It has been three weeks since the last sharing of my thoughts on subjects that impact our business and personal lives. Today I am focusing on an insightful article I just recently read titled “Is it time to Slow Your Marketing?”
I have touched on a similar topic several weeks ago, and since we as a nation are starting to open up again in an attempt to get back to “normal” (whatever that means), it is worth diving deeper into the subject matter. That being said, let me provide you a little context in an effort to clarify my approach to this subject. I consider myself not only a marketing professional but an educator as well. Having taught the subject for about 14 years at Hartnell College and having spoken at numerous industry events on various aspects of marketing. The thoughts expressed in this reflection are based on numerous case studies, grounded in science and my professional experience.
Many business people are somewhat dismissive when it comes to marketing; thinking it is perhaps an optional tactical function of their businesses rather than looking at it as a science (a social science to be exact) and a critical function in the overall strategy of an organization. Perhaps marketers ourselves have hurt our profession because of what I call a “window dressing approach” to marketing. Meaning, just make it pretty and people will buy. This could not be further from the truth. Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” He, as you know, was a scientist. Marketing by its scientific nature is creative and creativity is intelligent. Thus having a solid marketing strategy is simply the SMART thing to do in every situation and circumstance.
So going back to the question; Cutting Marketing – Does this make sense? The answer is an emphatic NO. During challenging times like we are in, it is instinctive to pull back certain business activities and sadly marketing is usually one of the first things business people cut. This is a counter intuitive reaction. Something that is strategically integral to the success of your business is not something that should be on the chopping block. What you change is your approach and messaging, and not the budget. Scott Bennett, senior account manager at MultiView said, “While you are trying to keep your business’ head above water, pulling advertising is like throwing away your life line.” As far as I am concerned as a professional and educator, he couldn’t be more right.
In these multidimensional crazy times we are in, it is critical to get past the misguided fear and misplaced judgement and look forward with your marketing strategy while thinking about how what you are doing contributes to the stability (and sustainability) of your organization. “Advertisers should not be hiding during these hard times,” said Frank Rosenstern, platform manager at MultiView. “They need to be showing value, acting responsibly, and doing right by their employees and the communities they serve.” This is yet another important topic I shared with you several weeks ago. He added, “conveying this type of message shows their target audience they care about the world, their employees, and most of all their customers.” The most important you can do as a business leader is to convey a message to your target audience that you are still here and that your business or organization will continue to be here for your customers and community. “Without sounding callously optimistic.”
As with the other articles I have written, I always provide some tangible takeaways and encourage you to look at how you can implement them in your organizations, given the current climate.
Things you ought not change
- Your mission – it is not a wise idea to change your mission, it is an ideal time to look at how you reach that mission.
- Your work ethic/customer service/dependability – your reputation also proceeds, so you simply cannot stop providing value to your customers. We all want to maintain a happy, satisfied and loyal customer base.
- Your Ad Spend – every professional I know would advise a client not to hit the pause button or cancel your advertising campaigns altogether. Rather, if you decide to make a change, re-allocating to other areas that support your strategic objectives is the wiser choice, ie: digital marketing or customer retention marketing.
Thing you should change
- Your marketing allocations – with so many people stuck at home, you need to adjust your strategy to meet your audience where they are at. If you need ideas let me know.
- Your message – OMG this is critical! If there ever was a time to communicate and embrace empathy in your marketing, NOW is the time. By doing this you are not just supporting your brands, products or services, you are also quelling fear and spreading hope.
- Your outlook – If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. Think about resiliency and focus on now with an eye to the future. Saint Junipero Serra was famous for saying, “Always look forward, never back.”
- Your visibility – In times of crisis, your customers need to see you! It is imperative that you keep your name out there, your message and your values updated and maintain that top of mind position in your customers minds.
Times like these call for courage to advance versus retreat. Refocus your marketing efforts and strategy, stay the course, and don’t make decisions that will allow your competitors into your space and you become a distant memory to those you worked so hard to serve.
Happy Marketing – there are better days ahead!
Nicholas M. Pasculli