Can you afford to cut your marketing right now?

Have you noticed your local coffee shops are closing their doors? This doesn’t mean people have stopped needing their morning caffeine fix, it just means that they’re now getting it at home with a 5c teaspoon of Nescafe Gold.

They’re also packing their lunch, and having friends around for barbecues on the weekends instead of going out – noticed your local bars are closing too?

These canaries in the coalmine are a dire sign that cost cuts are having a real impact and these austerity measures are now also making their way into the big budgets of our big businesses.

With every household in Australia tightening their pursestrings, corporate businesses are starting to feel the pinch too, and the first thing to go when profit margins are low (or non-existent) is often marketing.

But can the marketing department really afford to fall off the radar at times like these? Or is this the time they should be taking a step up and surveying the bigger picture, to prepare themselves when things start to look a little brighter?

As a brand strategy and communication agency that has been in business for over 30 years we have seen our fair share of ups and downs – from recessions and a global financial crisis, to inflation and wild interest rate rises – and the one thing we always do when things are tight is to go back to basics.

For us, those basics are three fold: research, strategy and content – none of which involve spending a cent on media placement, but all of which will put you in good stead for when the cash starts flowing again…and it will start flowing again.


Research and reflection

When you’re taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture it’s always helpful to try and gain a different perspective, ideally the perspective of your clients or customers.

What do they value most about your business, what do they want more or less of, how do they feel about your brand and your service offering, is there anything you’re doing really well and anything you’re colossally failing at? These kinds of questions are hard to ask and sometimes the answers can be even harder to swallow, but the results can be magic for your marketing!

When you gain real insights into what your audiences want from your brand, and how they see you among your competitors, you can use this information to thoughtfully and strategically approach your communications and marketing tactics, from refining your brand messaging, to tailoring your service offering, to speaking to the right people rather than spending all of your money on reaching people you’re never going to resonate with.

Whether you take a qualitative approach through in-depth interviews or workshops conducted by a third party, which will engage your audiences to understand consumer insights and perceptions towards your brand; or a quantitative approach using surveys which extract data-driven insights to measure brand awareness, identify gaps and highlight key challenges relating to your brand; you can utilise this information to reflect on your offer, better understand your customers, and plan for how best to reach them.


Strategic planning

At Fuller we love starting with strategy, which basically means getting on the white-board and coming up with a plan or roadmap to follow, so you don’t get lost along the way.

It’s easy to get distracted – particularly during trying times – by the shiny new thing that may promise to reap quick rewards, but when it comes to brand communication, slow and steady wins the race.

Using research to reflect on your brand is a great place to start, and if there are clear gaps you can then work with professionals to tease these out and design solutions.

We approach brand strategy in a relatively structured way at Fuller, starting with discovery, taking insights from research, customer data and competitor analysis and then reflecting on this prior to workshopping brand pillars and a brand story, the heart of your brand. This then leads to foundational messaging, which underpins the brand visual identity (if one is needed) and external messaging to help communicate the new brand to key audiences.

It’s a simple process for a powerful outcome – a brand that speaks to your audiences and responds to their needs.

If your brand is solid, but you need to reach new audiences, a communication or marcomms strategy is another essential document to set you in good stead for when budgets are loosened. This involves thinking about your audiences and really getting into their mindset, what they want and need from you, then making a tactical plan for how best to reach them – from slightly adjusted messaging per target, to different marketing approaches, digital ads, TV, podcasts, TikTok, articles, or activations to engage niche audiences.

The great thing about working on a plan like this when spending is low, is that you can include a calendar and budget for what you can afford now, and what you can hold off on for the future. Look at you getting so organised!


Content is still queen-bee

While the term “content creator” is now a job title for 14 year old millionaires on TikTok there’s no reason you too can’t dabble in the dark arts, and that doesn’t mean dancing to Doja Cat in your underwear for millions of followers..

The most valuable thing you can do for your business in times like these is to stock-pile content.

Think thought-leadership articles for your website (just like this one), which you can post on social accounts now for free, and distribute with some media spend when funds are freed-up…and all the while these smart little blog posts will continue working for you day and night to boost your SEO rankings. Win win!

Also, now is the time to produce case studies, lots of case studies – tell your story, spruik your wares, and get in touch with that happy customer to ask for a testimonial. Then publish these on your website and add them to your pitch-decks so you’ll be ready to go when the floodgates open.

This rule of three is what has gotten us at Fuller through some of the harder times in business over the years, and if you follow suit you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when the RBA finally comes to its senses.


If you’re interested in having a chat about your marketing, you can reach out to our Agency Manager (Sydney), Kate Fuller at or get in touch with us.