“When brands are struggling with sales and cutting costs, the first thing they do is cut marketing budgets – we don’t do that any more, it’s the last thing we’ll cut. It’s a new era of GMs and MDs that believe in the brand and that we need to communicate it,” Puma Oceania general manager Paul Gautier told AdNews recently when talking about the repositioning of the Puma brand from lifestyle back to sports and that 12% of total turnover will be invested into marketing.MarketingToughEconomicTimes

In times of economic challenges or sales drops, marketing is often seen as the easiest budget to cut as it seems the least likely to impact operations. But this simply isn’t true. Not only is cutting marketing funds a bad idea, but it is a potentially game changing one. If you stop marketing entirely because times are tight, when you are ready to push again, it will take a few months to really ramp up again – during which time your competitors could have gained your market share.

The key to marketing during challenging economic times it to shift your marketing efforts, not stop them altogether. You need to make the most of your budget, focus on key activities that are low cost with high returns – such as database or email marketing. Digital marketing is also a low cost, highly measurable way you can keep your brand in the consumers eye without having to use huge advertising budgets.

Focusing on growing sales from existing customers instead chasing new business can be a strength during tougher times. These customers have already bought from you – they know your product or service can solve their problem so the sales cycle will be shorter and the marketing needed to convert sales will be lower.

In any economy, marketing strategy should always be measured, assessed and reassessed. Always make sure you are monitoring your marketing, understanding where leads and sales are coming from so when times are a bit tighter, you already know where to focus your marketing resources.