Recovery Marketing #Two – Higher Budget vs Lower Budget Marketing

Roughly, we can identify two groups of marketeers at the moment. Those who have the budget to push, and those who have not. Both of these groups have the opportunity to maintain or grow their results during this recovery period. However, both need a very different approach. Pick and mix which will be most successful to you.

Higher Budget Marketing

The science – which you have no doubt heard of by now – that says in a downturn you can win market share by actively advertising, is solid. Ever since the first Harvard papers on the downturn of 1920/1921 we’ve seen that an increase in share of voice means a rise in market share. It’s also simple logic: when others are silent and you are not, you’ll win.

There are however variations between recessions. A decade ago, we lost trust in governments and brands. Back then the emphasis was on value for money. That product-driven strategy is viable now too. Yet now consumers are practically screaming for brands to help in the crisis (see Recovery Marketing #One). The emphasis is so firmly on brand building, that if you don’t adjust, consumers could very well walk away for good.

Solution Higher Budget – The message drives growth

This difference leads to some very unusual spikes. We see particular ads that focus on the situation rather than the product, go through the roof. And although conversion and sales rates do vary greatly between product categories (as is expected) there is no doubt in our data that brand-driven messages outperform product and sales driven messaging.

So, if you have the means to advertise now, your chances of gaining market share are great. It’s a double whammy. Not only will your share of voice grow, it will be cheaper to buy ad space too. Yet it’s only a guarantee if you invest in ads that promote brand over product.

There are however variations between recessions. A decade ago, we lost trust in governments and brands. Back then the emphasis was on value for money. That product-driven strategy is viable now too. Yet now consumers are practically screaming for brands to help in the crisis (see Recovery Marketing #One). The emphasis is so firmly on brand building, that if you don’t adjust, consumers could very well walk away for good.

Lower Budget Marketing

For those operating on a lower budget, we suggest the ‘undercut’ strategy. The analogy here is racing. If your competitor is moving ahead, instead of trying to keep up, make an earlier pitstop and get fresh tires. In this case, those fresh tires are deeper content that answers the call for brand building and uses different channels that add meaningfulness.

There are however variations between recessions. A decade ago, we lost trust in governments and brands. Back then the emphasis was on value for money. That product-driven strategy is viable now too. Yet now consumers are practically screaming for brands to help in the crisis (see Recovery Marketing #One). The emphasis is so firmly on brand building, that if you don’t adjust, consumers could very well walk away for good.

Solution Lower Budget – The undercut strategy

Your options are plenty and cost efficient: start a podcast, help local communities and governments, do interviews with thought leaders, publish articles, guerilla marketing (see this perfect low budget example of Burger King), PR, sponsoring influencers… anything that can go viral. For even more success, partner up with media brands that spread the message for you. The more meaningful the content, the faster their editors will say yes.

This is backed up by the numbers. In recent years, total marketing budgets have risen to around 800 trillion worldwide, but both the relative and absolute shares of ‘pure’ advertising in this mix has dropped. Roughly one in eight marketing exercises are non-advertising, going to influencer, guerilla, sponsoring and (branded) content marketing. In other words, we were already shifting to non-advertising solutions. And on a budget, this is now your best option.   

So, brace yourself for an explosion of meaningful content. And if you do free up some budget to add some ads alongside it, you’ll have your own double whammy. You may not reach as many consumers as your opponent with higher budgets, but you will be building a stronger, more sustainable base in the long run. In one word: meaningfulness.

There are however variations between recessions. A decade ago, we lost trust in governments and brands. Back then the emphasis was on value for money. That product-driven strategy is viable now too. Yet now consumers are practically screaming for brands to help in the crisis (see Recovery Marketing #One). The emphasis is so firmly on brand building, that if you don’t adjust, consumers could very well walk away for good.

Rogier van Kralingen

I work as an author for Meaningful media and run my own company called The Whole Story where I write about all aspects of marketing.

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