Marketing takes it in the teeth again

February 8, 2009

I receive Zogby polls and participate in them because we use surveys and insights to drive our marketing efforts. It is interesting to see what polling organizations are digging to find out. A recent poll was heavily focused on the economy and particularly the scrutiny over the actions of publicly traded firms. I’m not sure if the poll’s sponsor or the Zogby organization is responsible for the low opinion of marketing..but here is what they said.

In response to a question regarding the most “prudent steps” publicly traded companies can take in light of the current economic uncertainty, the second choice was, “Prioritize spending including imposing reductions in discretionary spending such as travel, marketing and office improvements.

Really? Office improvements? Travel? What an esteemed selection of activities within which to place marketing–something that drives buying and selling activity directly. Is that how the efforts of marketing researchers, R&D teams, marketing strategists, agencies and others who arm the sales force should be regarded? Do you believe we are discretionary spending or that we actively fuel revenue growth?

You don’t need to read another article about “not cutting your marketing in a down economy”, we did one last year, and EVERY industry has now written one. There is apparently NOTHING that should be cut in conditions like this. Just check out the millions of links that come up in Google on what not to cut in tough times. It all depends on what sort of business you have, how much money you have and where you feel you can get the most traction.

Perhaps it isn’t so bad for marketers. It usually only takes a few minutes before the pendulum swings back and somebody needs marketing. Even in the Zobgy poll, after delivering the blow likening marketing to office improvements, someone recalls the good things that we do to fuel growth. The next potential options in the poll among the “prudent things” a public company can do are: “Invest in new sectors and technologies to spur future growth” and “Explore markets globally to diversify and deliver value to shareholders“. I pick these two options. They sure beat “None of the Above“…and enough people are doing that right now.

Keep on keepin’ on people. In the words of Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.”