Friday, March 19, 2010

Think Ahead While Cutting Back: Marketing Priorities in a Recession

  • No company can succeed by cutting expenses alone. But the practical necessity of today's world is cut, cut, and cut some more.
  • Yes, we all should have been smart enough to build sufficiently robust measurement capabilities before the dramatic assault on our budgets began. Yes, we should have put some water in that bucket before the fire consumed so much of the house that marketing built.
  • But we didn't. So where do we turn once all the "fat" has long since been trimmed and all that's left is muscle and bone? And how do we break the downward spiral of cut, cut, and cut some more?
  • Take a step back and define the objectives for making smart cuts:
      • Achieve the target reductions the CEO is asking for (most people stop right here).
      • Support the company strategy for competing successfully.
      • Conduct a thorough and unbiased analysis of all options.
      • Preserve your credibility. Live to fight again another day.
      • If you're not balancing all of these objectives, you'll suffer death by 1,000 cuts yourself.
  • Have you sufficiently reinforced your relationships with profitable customers? Now may be the time to invest in retention, as acquisition gets put on the back burner. Acquisition costs often require a period of time to recapture, and you may not have that luxury.
  • Your customers and their needs are probably changing in response to the economy as well. Is your research effectively capturing their evolving wants, needs, and value-calculus? If not, you may need to spend a bit more on this issue before you can cut back.
  • Finally, present your findings with passion, but not bias. The mantra of the moment is "having run many options by the good people in Finance and Sales, we all feel that the smartest course of action is..."
  • Now is exactly the time to begin building that measurement capability you really wish you'd had over the past few months.

No comments: