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Never Underestimate the Power of Marketing

By Marty Shindler
"We spend far too much on marketing," a CEO told me as we performed the business card swapping ritual at a Los Angeles networking event.

"In fact, as we review potential cutbacks in the operation, I am seriously considering a sharp reduction in the entire marketing budget," she continued, "We just cannot afford it right now, not in this environment."

"Is it really too much marketing," I asked, "or just not the right marketing?"

We never did get to finish the conversation, but it got me to thinking about the number of companies which are cutting back these days, often to appease Wall Street.

One knee-jerk reaction to tough times at many companies is to cut the marketing budget. A more proactive approach would be to take a hard look at how marketing funds are spent and the cost-effectiveness of those expenditures.

Do not underestimate the power of marketing. If your company is losing market share and facing decreased revenues, the appropriate response may very well be to increase marketing, to make sure your companys message is getting out correctly. This can be particularly effective when competitors are cutting their marketing budgets. Increasing the amount spent, particularly on advertising, could enable you to pick up new customers at the competitors expense.

Even if some cutbacks are inevitable, they should be prioritized with an eye to the big picture. Thats where assessing the effectiveness of your efforts is important. Re-allocating the same budget total across a new set of priorities can often have very positive results.

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