The CEO's Guide to Marketing
By Mark Cipolletti, Founder, Pinch Hit Partners
COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on many businesses and that will continue for many weeks to come. Tragically, many small businesses and even some larger, unhealthy companies will not survive. But for those companies that are able to wait out our invisible enemy, I have an important recommendation that I want you to seriously consider. You probably won't hear this same suggestion from your business partner, your CFO or even from your marketing director if you are fortunate to have one.
A recession is likely to follow this period of temporary business closures, social distancing, and layoffs. Nobody knows how long it will last, but it is coming. Your company needs to tighten its belt and it should. No doubt you will be leaning on your CFO for his or her wisdom. "Across the board cuts!" they will say. "We should hunker down to ride this thing out," they'll advise. They are almost correct. You see, the CFOs who work for your competitors will be saying the same thing. Your competitors are going to reduce their expenses in all departments and, if I was a betting man, I would bet that marketing will be hit the hardest.
So, you know that your competitors will be on the sidelines for a while. They won't be launching new products or services. They won't be advertising. Even their trade show display will be smaller (if they return to event marketing at all). This presents you with a golden opportunity to gain market share, but there's a catch. You're not going to gain market share by cutting marketing like your competitors. During the recession, your business must increase its marketing.
You're skeptical. You're scared. I get it. And I don't expect you to just trust me on this one. If you do nothing else today, I want you to read this article, The Best Marketers Will Be Upping, Not Cutting, Their Budgets by Mark Ritson. In Mark's piece, he makes the case for this plan better than I can and he bases this strategy on a variety of research studies that show that companies who increase marketing during recessions gain considerable market share (that can be extremely difficult to acquire when times are good).
Take a look and let me know your thoughts. And if the fractional CMOs at Pinch Hit Partners can help you through this challenging time, I hope you will reach out to discuss your options.
Pinch Hit Partners provides fractional marketing leaders to growth-oriented companies.