conclude: "A little forethought in these areas may help you break the downward cycle of budget cuts by actually demonstrating the value of having your finger on the pulse of the customer, the market, and the business overall."
What do you think? How are you investing during a down economy? How are you positioning yourself for the inevitable upswing?