The GCC car market is in the doldrums, so as usual it’s time to cut the advertising and comms budgets, right? Erm…
It’s True, Things Suck Right Now
It’s an understatement to say that 2016 was not a good year for new car sales in the GCC – some reports suggest a drop-off of as much as 40% in key markets.
And it’s very likely that when first quarter figures hit the boardrooms for 2017, there’s going to be much screaming, shouting, frantic arm-waving and much scrunching up and tossing of spreadsheet printouts.
Cut, Slash, Stop
The next thing that will happen, or has already happened, and has been happening for a while, is that marketing, advertising and PR budgets will get chopped.
Well fair enough right? If no one’s willing to buy cars right now, there’s no point talking to them about your product – that’s logical isn’t it? After all, it’s best to hold onto those pennies, surely?
The alternative is obvious, and there’s proof of it in this very article – keep reading.
Here Comes Quote 1
It’s pretty fair to say that no one knows more about selling cars to the masses than Henry Ford (no not the guy in the GIF above, that’s Harrison Ford) and a quote often credited to the Motor Magnate goes: ‘A man who stops advertising to save money, is like a man who stops a clock to save time.’
Well, as they say: ‘Outta sight, outta mind.’ And consumers like the reassurance of going with a brand with a strong presence – one that says ‘I ain’t going anywhere, so you can put your hard-earned in me with confidence’.
Here’s Quote Number 2
Here’s another quote from Steuart Henderson Britt, author of Marketing Management and Administrative Action: ‘Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.’
Again this emphasises that fact that if you aren’t in people’s minds, if they don’t know who you are, what you do and, crucially, that you’re still doing it, you won’t get their custom.
Here’s The First Fact And It’s About YOU!
According to one stat, more than 48% of U.S. adults believe a lack of advertising by a retail store, bank or auto dealership during slower economic times indicates the business must be struggling.
Quote Number 3 Will Get You
Peter Fader is the Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and he says: ‘As companies slash advertising in a downturn, they leave empty space in consumers’ minds for the aggressive marketers to make strong inroads.’
Fact Number 2 Follows – It’s A Clincher!
And there’s further evidence to prove this point – McGraw-Hill Research conducted a study of U.S. recessions from 1980-1985. They analysed 600 companies and found that those that advertised during the 81-82 recession, actually achieved 256% growth by 1985 compared to rivals that stopped or cut their marketing budgets.
During the dark days of 1974-75, American Business Press studied 143 companies. Again it was found that companies that continued advertising saw the highest growth in sales and net income, both during the recession itself and for two years afterwards.
Okay Then, Here’s A Bonus Quote
Let’s turn to Henry Ford again, because he did say: ‘It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.’ And if you’re not getting your message out there – you ARE wasting your time, AND money.
And Just Remember: You’re Not Going Anywhere
Now car companies in our region – even the smallest dealerships – are generally large operations and usually long-established, going back decades in most cases. They employ thousands and have many facilities.
These are NOT operations that are going to shutter up and cease to operate due to a change in economic conditions. Over the long run they will adapt – because they WILL continue to be around once the waves settle.
So it seems even more bizarre then that they take the short term action to cut marketing spend in response to a short term situation, when they should actually be doing the whole big picture thing.
The Best Deals Are Out There Right Now!
Particularly because, when times are tough, it is actually the ideal time to get the best advertising deals possible. Rates will drop well off the rate cards, extra bundles will be extravagantly thrown in, and compromises will be made to seal the deal.
Licensed to sell out – oh dear 007
Here’s The Inspirational Quote You Were Seeking
We’ll end with one more bonus quote from Mr Ford and then a final thought: ‘When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.’
Marketing is not a stop-start game, you lose a ton of momentum if you pause. And once that happens only something spectacular and potentially viral will get you back in the game, and those opportunities come about as often as a Psy, The Mannequin Challenge or a Man with a Pen and Pineapple. Yeah, NOT so common.
This Is What YOU Must Do
In the meantime, during a downturn, companies must remember: you don’t turn the volume down, you turn it right up!