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     No matter where you look these days, the numbers are daunting.  Unemployment is nearing double figures. Fourth quarter was dismal, and first may be even worse.  Seems cost cutting is the only way to gain leverage in this worsening economy.

     With this backdrop, I got a call yesterday from a client that wants to put all marketing on hold.  Seems a reasonable response… see a number, make it go away. But my fear is that by abandoning marketing in your greatest time of need is like jumping from a lifeboat into the water.

     Consider that this company has very low awareness, and an even lower understanding of its brand … which, by the way, shows huge loyalty once a consumer is exposed to the brand story.  What’s more, a recent study conducted by this very company shows consumers are continuing to buy this category.
     Under normal circumstances, one would put it together: low awareness in an active category + a brand story that aligns with the professed interest of its target consumer. This should be a lay up, really. And in a time when others are cutting back, the noise level is low.  With a little effort, WE COULD BE HEARD.
     Folks, I understand the reality of dollars and “sense”. But PLEASE consider that unplugging the electricity that keeps the lights on is not a great answer.  You can run on batteries for a bit, but eventually things go dark.
     However, this isn’t a blind plea for fluffy marketing. You MUST demand an ROI strategy for marketing efforts. This doesn’t mean that you can forecast income based on investment. If marketing were a formula of “spend one dollar, make two”, we wouldn’t have this conversation. But you at least need to see how a program will deliver sales, leads, prospects or target engagement.  
     Do this, and you’ll see the numbers, all right.  Ones that you can take to the bank.