Why many CFOs and CEO are right to cut marketing in tough times 

By Colin Kennedy 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – CONTENT MARKETING: Accountants take a lot of heat, particularly your CFOs and CEOs, for slashing marketing budgets when times get tough—despite so much advice to the contrary. I don’t blame them. 

Financial officers of a company will look to cut costs, to give the ‘balloon’ more ballast, particularly where a cost centre fails to add value—to pull its weight. And that is the problem with marketing. It should go if it is not adding value or providing visible results during a downturn. It is a problem of marketing’s own making for the following reasons: 

Same old same old 

Just because you should market in challenging times doesn’t mean you should carry on doing the same thing. 

When times get tough, most marketers do the same thing they have always done. They are promoting the same messages, offering discounts, and rolling out entertaining or shallow content marketing in an environment where everything has changed. 

In tough times, customer problems are different. Their stresses shift, priorities change, and they have new issues. If your customers aren’t listening, it is because you have become irrelevant, and marketing is no longer pulling its weight.  

How many marketers plan for an economic downturn when times are still good? Do they research how customer behaviour and priorities will change and prepare for that? Or do they keep right on even when the boat is burning? No right-minded company officer will put money on a lame duck. 

Marketing that adds value will shift to meet the market, and the results will show.  

Blinded by stardust  

Marketing is like playing in the sandbox every day; consequently, we can lose sight of the fact that a company’s survival and growth is a serious business. 

It should not be about what’s cool and sexy or easy. Good marketing is about bottom-line dollars and sense—whether you earn money for the company or not. 

Don’t chase a stunning TV commercial because it’s grand or take up podcasting because that’s what is cool right now or do chatbots because they’re sexy.  

Instead, develop the shortest channel between you and your customer and use messages that speak to what they are experiencing today, not yesterday. 

 Ask yourself, how can I be more effective for less?  

Add value. Think about your strategy. Cut your cloth to suit the times. Communicate for a new reality. 

Do that and any good CEO or CFO will love what you do. 

Oh, and make sure you measure everything. 

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