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Brands & Businesses Shouldn't Be So Quick to Cut Marketing & PR Budgets


“When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.” – Advertising pioneer Bruce Barton, more than 100 years ago.


That’s a mantra that should apply to all advertising, marketing and public relations for any business or brand. But the universal playbook for companies when in a recession is to cut the public relations and marketing budget first, as if this particular expenditure was on the same line as ‘petty cash.’


Yet according to a pair of marketing professors, “companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it. But they did change what they were spending their marketing budget on and when to reflect the new context in which they operated.”


In other words, instead of eliminating their marketing spend companies instead became more tactical.


Businesses – heck, entire industries – have done it in the past. In 2008 for instance, at the height of the recession spawned by the housing crisis, Las Vegas casinos found themselves with plummeting revenue due to less visitors, especially conventions. But the city’s hotels pivoted and started promoting and marketing the hiring of world-class DJs to spin records – some commanding six-figure salaries for a single night’s performance at the hottest nightclubs on the Strip, and luring the young and wealthy who are more than willing to stand in long lines to pay $50 entrance fees and $550 for a bottle of Grey Goose.

“The downturn in the economy could have killed Las Vegas even worse than it did,” nightclub impresario Sean Christie said. “Nightlife saved Las Vegas.”

And all from a simple shift in marketing.

Look, marketing – whether through traditional advertising or through the efforts of public relations pros to get brands media placements – is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Doesn’t matter what kind or how big the business is, the LAST THING you want to do is cut the budget and potentially surrender market share. And, as it relates to the work that PR pros do, quite often brands will find that P2P partnership rates will be lowered because of the recession.


In addition, continued marketing – especially when public relations firms are working their contacts and sources correctly for media placement – can bring in new customers instead of missing out or, worse, losing existing customers due to a lack of relevance. Ultimately, marketing is about relationships between brand and consumer. Losing the chance to continue fostering that relationship could be problematic, at best, and costly, at worst.


So don’t cut. Let your competitors cut their marketing budgets and whittle down the number of players in the marketplace while you spend at the same pace. Your brand will be all the better for it.


Interested in learning more - email our CEO Samantha@mediamaison.com and she will give you her additional 2 cents on the topic!

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