General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and Camel cigarettes all came to prominence around 1935. In 1929, however, they were either unknown or lagging brands. What they shared in common was the way they attacked an economic downturn with a relentless investment in marketing. As a result of their willingness to spend while the bigger brands retreated, all three companies became household brands and case study legends.
Regardless of the economic forecast for 2023, businesses will be carefully evaluating budgets across departments—and marketing is no exception. When it comes to budgeting for next year, it’s crucial for marketing professionals to take careful stock of their current initiatives and priorities and not make rash decisions. Companies that invest smartly and consistently during economic downturns will gain a competitive advantage.
According to Vijay Govindarajan and Anup Srivastava (Harvard Business Review, How Companies Should Invest in a Downturn, June 17, 2022), the current economic landscape offers unique opportunities to judiciously invest in the future. The authors believe smart marketers will need to focus on having a robust strategy and segment their markets during confusing times. In addition, they argue that if the economy does turn downward, the smartest organizations will recognize it as a time to invest and acquire resources.
As any good marketer knows, you simply cannot cut your way to prosperity. While others may recede, great brands endear themselves to their communities by investing in their collective future. History has shown us time and again that downturns tend to be short-lived and followed by long periods of expansion. The winners that emerge during these challenging times are those that capitalize on the opportunity.
Marketing during a period of economic uncertainty may seem daunting. However, with the right strategy in place, a deep understanding of your buyer’s journey, ongoing measurement, and a fair amount of grit, marketing professionals can execute campaigns that drive value for the business. Whether the economy grows, shrinks, or remains flat, the time for marketing is now.
The timing of our latest issue is good, too. Our cover story, “Making Sense,” highlights how budgeting is more difficult when the future is unclear. The article provides a look into how marketers are planning to use their budgets, along with advice on some unique avenues to spend money. In our second feature, “Smart Money,” we remind you how to find inspiration with intuition. Data is great, but it is a good time to re-engage our intuition.
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Enjoy and warmest regards,