Making Tough Choices on Marketing Spending

This post follows my last one calling for marketers to stay the course of marketing through difficult economic times. A caveat to that position is that while marketing investments should continue in a weak economy, how the money is spent must be scrutinized. While reviewing marketing programs to assess their ROI should be done on an ongoing basis, such review is even more important when business conditions are unfavorable and every dollar of sales and profit is critical.

A great example of making tough choices on marketing spending is the automaker Hyundai. It is scheduled to air two 30-second commercials during Super Bowl XLII on February 3rd. Hyundai is considering backing out of that commitment as it ponders whether spending nearly $6 million for two message exposures is the best use of its marketing resources. Yes, the Super Bowl is a cultural event that draws tremendous interest... even for commercials. Yes, the audience in the U.S. alone will be between 85 and 90 million people. But prestige and audience size are not sufficient criteria for spending marketing dollars.

Would the 30-second spots prompt people to visit their local Hyundai dealership to check out new models and go for a test drive? Are the potential brand awareness and image benefits enough to justify such an expense? Perhaps not during a time of economic slowdown. Kudos to Hyundai for thinking it over. The commercials may air during the big game after all, but it will be only because Hyundai management is convinced it is the right thing to do for the brand. Link

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