Over the last 12 months, there has been significant talk on the impact of the current financial crisis on the business community.
We are still in an economic period that is highly unpredictable so it is hard to say what 2009 will bring businesses. However it is clear that businesses need to remain positive, resilient and realistic for the year ahead.
Business costs including marketing expenditure have come under scrutiny and close review by organisations and business commentators. However, I note with interest that in BRW’s 2008 Fast 100 analysis, 70% of the fastest 100 growth companies in Australia say that they will market more aggressively as a strategy for a further economic slowdown. Only 14% said that they would reduce staff numbers.
Like the savvy entrepreneurs running Australia’s fast growing 100 companies, business owners and executives need to considered ‘marketing’ as a key strategy for survival and growth in 2009.
I think the challenge for marketers will be, ‘how to get executives or business owners across the line to believe that an investment in marketing will deliver value and not be simply a cost burden?’ For most of my career, I have faced this challenge – particularly in the corporate world. Marketing would often be considered simply as a ‘back-office function’ or ‘a cost-burden’ and was always an after-thought. This used to frustrate me as I have always been very passionate about what I do and the value that the marketing function brings an enterprise.
So marketers have a tough job on their hands in the months to come. Whether they are in-house or consultants working in an agency environment – marketing professionals need to become highly disciplined in the art of demonstrating a return on investment for thier marketing activities and efforts.
Measuring, tracking and recording marketing campaigns and communicating these results to senior executives and clients is more critical now than ever before. This has recently been made easier to do for the marketing professional with the recent release of AMI’s (Australian Marketing Institute) standard marketing metrics that can be used by marketing professionals across Australia. These tools will be invaluable in the quest of gaining the support and commitment that the marketing function of any business deserves.
If you are a business owner or executive that is currently tossing up the value of marketing, remember that in the current economic period survival and success is underpinned by cutting through the clutter and getting your message out there to your customers. Your business needs to appear stronger and more robust than ever before and marketing and communications is key for this.
I hope to see savvy entrepreneurs continue the trend of investing in marketing to grow their businesses in the year ahead.
Happy New Year!