Marketing in times of adversity and stress

Marketing in times of adversity and stressIE Focus | By Roberto Alvarez del Blanco,  Professor at IE Business School
Taking the scissors to the marketing budget is an all too familiar reaction in times of crisis, but it is a mistake that can weaken the brand and hamper attempts to differentiate a product.
The current severe market conditions mean that marketing decisions have to be based on certainty, decision and courage. Avoiding mistakes that imply significant conditioning factors in the mid and long term is as important as managing the crisis. Skilfully solving this new paradox requires fast solutions and consideration of long-term implications. Peripheral vision is also essential to see and interpret the signs, and identify useful solutions for planning a more stable future.From a marketing viewpoint we are facing vast complexities, but it is also a time of extraordinary opportunity. It’s true that challenges are on the increase, that some models are more vulnerable, or that negative signs can be seen on the horizon, but we have to find a way through the jungle and healthy economic options for the brand must be created, all without dying in the attempt. The pressure of the scant room for error can be relieved a little by remembering an old Spanish saying: be eager when others are being cautious and be cautious when others are being eager.

In times like the present the great temptation is to cut back budgets, and marketing is often the first to suffer. It is vulnerable because of the search for fast results or survival and because it is assumed that reducing marketing efforts does not have any short-term effect. The current climate requires the consideration of a number of priorities to avoid missing out on opportunities or committing irreversible errors and accepting that Lady Luck smiles on the decisive in times of crisis.

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