A weak economy is often a trigger for reducing advertising expenditures. Although it seems counter-intuitive to invest less in marketing activities that could stimulate sales, that is what companies often do. It is understandable given the need to control expenses in tough times, but the marketing reduction often occurs at a time when marketing is needed most.
One company that is bucking the trend of spending less on marketing during the recession is Wal-Mart. It has been reported that Wal-Mart increased measured media spending by 56% in 2008. At a time when retailers reacted to weaker demand by being conservative with their marketing spending, Wal-Mart sensed opportunity to appeal to value-conscious consumers with its low price brand position.
Wal-Mart's media strategy serves as a reminder to marketers to resist the temptation to save money at the expense of brand building. Yes, reducing marketing expenses may be inevitable during these economic times, but it should be a strategy of last resort. Rather than reducing marketing budgets, the focus at this time should be a review of how marketing dollars are allocated. The result should be to shift marketing spending to categories that are most likely to deliver immediate results.
Link: MediaBuyerPlanner.com - "Wal-Mart's Media Spend Soars 56%"