While marketing budgets typically shrink during a recession, there are non-cash assets that marketers can leverage to generate business and create the foundation of a more expedient recovery when that day arrives. In this issue of Linus Report, we suggest several activities that marketers can engage in immediately for thriving under a leaner marketing organization, simultaneously generating short-term business while not losing sight of the long-view. We suggest auditing internal assets, making adjustments to the company’s brand strategy, experimenting with new ideas, and having a plan in place early enough to capitalize on the recovery.
It is commonly believed that recessions often result in the strong getting stronger while the weak get weaker. As the global economy is still in deep recession and shows few signs of a rebound despite trillions of dollars in government-led stimuli from multiple countries, companies in the science sector are beginning to brace for difficult times ahead. So what are scientific companies doing to try to navigate such a harsh climate without getting weaker, or in more optimistic situations, to achieve greater strength?
Interestingly, a recent survey of top executives of analytical and life science instrument and laboratory product companies reported that only 1/3 of the executives “believe that the prospects for the instrument business will decline over the next six months”; The remaining 2/3 of respondents have a rosier picture in their crystal ball.i Regardless, the majority of companies are tightening their belts as part of their strategy to navigate the current climate. This is typically bad news for the marketing departments, as marketing budgets are usually the first sacrifices that most scientific companies make.
History shows over and over that companies who cut their investments in vital operations such as marketing during a recession have a much harder time recovering once the recession is over, and typically fail to recover to the same level as their counterparts who continued investing in marketing during the same recession. Still, most scientific companies are quick to pull back on marketing and advertising activities. ii
While mass marketing typically requires large budgets in order to make a worthwhile impact, one thing is certain: doing nothing will contribute to the inevitable weakening of the company. Worse, reactionary marketing tactics for short-term sales can significantly erode profits and the company’s positioning or brand in the market.
Instead, marketers can make significant positive impact by leveraging other, non-cash assets in a smart and methodical way. By applying creativity to finding assets that a marketing department already owns, then devising a marketing plan to leverage these assets will not only help the company gain additional business in the short term, but can help marketing management develop a strategy for the recovery when the time comes.
This issue of Linus Report provides marketers with three areas of activities that they can engage in immediately to prepare for a swift and successful rebound.
While these concepts may seem rudimentary at first glance, we are constantly surprised how seldom they are actually put into practice. It is our hope that the ideas in this report will serve as a friendly reminder to boost the credibility of the marketing department and consider just how much impact marketers can have on sales and profits when times are tough thereby transforming themselves into a more robust marketing organization in the process.