Why you should not cut your marketing spend even when the economy is trying to bring you down

It was announced last week that South Africa is officially in a ‘technical recession’ and, as much as Cyril is telling us not to worry, we understand why you’d want to jump ship and head to the mountains and live out the rest of your life as a monk. Staying afloat during tough economic times is difficult for any business, but we are here to tell you that it can be done and that of all the things that should be cut, your marketing spend should not be one of them. There’s nothing that a little business nip and tuck can’t fix.


How badly do you need that new ergonomic office chair?

It’s incredible how an ever-expanding inflation rate and deteriorating currency can force you to put things into perspective. Your streaky bacon from Woolworths might’ve felt completely acceptable a few weeks ago but you may consider it now as an absolute luxury.

Be ruthless in deciding what are definite must-haves and which elements of your business are nice-to-haves and make the cuts accordingly – things to keep are anything that helps your business grow and evolve, which is important regardless of our economy. This includes assets that are needed to produce the value you promote as well as your services and even resources required in the upskilling of your employees. These are invaluable to even the direst economic states.

Absolute nice-to-haves are plans to upgrade your IT equipment, and most certainly your fancy new ergonomic chair with an electronic leaver system.


STOP! Here’s why you should not cut your marketing spend


Many peoples’ first reaction to economic crises like a recession is: “I must make as many financial cuts as possible.” This may turn into a huge regret at a later point. Whilst you should definitely evaluate parts of your business that you could do without, or have at a later, more stable point (like the ergonomic chair and new computer), cutting your marketing spend is not proactive, and may even set you back a few steps as time goes on.


Jannie Rossouw, head of the Sanlam Business Market, comments on the recent economic status of our country why you should not to cut your marketing spend and advises businesses on their next best move. He says that: “If yours is the one business that is still very visible through your current marketing spend, it can be a huge competitive advantage.” This is the key thought that all businesses should have during times like this: How do I stay visible? The answer is in re-strategising and finding new ways to stay front of mind without having to make hectic budget cuts.


A tip from Rossouw resonated with us: try ‘zero-based budgeting’ where you start your budget from scratch. This will allow you to pinpoint where money is going unnecessarily and help you sail a much tighter ship.


Upsell to existing clients during tough economic times

Your clients will know what’s going on because there is a 99% chance they are also feeling the unrelenting stress of the poor economic climate. A time like this will put you to the test of how well you know and understand your client’s wants and needs. Once you have this deep understanding under your belt, upsell to the clients you already have and cater to them. Not only will this help keep their business afloat with a continued marketing strategy and a presence online, but it will also strengthen your relationship with them.


It is more important now than ever why you should not to cut your marketing spend to stand out as a business

As daunting as this economic status may be, and as threatened as you may feel as a business, you can either choose to let this tough time completely dominate you, or you can conquer it. You will stay afloat during this period if you amplify your voice – rethink your marketing strategies so that your business is still visible online, amidst the wash of companies that may be floundering like fish on a dry shore, work on your client relationships a little bit more, and communicate the messages that people need to hear.


We are more aware of the economy than ever and we want to help grow businesses who are looking to build a solid reputation. We can still help you and your brand no matter the economic climate, so get in touch!

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