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What not to cut corners on when it comes to your marketing budget

Synopsis

When the economy is uncertain, there’s usually pressure to reduce marketing spending. Learn why that’s not a sound strategy, and review these tips before you begin preparing your 2022 budgets.


Key takeaways

  • An economic disruption like COVID-19 allows you to snag renters whose moving plans have not changed even though the marketing plans of your top competitors may have.
  • A majority of the studies³ conducted over the past few decades indicate that businesses typically benefit when they stay the course or even expand their marketing efforts during a recession.
  • Even if your property requires significant budget cuts, there are still several ways to stay the course with your marketing without spending more money.

When any shift in the economic environment occurs—be it political, a pandemic, global crisis, or otherwise—one of the first budgets to go out the window is often marketing. This is particularly accurate if any of your marketing pursuits are outsourced to third parties, like a digital marketing agency or graphic design company.

We’re here to tell you why you should avoid cutting corners on your marketing and which areas are most important to fight for, especially as you start preparing for the 2022 budgeting season.

Last year was rocky, uncertain, and at times scary—not just for your health but for your business. For many companies, it seemed wasteful to spend the property’s or investors’ money on marketing when the economy was plunging.

However, it’s a smart business move to stay the course with your marketing budget despite an economic crisis. Why?

Ultimately, while you should consider reducing your top-of-funnel ad spend, it’s not advisable to abandon it altogether. It’s critical to ensure your properties are in a position to power back during an economic recovery.

You can also take advantage of the fact that many properties have a gut reaction to cut back during an economic shift, making it easier for your community to take a “bigger slice of the pie,” so to speak.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember during an economic upheaval is that people still have to live somewhere, and that’s not something that will change anytime soon. Currently, there are 43 million renters¹ in the U.S., and 51 percent² of renters claimed the COVID-19 pandemic did not alter their apartment selection process.

These statistics prove that an economic disruption like COVID-19 allows you to snag renters whose moving plans have not changed even though the marketing plans of your top competitors have.

That being said, maintaining your marketing budget is much easier said than done when it comes to convincing your key decision-makers.

Here are some of our best tips for fighting for your marketing budget and what to not cut corners on (plus how to convince key decision-makers to get on board):

Do your research on past economic cycles

What do your key decision-makers care about most? Numbers. One of the best ways to present numbers to them is through research.

Research on how the multifamily market performed during past economic changes shows a precedent for how people and businesses will behave in future situations.

A majority of the studies³ conducted over the past few decades indicated that businesses typically benefit when they stay the course or even expand their marketing efforts during a recession.

Essentially, maintaining your marketing budget during a crisis not only minimizes losses but can even drive growth for your property. In other words, changes in the economy tend to open opportunities for properties to potentially jump from a low lease rate to a high one.

Where you can conserve cash to add to your bottom line

Yes, we know your top decision-makers will want to know the answer to this question, “Where can we cut corners?” The saying, “You win some, you lose some,” definitely holds true in this situation.

In most cases, if you are cutting back on your budget, you have to appease the higher-ups with a few ways you can conserve cash and add to the property’s bottom line.

Ultimately, no matter how good the argument is in favor, cuts may need to be made. However, if you are prepared with the “where,” then you can still maintain a good marketing strategy.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Remove inefficiencies in your process
  • Reduce property ad spend if there are failures
  • Outsource the important tasks that take your team too much time
  • Cut back on low-performing initiatives
  • Invest in fewer channels, more deeply
  • Repurpose content
  • Take advantage of low costs and reduced competition
The importance of defending your marketing budget

Don’t let economic shifts or otherwise deter you from pushing ahead with your marketing strategy. Even if your property requires significant budget cuts, there are still several ways to stay the course with your marketing without spending more money.

Renters are still renting, and the opportunity to snag them at your property is there for the taking. Perhaps they had a change of income, maybe their rent is too high, or they might even be unhappy with their current property’s management. If you maintain your marketing budget, you can seize that opportunity to come in and win that new lease.

Ultimately, it’s all about being there for your renters, meeting them where they are in the purchasing process, and showing them how life can be better at your property.

Ashley Tyndall is the Director of Corporate Communications for Criterion.B, an agency focused on branding and inbound marketing for the commercial real estate industry.

Sources:

¹https://www.statista.com/statistics/187577/housing-units-occupied-by-renter-in-the-us-since-1975/

²https://www.rentcafe.com/blog/rental-market/real-estate-news/survey-of-renter-perception-on-moving-during-covid-19-pandemic-indicates-surprising-optimism/

³https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/A-Critical-Review-and-Synthesis-of-Research-on-in-a-Tellis-Tellis/d96ca3e9902bc627f6a80836d1a3e36f3d43e4ed?p2df

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