- Have you sufficiently reinforced your relationships with profitable customers? Now may be the time to invest in retention, as acquisition gets put on the back burner. Acquisition costs often require a period of time to recapture, and you may not have that luxury.
- Your customers and their needs are probably changing in response to the economy as well. Is your research effectively capturing their evolving wants, needs, and value-calculus? If not, you may need to spend a bit more on this issue before you can cut back.
- Is your brand value proposition strong enough to withstand the challenges you can reasonably expect from your current competitors? Have you left your flanks open to new competitors with business models built on later technology platforms or lower-cost structures? You'll need something other than price to compete on, unless your balance sheet is so strong that it can withstand a protracted pounding.
- Is your message strategy resonant and relevant? If not, spend to tighten it up. Mix-shifting from traditional to new media may lower per-exposure costs, but you won't improve engagement unless your message is right for the times.
- Have you considered the key questions you'll have to answer in the next planning cycle and begun to put the necessary testing and experiments in place to answer them? Or are you expecting to walk into the next planning session with charm and wit alone?
All is not bad. This is an opportunity to shed the excesses that the good times permitted. Just don't wait until the cutting is over to start planning for better days.
Have a GREAT day,
**Pat LaPointe and Dave Reibstein: Pat is managing partner at MarketingNPV (www.marketingnpv.com)—specialty consultants on marketing measurement and metrics and publishers of MarketingNPV Journal. Dave is a professor of marketing at Wharton and coauthor of Marketing Metrics: 50+ Metrics Every Executive Should Master.