We’ve all heard the news, and it isn’t pretty. Sequestration, furloughs, billions of dollars of budget cuts—across the board, everyone’s trying to scale back and pinch pennies.
In times like these, one of the first places many companies look to cut back is the marketing budget. This logic is flawed. (Yes, I know—we’re a marketing firm, so our perspective is a little biased. But hang on, and hear me out.) No matter how tough going things seems now, eventually things will improve, and the economy will recover. When that happens, clients will spend more freely—and you’ll want to make sure you’ve remained visible to prospective customers.
Also, because belt-tightening times inevitably mean that many businesses do scale back, you have an opportunity to capitalize on your competitors’ absence, putting you at a significant competitive advantage.
So, now that I’ve said my piece on why you shouldn’t cut, here are the ‘whats’: five areas within your marketing budget where you should absolutely not scale back.
1. Your Website: This one’s easy. Your website is your face to the world, and the first stop on any potential client’s list. First impressions are critical. Don’t skimp here.
2. Social Media: Currently, 84% of business-to-business marketers use some form of social media. It’s big, and it’s only going to get bigger. At the risk of sounding dramatic, social media is the future of marketing. Your business needs to be there, and you need to be active. (For more insights on the future of marketing, check out this great article written by Hubspot.)
3. Email Marketing: According to a study conducted by iContact, small and midsized businesses are allocating the largest chunk of their marketing budgets to email. Why? Well, for one, 59% of marketers perceive email to be the most effective channel in generating revenue. This area is a critical component, especially in relation to your company’s social media presence and its mobile marketing efforts. Growing your lists and accurately, effectively segmenting subscribers goes a long way in helping your company deliver targeted messages to the right audience.
4. Mobile: As you’ve likely noticed, everyone has a smart phone these days. Last year, mobile ad spending rose by 62% , reaching $6.4 billion. This area is growing faster than almost any other digital effort. If you want to make sure you’re reaching customers in today’s constantly connected culture, mobile marketing is key.
5. Analytics: It’s all about the numbers. Research shows that spending on marketing analytics is expected to increase 60% by 2015. If you’re not collecting and analyzing the data, you’re not getting the most out of your marketing dollars. And you’re likely missing out on a ton of opportunities.
So, there you have it. Those are our thoughts on how to get the most bang for your buck, even in tough times. What do you think? What areas are on your own not-to-cut list? Let us know in the comments.
By: Bethany Nguyen