Trimming the Fat
No one likes to talk about budget cuts. Usually, it means that the company is struggling and in order to extend the life of the company and increase the likelihood of profitability returning, upper management instructs all departments to reduce expenses. This is often referred to as “trimming the fat” where the “fat” refers to non-critical expenses.
The Majority of Marketing is not “Fat”
While some marketing departments have been bogged down by bureaucratic layers, most marketing departments are already comprised of small close-knit teams. Getting rid of members will more than likely reduce morale of those remaining and drastically reduce productivity. Budget cuts don’t always mean removing or re-purposing people. In fact, most employees stay – at least in the beginning – while project and advertisement dollars are the first to go.
Cut Smart – If at All
Slashing the marketing budget should be prevented when possible. And in the event that cutting is needed the least effective projects should be the first to go. This must be done with the utmost care because marketing is the life-blood of every company in the world. Something I always point out to clients and colleagues is that you can have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows about it no one will buy it. When a company starts feeling financial struggle a panic sets in and they begin to focus on saving money in every way they can. While this isn’t a bad thing it can cause problems that accelerate the decline rather than reverse it.
Effective vs Expensive – Getting the Help You Need
I do not believe there is a direct correlation between cost and effectiveness. While the old adage “you get what you pay for” is true 90% of the time; there will be a level where the increase in cost will not correspond to the effectiveness. Moreover, there are times when just because there is a large price tag doesn’t mean there will be success. There are plenty of companies that are shining examples of how to achieve national-level competition on a mediocre marketing budget. But, there are just as many that showcase what not to do. Keep in mind that steering a company that is experiencing financial issues will cost money. So, to effectively reverse the decline one must focus on the departments that matter and make the cuts in other areas.
Don’t Stop Believing
Without marketing no company will succeed and flourish. Sure, the company may skimp by (if it is small) but if it is large it will flounder and fail. Budget cuts are hard for a company, but cutting the budget of the department whose sole purpose is to bring customers in will cause more issues than it will fix. Certain cuts can be made if absolutely necessary, but a large portion of the department will need to continue to run to right the course of the company. If the marketing department has hit a wall, or you simply do not have a department it would be wise to find a company that can provide you a “marketing department for hire”.
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