With more companies likely to tighten their financial budgets going into 2012, ask yourself if your business has the financial stomach to spend more on marketing, about the same as this year, or even possibly reduce what you spent these last 12 months.
That thought especially holds true with online marketing, given that your company has a real-time impact with both current and potential customers in a matter of minutes, something that cannot be achieved through more traditional ways like newspapers, radio ads, flyers, newsletters etc.
According to a recent The CMO Survey, even with an up-and-down economy forecast to continue into 2012, chief marketing officers are looking to add to spending on all aspects of marketing in 2012.
This will especially be true when it comes to funds for social media marketing (see more on importance of social media in marketing below). The survey also goes on to note that companies will likely grow spending for marketing hires, likely around 7.2 percent on average in the next year.
That being said, those companies looking to reduce their marketing expenditures in 2012 have ways to cut back and still get some bang for their dollar, however they need to be creative to say the least.
The last thing companies will want to do is turn down or even off their marketing engines to the point that the competition takes advantage of the downswing.
In the event your company is thinking about trimming the marketing budget for the New Year, keep several factors in mind:
- Stay the course – Keeping your marketing awareness and staying engaged is less expensive than having to try and get it back down the road when the economy improves;
- Exude confidence – When you slash your marketing expenses out of what appears to be fear, current and potential customers may lose faith in your abilities. The common perception when you make such a move is that your company may be lacking some stability, therefore leading customers to question you;
- The competition likes you – When a company slashes its marketing budget, a competitor sees an opening. The competitor, who may in fact have cut back some too, could seize the opportunity to pitch their message to some of your current customers or leads you were pursuing. If that happens, you could find yourself on the outside looking in when it comes to getting that business at some point;
- Vendors may be willing to work with you – Businesses have to remember that not only are they looking to save dollars here and there, but many they work with are too. The companies you work with for your promotional items, printing, display, etc. are more apt to want to work with you than lose you altogether as a client. Just because financial times are tough does not mean there may not be some deals to be had;
- Re-evaluate your marketing techniques – Whether you are cutting back or not in 2012 on your marketing operations, take the time now to review 2011. What has worked with your marketing plans? What did not work? What are some techniques you would like to try but have hesitated in doing so up to this point? Use the last 12 months as a guiding tool for the next 12;
- Are you properly using social media? – Even though social media is there for the taking, too many businesses still do not take advantage of all it has to offer. With sites like Facebook and Twitter just to name two, companies should be sure to have fan pages set up and maximized to the hilt. Be sure that your marketing team is taking the time and effort to share and tweet pertinent information about the company, its products and services. Given the fact that more businesses will be transitioning from initial adoption of SM marketing to a more reflective and refined campaign, they are apt to want data that clearly defines the cost-effectiveness of such campaigns. Having another year of experience with social media techniques, more companies will likely show more sophistication when it comes to properly surfing the social media channel. As a result, they will seek more tools that properly enable tracking, measuring and bettering their returns on investment.
Take a look at your marketing techniques, go into 2012 with a plan in place, and market your company to success.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects’ document management and HR software, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.