During periods of economic uncertainty like the one we’re living in now – marked by inflationary pressures and volatility coming out of the pandemic – business owners like yourself have many decisions to make.
One crucial decision is what to do about your marketing program because of the potential impact on your current and future revenues. Should you increase or decrease your marketing budget? Should you hire an outside agency? What are the most effective marketing strategies to generate quality prospects in your pipeline and grow revenues?
Make Your Marketing Work Hard For You
Whatever you decide, you’ll want to make sure your marketing works harder for you so you achieve your financial and return-on-investment goals. Also, you’ll benefit from taking stock of your marketing budget in a way that allows you to strategize with keen insight and discipline.
Even in tough times, you don’t want to miss out on opportunities to scale the growth of your business. You want the program to be unified with airtight strategic alignment with your business goals. This blog will share five marketing tips to consider to achieve your short- and long-term revenue goals.
1. CONTINUE SPENDING ON MARKETING
In turbulent economic times, it’s a natural instinct to cut marketing investments. Conventional thinking goes like this: Hold on to your money. Be sure you can pay your bills. Hunker down and wait to emerge as a viable, growth-obsessed business when markets stabilize.
These are all reasonable ideas. But they’re generally not advisable. You don’t want to cut spending on marketing during tough times. Instead, you want to keep spending as much as you have been – or even more.
Don’t “slash” your marketing budget
“Don't slash your budget,” an article in MediaPost says. “The temptation to cut spending during a recession is strong for marketers who only see short-term concerns. But history has proven the brands that continue to market and spend during recessions end up reaping the largest benefits when the economy rebounds.”
An article in Forbes illuminates this point by conveying what transpired because of marketing decisions made by McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell during the 1990-1991 recession.
While the hamburger giant halted its advertising and promotions, the pizza maker and taco specialist rambled on with spending promotions and boosted sales by 61 percent and 40 percent respectively. McDonald’s sales plummeted 28 percent.
Seize better marketing opportunities during economic uncertainty
There’s another sound reason to continue spending during difficult periods. You’ll often get better returns on your marketing investments. Why? Because as more of your competitors exit the marketing arena, you’ll stand out more.
Let us explain. Suppose you continue to post one educational blog a week on your website to help your customers understand their industry trends better. If your competitors cease spending to produce these blogs, where will customers go to stay current on these trends? Your website is one likely place; your competitor’s website is an unlikely place. As a result, you’re bound to generate more sales leads and revenue growth.
2. EMBRACE A MARKET RESILIENCY MINDSET
During uncertain economic times, make a steadfast commitment to market resiliency. Yes, this sounds like a faddish business phrase, but it’s actually straightforward and important.
When you embrace marketing resiliency, you continue pouring money into marketing to strengthen customer awareness about your brand and how you can solve their biggest pain points. The key here is using marketing resiliency’s step-by-step sequence to achieve high-performing marketing.
Identify marketing strategies that work best
Kick off this process by accessing the current economic and market situation. Pinpoint which specific marketing investments pay off the most for your business. You may discover, for instance, that over the past year posting blogs on your website has generated twice as many sales leads as posts on Twitter. Knowing this, dedicate more dollars to creating blogs.
Next, identify which marketing tactics are likely to generate the most investment paybacks through the next six months and three years out. By sorting out these details, you’re bound to make more agile and smart marketing investments for long-term success.
3. OPTIMIZE YOUR MARKETING BUDGET
You’ll also want to optimize your marketing budget by being shrewd in how you prioritize investments. A smart place to start is finding out how much it costs for a marketing agency to develop a marketing plan for your business.
Costs for a marketing agency’s marketing plan
To produce a marketing plan for your business, LAIRE charges in the range of $5,500-$15,000 per month. The exact cost depends on your budget and unique business needs. Benefits of the plan include:
- a detailed competitive analysis;
- content audit and keyword gap assessment;
- website audit;
- your ideal customers or buyer personas;
- sales process research;
- social media audit; and
- 6-to-12 months' worth of strategy.
Having a documented plan is crucial.
“Without a marketing plan, you could waste hundreds or thousands of dollars using an unclear message, on the wrong channel, targeting the wrong buyer – making you spin your wheels with no results,” according to a recent blog from our team. “With a marketing plan, we know exactly who we are targeting, why, and how.”
What should you spend on marketing?
You’ll also benefit from learning what percentage of total revenues a typical company spends on marketing. In the past year, annual marketing spending climbed above 10 percent of overall revenues and this percentage is predicted to rise in the next year, according to Deloitte.
This means companies are spending more on marketing and will likely continue doing so for the next year and beyond. Why? Because it helps grow revenues.
Take advantage of tax-deductible marketing expenses
To further heighten your marketing investment outcomes, take advantage of numerous tax-deductible marketing expenses such as:
- consulting or marketing agency retainer;
- social media;
- technology and marketing software;
- multimedia and print advertising; and
- special promotions.
You’ll gain full benefits from these tax breaks by planning your business budget one year in advance. And include marketing as a necessary operating expense you can deduct from your taxes.
4. STRENGTHEN YOUR MARKETING RESOURCES
You should consider asking yourself whether you should hire a marketing agency or bring into your business full-time, in-house marketing professionals. There are advantages to both. If you hire an agency, you’ll gain these benefits:
- access to more people and sets of skills;
- remain “hands-off” compared to managing an in-house team, freeing your time to focus on other priorities; and
- spend less money when you factor in salary, benefits, overhead, and administrative expenses.
But be aware of these realities:
- you are likely not the agency’s only client; they have to spend time helping others; an in-house marketer works full-time for you; and
- you’ll probably have to spend considerable horsepower educating your agency professionals about many aspects of your business; especially early in the relationship, they’ll have a lot of questions; answering them will take time away from your other important work.
5. FOCUS ON WHAT WORKS BEST
You’ll want to spend a large percentage of your marketing dollars on the most effective business-to-business channels. Here’s a list of those from HubSpot's 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Report:
- social media (45%);
- search engine optimization (SEO)/website/blog (41%);
- email marketing (38%); and
- content marketing (33%).
Which marketing channels are especially effective?
The short answer to this complicated question is they consistently deliver bigger returns on marketing investment dollars such as the all-important sales leads and revenue growth opportunities. Each channel delivers specific benefits.
- social media boosts brand awareness and engages your target audience;
- SEO raises search engine visibility;
- email marketing nurtures leads; and
- content marketing builds trusting relationships with potential buyers.
Enhance your website
Your customers may search your website to find out whether they’re interested in your products or services. If they do, you want them to experience an easy-to-navigate, simple-to-scan, and understand website.
To deliver this, routinely update the site with fresh, timely, and valuable content such as blogs, videos, and webinar recordings. Make sure they can download content from your site quickly.
When your customer goes to Google and types in a question such as “manufacturing products for commercial real estate construction,” you want them to find your website at the top of the first page of the Google search engine.
How? By inserting the keyword string “manufacturing products for commercial real estate construction” consistently throughout your website pages.
Keep Looking Forward
So here you are running your business in an environment of widespread economic uncertainty. The great news is that from a marketing perspective you have a special opportunity to generate more sales leads, customers, and revenues. Now is a time to stand out, be noticed, tell your story, and differentiate your company like never before. If you’re looking for a partner to help you get there, we’re here for you.