"R.I.P Good Times"
That was the message from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital last week. In a slide show it presented to its portfolio company CEOs , it documented the roots of our current economic problems, the outlook for recovery and advised caution.
For marketers, the most chilling piece of the Sequoia presentation is a slide on the advertising market . They show the total U.S. market beginning to shrink and growth of online advertising beginning to slow.
Looking at this slide, you might think companies are beginning cut costs and scale back marketing.
Don't get sucked into that trap.
Sequoia's advertising numbers say more about ADVERTISING than they do about MARKETING. Companies are not marketing LESS, they're just finding ways to market BETTER.
If you pull a Chicken Little , assume the sky is falling and retreat from marketing, you will be devoured by competition that figures out how to market more efficiently.
At HubSpot we're making our marketing more efficient with a more rigid focus on inbound marketing .
Specifically, we're doing three things:
(1) Creating More, Better Content -- The economy isn't going to slow down our content production -- it's just going to force us to get more rigorous about assessing the content we create. We're going to do a better job of creating content that engages people, helps us get found, and interests qualified customers. We're also going to rethink the way we organize our content.
(2) Increasing our Focus on Search Engine Optimization -- At HubSpot, we spend tons of time thinking about search engine optimization. In the months ahead we're going to be spending even more time on SEO. Google is still the #1 place to be found by potential customers, and in a tight economy organic search results are by far the most efficient way of reaching Google users. We're in the process of starting a new effort to optimize lower-level site and blog pages for long-tail keywords related to our business.
(3) Getting Smarter About Social Media -- A slowing economy means we need to focus on social media more then ever. Instead of paying for distribution of our content or advertising, we need to share our products and content with people in our network and let them gain traction organically. We're also developing a more systematic company-wide approach to social media.
Notice that none of these strategies cost us anything more than time. In fact, to the extent they're replacing paid outbound marketing campaigns, they're saving us a lot of money.
We see the current economic instability as an inflection point -- one where the weak companies will slowly starve themselves, and the successful companies will reassess their operations and make them more efficient then ever.
Are you adjusting your marketing strategy in response to the tightening economy? Tell us how in the comments or in a blog article linking to this post. Next Monday we'll pick our favorite answer and send the winner a HubSpot t-shirt.