Posted in August 12, 2014 - 2:46 Wayne Martinez
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When in drought, stick it out

20140730__salm0801brownlawn~1_GALLERY“Brown is the new green.”

Leave it to Californians to come up with a fashion statement for a climate crisis. But seriously, it’s been way too dry for three years now. If California is the world’s breadbasket, we’re all toast.

When a business’s revenues and leads dry up after many bountiful years, it can be just as alarming. As the decline persists, it can be outright panic inducing. Common-sense cost containment gives way to across-the-board budget cuts, layoffs, and project suspensions. And marketing departments are among the first to feel the pinch. Content production, for example, which was critical when budgets were flush, is now perceived as an extravagance.

But do extreme conditions necessarily call for extreme measures? It’s simple enough to turn off the spigot. But when the drought ends, turning on the water again won’t easily bring a dead lawn—or a bankrupt farm—back to life. Similarly, when market conditions improve, businesses may find that their neglected customers have moved on.

So what can you do?

  • Stick it out. Dial back your marketing spend, but find ways to keep programs going, especially customer-facing programs such as content marketing, lead generation, and advertising. You may find ways to repurpose more content. You may also realize you finally have the time to invest in a content strategy that will allow you to make more efficient use of your content assets, in good times and bad.
  • Renegotiate rather than terminate. Maintaining relationships with agencies and contractors that know your business is typically easier and more cost-effective than re-hiring and retraining later. Even a steady stream of small jobs can keep content producers invested and up to speed on your offerings and messages.
  • Plan for the best. Believing that things will ultimately get better, keep your eyes open for additional partners that can help your company grow. That includes creative and strategic talent, who will be more available to get to know you in a slow market than when business picks up.
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