Yeah, its bad out there. As a tech vendor, we’re out talking to a lot of companies. One theme we’re seeing is companies applying unequal tests to evaluate spending on new versus existing efforts. That’s normally fine, but now every dollar needs to perform.
This is one of those times when the tide is going out. (The reference is attributed to Warren Buffet and goes something like “When the tide goes out, we find out who’s been swimming without a bathing suit.”)
You need to inspect every dollar and challenge your assumptions. Am I generating visits with my radio? Am I buying too much TV? Can I get a better deal on my direct mail by bidding out projects? Because surely your budget has been cut. And the first reaction is to cut new spending, instead of asking yourself, “Is this proposal a better expenditure than something I’m already doing?”
Nothing should be sacred. Sports tickets, luxury boxes, or sponsorships – gone (very limited reach, especially geographically). Television can pause for a while with minimal erosion of awareness. Radio can probably get lighter for a while with minimal impact. Newspapers will be extinct in a few years anyway, so might as well learn to live without them now. Interactive campaigns are fun, but if they aren’t part of a long term engagement program, don’t bother. Outdoor…uh, I hope not. [And I won't get into Operations in general - I guarantee you have lots of dead wood.]
What’s on the flip side? Email, SEM, SEO, Facebook, iPhone, basic customer segmentation, versioning, response modeling (i.e. don’t mail everybody!), PR, retention marketing (pretty much of any kind), etc.
In fact, it might make more sense to do zero-based budgeting where you fund these initiatives first, then see what’s left for the rest.