No, I don’t need my glasses. Just bring me more arrows!
Lately, I’ve noticed more than one article claiming to provide tips for companies who are trying to fight through a tough economy and reduced marketing budgets. Some of those hints are helpful; most are pretty obvious. But one—from an article I found on a very reputable business web site—is downright destructive in its naïve simplicity.
This particular expert— the VP for Worldwide Marketing at his company—suggested that marketers should eliminate expenses that don’t translate directly into message impressions, like ad insertions, mailing pieces, etc. He specifically suggests rethinking the money spent on agencies and creative, in favor of putting out more messages.
I find that very shortsighted—NOT because I’m in marketing, but because I’m intelligent. Of course it’s important to eliminate waste whenever and wherever possible—and not just during tough times, either. But chopping agency and creative expenses in order to get more messages is about as smart as selling your car so you can afford more gas.
The number of messages delivered is not more important than the content of those messages. A successful marketing effort requires both a message that is meaningful to your target audience, and the creativity to ensure that it gets noticed. Those are precisely the things that a good agency will help you accomplish.
If your company doesn’t see the crucial role an agency can play during challenging economic times, you’ve got the wrong agency. Or perhaps you just have the wrong people supervising it.
As for that expert mentioned earlier, I hope he never gets a toothache. Instead of calling the dentist, he might just put that money into a good pair of pliers and get started!