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Marketing expenditure in times of uncertainty? The answer is in the numbers

The current Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in unprecedented business and economic uncertainty and many businesses are quite understandably looking to scale-back operating costs and preserve cash resources.

Government efforts are focused on the steps necessary to ‘flatten the curve’ and speed resolution while minimising the economic, societal and emotional impact of the pandemic. While none of us can predict its duration, we do know that it will end, and the crisis will pass.

What marketing performance insights should leadership expect from their management and marketing agencies and contractors?

In these times, the greatest service that managers can do is to provide business leaders with quality data and insights that inform and support their decision-making. This is as true of marketing as any other business function, and unless marketing expenditure is resolutely evidence-based, it is understandable that in times of uncertainty, businesses would elect to ‘switch everything off’ and think about rebooting once it all ‘settles down’.

Everyone has witnessed the massive demand for products such as toilet paper, hand sanitisers, facemasks and dried / canned foodstuffs, and there have been similar demands for working-from-home goods such as office desks, small home printers, audio visual equipment for teleconferencing such as webcams and headsets. Similarly, there is a huge upwards swing in home education and entertainment options such as children’s books, puzzles, games, children’s desks and associated items to manage home schooling requirements.

How can the data help us forecast demand in long sales cycle B2B products

As many B2B markets are characterised by long planning and sales cycles, the speed of change is less obvious, and it is more difficult to assess shifts in demand. While the purchase transaction may be delayed, the purchase intention remains strong, and prospective buyers have more time to research a potential purchase and may shift their focus towards (for example) finance options and managed maintenance services, rather than the technical or product specifications.

Identifying the data that business leaders need right now to make informed marketing investment decisions

There might be lots of philosophical reasons to maintain marketing, but in a crisis, business leaders need more, and informed decisions demand a deep understanding of the numbers. The problem with numbers is that the important ones are often deeply buried, difficult to find, difficult to assemble and difficult to interpret.

On behalf of our clients, EvettField recently developed a methodology and conducted an analytical ‘deep-dive’ to source and assemble the data our clients need to make sound, evidence-based decisions about the structure, shape and dimensions of their digital marketing activities.

We have found compelling evidence that despite stable demand, many competitors of our clients are ‘switching off’ their marketing, and as competitors are no longer bidding on market demand, a business that stays in the game can capture a much larger share of the market (even if the overall market is slightly declined), and at a much lower cost-per-reach.

Momentum is everything – how to avoid losing critical ground in a rapidly changing market

The fast-acting negative impacts of reducing marketing and advertising presence is the loss of velocity and the resulting reduced rankings. Momentum matters in online marketing and ‘dead stops’ are much more damaging than gradual decreases or staged reductions. The rankings that many businesses achieve now across a number of primary keywords and phrases is a result of the cumulative effect of the last years work, supported by the consistency of new / fresh content and regular advertising support. Google rewards both of these activities and punishes ‘emergency stops’. It may stay afloat for a few weeks, however once all activity stops, the rankings tend to fall off a cliff and become much more difficult to rebuild once market confidence is back. Think of it as a ‘flywheel’ or a steam train trying to get out of the station. Starting and gaining momentum is much more difficult (and costly) than maintaining momentum once speed is achieved.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Each business needs to uncover the data and evidence-base that supports decision-making for its specific market. Business leaders make decisions based on the best short, medium and long-term interests of the organisation, and marketing needs to step up to the plate and provide the hard data necessary for business leaders to make informed decisions.

If you are not currently receiving this information from your marketing management, agency or contractor, call our Sydney office on +61 2 9299 8883.

We are here to help.

 

#B2B #marketing #expenditure #budget #performance #coronavirus

#EvettField™ #StrategySnapshots™

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