Marketing & communications: to cut or not to cut

recessionWhen a recession looms, every business faces the question of whether to cut back spending with marketing and communications often being the first target.

Should you cut marketing and communications spending with a possible recession on the way?

Tough question and it needs to be answered individually. I did get some food for thought this afternoon from the PR Web (news release company) webinar I heard today.

I have successfully used their service with one recent release gathering nearly 2,800 links.

It can be a very valuable way to build links and it doesn’t cost that much.

News releases: maximizing your marketing budget

One presenter suggested news releases are a great way to get more for less with your marketing dollars. Keeping your marketing and communications budget at the same level could be beneficial because your competitors are likely to cut their spending.

This would help to increase your visibility as your competitors are reducing theirs. The result? Hopefully that will mean increased business for you, even in a weak economy.

The weak economy can also be beneficial because traditional media outlets are often willing to strike deals to keep the ad dollars flowing. Keep that in mind when you’re talking to your ad reps.

Earned media: free advertising

I have used news releases and public relations to get what is known as “earned media.” It’s essentially getting a media organization to pick up your news release and run it as is, or write their own story with your release as the basis for the story.

If your release does get picked up, most reporters will not go with it as is, but you will likely be one of their sources.

Devoting more of your marketing budget towards communications tools such as news releases could help to substantially raise your company’s public profile. The second benefit is that it can really boost your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts by increasing the number of links pointing back to your site.

Cut the marketing budget?

Before you take any drastic action, make sure to assess how you and your competition are engaging your customers. A marketing plan is a good start. Make sure that if you do cut your budget it won’t have the unintended effect of driving business to your competitor. If you can afford it, keeping your marketing budget the same might effectively be increasing it, compared to your competition.

In my next article I’ll talk about ways to get maximum value from your news release: “How to get the media to pick up your news release.”