“In the recession the first thing to get cut is nearly always the marketing budget,” said Martin Lines, marketing director of Nestlé Professional.
He argued that this can be an ill-considered decision. “If you cut now, your competitors who are investing will march ahead of you.”
He added that independent studies from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising have demonstrated that the greater the cuts, the longer it takes to recover. “If I cut the marketing budget in year one it will take up to five years to recover the sales we had in year one.”
Lines said it was possible to take advantage of the gaps left by competitors in the market, and that it was easier to be heard in a recession. He said that in the end it comes down to consumers’ choices and that they vote with their feet.
He asked for a combined effort from the manufacturer, route-to-market and end user as he believes that if prices continue to be cut there will be no more money to invest. “Consumers don’t value what they don’t pay for.”