Stopping An Interactive Marketing Program: Questions To Ask Before You Pull The Plug

In a bad economy, every company tries to cut back on their spending. It’s a natural preventative measure that helps keep a firm safe when times are tight. In many cases, a company will consider cutting their marketing budget early on, and will often look at postponing an online marketing campaign or canceling it altogether. If they work with an interactive marketing agency, they’ll often consider stopping that work.

There are many reasons for this. There might be a need to cut back on staff responsibilities to reduce stress on a small workforce, leaving no one to manage the campaign. There might be a shift in the industry, making the planned campaign less viable. Although these other situations do arise, the most common cause by far is a lack of funds. When money gets tight, campaigns often are suspended temporarily and permanently. This is a strategy that many companies employ, but it doesn’t always work.

Question 1: How Many Direct Competitors Do I Have?

Whenever a firm stops a marketing campaign, its competitors will step in and fill the gap. Working with an interactive marketing agency isn’t like creating TV ads, where any number of other companies would happily vie for a company’s spot, and most of them wouldn’t be considered direct competition. The Internet offers such specificity that the moment a company stops pushing its product online, its competitor will see an opportunity to increase their dominance in a targeted way.

When a company stops a program, it can lose its spot on the search engines within a matter of days, and possibly start losing customers after only a week. For this reason, a firm should only consider stopping its online efforts if it’s very confident that it has no direct competitors. If it can’t be sure, the results of pausing work with an interactive marketing agency could be disastrous.

Question 2: Are You Using Social Media?

If so, be aware that stopping the program will likely erase all gains you’ve made through Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other social media techniques. These types of media rely on regular updates to communicate with fans; abandon this, and fans will quickly abandon you. You’ll be seen as corporate and mercenary, rather than a true blogger and Facebook friend, which can absolutely hurt a company’s image amongst the people that follow them. This is true of individuals, and it’s true of companies as well.

Question 3: What Opportunities Will You Miss?

This is perhaps the most important question that a company should consider. Whenever a firm pauses or cancels a campaign that they were running with the help of an interactive marketing agency, they definitely are paying a price. In economic terms, it’s opportunity cost: the cost of what you could have done, but chose not to do. It’s not a direct cost like the campaign itself, and it can often be hard to estimate unless the campaign is actually employed. Particularly with online media, however, the missed opportunities from a single canceled campaign can be staggering.

First, you’ll miss any potential clients that would have been gained through advertising. Thousands of people might see an ad online, but if that ad never runs, a company never sees a return from it. In addition, a firm can miss a chance to learn more about its industry and further hone any future campaigns. If a firm is out of touch with its industry’s client base for a few months, it could miss a major shift in marketing techniques. More importantly, when it tries to jump back into the market, it could be facing a steep learning curve.

Putting It All Together

Considering these questions will help a company decide whether canceling or postponing its work with an interactive marketing agency is a risk it can’t take, or a gamble it’s willing to take. Whatever the decision, be sure to keep a finger on the pulse of the market as much as possible so you know when the time is right to jump back in, or change current strategy as the economy picks up.

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