Systems Thinking & the Unintended Long Term Consequences of Slashing Your Marketing Budget Now

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”
– Bill Gates

I’ve been learning about Systems Thinking lately and I believe it applies to our blog post on Tuesday about why PR and marketing budgets should NOT be cut in a down economy (and of course, why our PR Stimulus offer can help!)

The basic belief behind Systems Thinking is that doing the most obvious thing is not always – in fact, rarely – the best thing to do. Problems are a result of multiple, integrated issues, not just one component. Few business leaders take the time – or understand how – to identify the events, trends and causes that lead to a problem or that should be considered in a solution (a “causal loop”). So often the “fixes” that business leaders apply to problems fail and rather create a temporary solution for today that lead to more problems tomorrow.

I would say that applies to pulling PR and marketing as one of the first cost cutting measures. If no one knows about you and your company, no one buys, if no one buys, well – you get the picture – it’s a related loop. Shouldn’t marketing continue to be a priority for businesses in a down economy…. shouldn’t PR be one of the last things to go? I’d be interested in how systems thinking experts would analyze this situation, given that systems thinking is supposed to help organizations that want to develop and sustain competitive advantage. Just as your competitors are going quiet, don’t you want to grab this opportunity to fill the void? If you put PR and marketing on hold now, you could spend even more money in the future trying to completely “relaunch” from a marketing perspective.

The noise is quieting down as your competitors are hunkering down – work with experts (PR agency, social media expert, marketing consultant – whatever is best for your business) to ensure that your marketing is smart, nimble, focused and effective. Take advantage of the opportunity left by others who only see the obvious route – to slash budgets – but haven’t taken the time to think about the long term ramifications and solutions. Look for agencies (yes, like ours) that know “PR 2.0” – the strategies and tools deployed for such can deliver more cost-effective campaigns that still keep awareness at an all time high.

Marketing and promotion in a down economy is a golden opportunity for those who can think dynamically and understand how “today’s decisions can have both intended and unintended consequences – leading to tomorrow’s successes and problems.”