A Time For Change
Over the past year we have heard the word “change” many times. And during these tough economic times we have seen a lot of change – in clients, in business practices, in hiring and layoffs, budgets and future expansion plans. And most of us would love to end the day just with some “change” in our pockets! So why in these uncertain times are we not only changing, but expanding? To avoid insanity for both you and me! Let me explain with an old Chinese proverb: “Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome”. With a fragile and uncertain economy, most business don’t change a lot of what they are doing, they just do less. Ask any employee who is left after the layoff and they will tell you that the work is the same…there are just less of them to do it. The same is true for marketing and advertising. A business’s income is less so they slash their marketing and advertising budget but still approach it in the same way. Just not as much. Sound familiar? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? They say “Hey…we need to advertise still (which is very true) we will just pull it in house and save some money! Those ______(fill in the box with designers/photographers/web designers/marketing specialists) are a budget expense and we can do the same with less. So…Jimmy, who normally cleans the warehouse but took and art class in high school, is now your designer. And Martha, who answers the phones but fancies herself really good with her new digital camera, is now your photographer. And in between calls and emails you will take care of the marketing plan. Oh and least we forget your web site….your 12 year old son had quite a knack for those things!
Hey, times are tough and although you may not put the web site in your son’s hands, we all need to analyze our budgets and prioritizes our spending. So what does make sense?
As is often the case, the real answer can be found somewhere in the middle. Just because you’ve always spent a percentage of revenue on marketing is not necessarily a good reason for continuing to do so. And just because your major competitors are spending on their brands, doesn’t mean they have optimized their return either.
As Prof Bryron Sharp, writing for the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, notes—the chances are you don’t need more marketing budget, you can always do better with the money you have. For most firms, he says, it’s a fair assumption that less than 20% of their ad budget does any good, the trick is to know what works best.
If your budget is halved, you can normally fix it by doubling the effectiveness of the ads or by finding better ways of connecting with your target audience. Effective communication is at the very heart of design excellence. So if you need something designed to communicate effectively—a press ad, a brand identity, a website, packaging or print collateral for example, you’d be well advised to use the best graphic designer, photographer, web designer or marketing specialist you can find. And guess where the best designers are usually found? In a design company…like Morning Star Creative Group!