Marketing in challenging economic times

Unfortunately, marketing is still seen by many business leaders as a non-business critical element, which often leads to the "Marketing" budget line being one of the first to be cut when the economic situation is troubled.

That's why this blog post will focus on how you can continue to generate leads and sales opportunities for your business even in financially challenging times with a limited marketing budget.

Review marketing costs

When businesses are doing well and the economic climate is good, it is easy to start acquiring services and products that are "nice to have". There's nothing wrong with that if it adds value and the marketing is successful. But when you are faced with smaller budgets and a tougher economic situation, you need to decide which costs are "must have" and which are "nice to have". The "nice to have" costs are those that you can't get a clear and measurable value from and the "must have" costs are those that are required for you as a marketing manager or marketing executive to show results to the CEO or Board.

Finding cost-effective activities that deliver measurable results

If you are a marketing manager, you probably have many different activities that you usually and want to carry out every year. Of those activities, there are both the large activities that are more costly and the smaller activities that are less costly. The interesting thing is that there is not always a correlation between the expensive and inexpensive activities and the number of leads and sales opportunities that are generated.

Examples of classic more costly activities include trade fairs, sponsorship of events, TV advertising, etc. But have you ever tried to calculate how many business opportunities these activities create? All of the above activities are difficult to directly track the number of leads or business that the company brings in. However, it is an important exercise to carry out to try to value what each activity is worth. Sometimes it can be the most unexpected activity that has the best value per dollar spent.

Digital marketing is easier in many cases to count how many leads and sales have been created from the given activities because everything is trackable. But even in digital marketing, there are different channels and activities that all have different cost levels and different value. When was the last time you took the time to review which channel delivers the most leads per dollar spent in digital marketing? Is Facebook or LinkedIn the best channel? How many leads come from organic search and how many come from paid ads?

In many cases when we meet with clients, more money is spent on SEM (Search Engine Marketing) compared to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) even though the number of leads from SEO is often much higher.

Look for the activities that generate the most leads and sales per dollar spent on marketing, and you're likely to cut your marketing costs immediately while maintaining your results.


You are probably familiar with the concept of guerrilla marketing, which is based on carrying out marketing activities that are virtually free and not traditional marketing.

The example I always think of when it comes to guerrilla marketing is the motel that had trouble getting guests to stay and asked a nearby car dealer to put some of his cars in the motel's parking lots because it looked like a motel that a lot of people visit.

The example above shows a really good activity that is completely free of charge, which only required a little thought and a phone call but had a fantastic effect. At a time when you as a marketing manager have a smaller marketing budget, there are good opportunities to think and try to find similar activities. There is no general guidance for coming up with these types of activities but hope this text can inspire you and get some thoughts going.


If you're in a position where you have a reduced marketing budget and still want to deliver results, the first step is to review all your marketing costs to find which activities deliver the most and least value per dollar spent. It's an exercise you should do at least once a year regardless, but it's especially important in times of financial uncertainty.

Find out which expenses you have that are "need to have" and which are "nice to have" there is a big difference between the two. Everything that is "nice to have" needs to be removed in economically uncertain times.

If you haven't already thought about and spent time on guerrilla marketing activities, it's worth starting now. It should always be in the back of your mind.

If you would like help in drawing up a list of the activities that are most profitable for you, book us for a free consultation session via the link below.

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