Marketing cuts could create a ‘perfect storm’ during financial crisis

A Suffolk marketing agency boss has called on businesses not to cut advertising budgets during the ongoing financial crisis for fear of creating a ‘perfect storm’.

Alex Pattenden, managing director of Suffolk-based digital agency Unity Online, made the call amid concerns businesses may rethink their budgets for 2023 after chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the UK had entered recession.

It follows reports earlier this year that Boris Johnson’s government would encourage businesses to reduce their marketing spending.

Alex said he hopes Rishi Sunak, Mr Johnson’s former number two, will not take a similar view – as businesses could face collapse through slashing advertising and marketing budgets during times of economic hardship.

He said: “While many business owners may see advertising and marketing as a luxury, the fact is they have become a necessity for firms across the UK.

“Reducing your reach will only ever lead to lower sales and in turn further economic hardship for your business. History has shown us the impact cutting budgets can have on companies around the world.

“Of course, this is a time to rethink budgets – but it is more an opportunity to reconsider the context of your marketing, who you are targeting and how you are going to reach them.

“Finding innovative ways to adapt your marketing when the seas are choppy is one of the best ways to ensure your business stays afloat.”

Alex added businesses that slash budgets could find themselves struggling to bring back new and existing customers at the return of economic growth, further reducing vital revenues channels.

Alex added: “Not only are you opening the doors to further hardship by cutting budgets – you are communicating a lack of stability and increasing the chances of competitors overshadowing you.

“Demonstrating that your business can be a steady ship puts faith back into consumers and ensures you are among the first names on their mind when things get better. Pulling the plug completely is only ever going to send you backwards. That is the perfect storm.”

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