Recession Shouldn't Batter Small Business Marketing Budget

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With the recent announcement from Statistics Canada that the economy showed a decline of 0.2 percent in February, many small businesses are braced to make changes to survive a recession. According to Wendy MacQueen of Mormac Brand Re-engineering, small businesses that don't cut their marketing budgets will be the ones to survive.

Statistics Canada's announcement yesterday of a negative performing Canadian economy in February, combined with slow-downs in the American economy, is affecting Canadian small business and if history holds, owners will take the first stab at lowering their costs by cutting their marketing budgets. While the old adage, "When business is good - advertise. When business is bad - advertise more." may be a credo for some, many small business owners view their marketing budget as an expense centre they can do without.

"It would be great if small business would realize when times are hard, it's time to make your marketing budget work harder for you," said Wendy MacQueen, owner of Mormac Brand Re-engineering, a marketing consultancy firm that specializes in rural and small business. "If you cut your marketing budget, you'll have less support for your sales team and certainly less awareness for your customers."

Many small business owners, and their accountants, view the marketing budget as purely a cost centre. But, according to MacQueen, it should be viewed as a revenue generator.

"You should be seeing return on almost all your marketing efforts," she explained. "If you aren't seeing returns, maybe your tactics aren't the right ones. So rather than cutting your budget, change your tactics and make your money work harder."

A well-thought-out annual marketing plan can help you in slow sales periods.

"And then stick to it," MacQueen added. "It is so easy to agree to buy some advertising because it looks inexpensive. But if it isn't in the plan, you shouldn't be doing it. There's no question that building a marketing plan that takes all the options into consideration is a tough job, but once it is done, you have a plan you can stick to and not get trapped spending your money on cheap tactics that give no returns."

The Canadian Bankers Association recommends small business owners outsource to professionals like marketing communications advisors to help them develop their plans. It encourages small business owners to do what they do best - run their business - and let professional advisors help them with the background planning and execution.

"A professional marketer, and I'm not talking advertising sales guy here, knows how to get the most out of a marketing budget," said MacQueen. "And sometimes advertising isn't the only answer. There are other marketing tactics that business owners don't even think of. If they have thought of them, a professional marketer can streamline costs and make sure the messages are delivered in a way that gets results."

About Mormac Brand Re-engineering
Located in rural south-western Ontario, Mormac Brand Re-engineering specializes in marketing communications for rural and small business across Canada. Owner Wendy MacQueen has over 25 years experience in marketing communications for all sectors and in both small and large corporations. Mormac Brand Re-engineering offers consulting, coaching and a full range of marketing communications services.

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