3 Reasons Why Slashing Digital Spend Might Not Actually Save You Those...

3 Reasons Why Slashing Digital Spend Might Not Actually Save You Those Rands And Cents


Businesses who focus on expense reduction would gladly say that each Rand you earn in sales contributes a minor percentage to profit. However, each Rand you save has a ripple effect to the bottom line.

If you were to serve chicken & mushroom pie to 1,000 people, holding back just one slice of mushroom from each person means you end up with a generous saving, and no one is going to notice. If you operate a brand activation agency and hire students who make R20 less an hour, who are less motivated, or less trained, or less caring, the impact on each engagement will probably seem pretty small. Of course, if you have 1000 student promoters, you just saved a lot of Rands. Have you guessed the problem?

Some people will notice that the portions are a little skimp. Some clients will be annoyed enough to switch to another brand activation agency. When we add up all the little compromises, we get to celebrate the big win. But overlooked are the intangible and tangible costs, the erosion in brand, the decay in quality, something that took years to build up.

The “Ugly cost cutting” might be drawn by a desire to price your products or services more competitively, to improve financial situations, or to serve your customers better. Cutting down budget spent on Digital Implementation would be “Ugly cost cutting” and here are 3 reasons why.

1. Where do I start?

When profits are low, the knee jerk reaction is to cut costs. If you do choose to cut costs, be careful what your message is to employees and customers. Customers and employees don’t want to board the Titanic, focus your energy on where you can add the greatest value for your existing and future customers. The top performing establishments rarely compete on price or bottom end cost. If you focus on delivering exceptional value, your employee and customer loyalty will most likely reach new heights.

3 Steps to refinement of your digital strategy:

  1. Initiate: Always start with the customer and work towards your digital strategy
  2. Iterate: Continually learning from listening to customers and apply this on an ongoing basis
  3. Integrate: Integrate digital channels coherently i.e. SEO setup properly, E-mail Marketing, Social Media, Google Analytics, PPC campaigns.

Related: A Guide to Optimising Your Business’ Social Media Usage

2. Know thy clients

Digital marketing levels the playing field; businesses can compete with each other regardless of size if you have a solid digital marketing strategy. With online, a clear well thought out responsive site or social media page armed with a smooth UX (User Experience) journey and superb response time is king – not size.

In the movie The Last Samurai, after being captured US Army Captain Nathan asked Katsumoto, a Japanese warlord, “What do you want from me?”  Katsumoto replied, “To know my enemy“.

In the digital space the question you should ask is “To know my clients” where and how are they consuming info and what type are platforms do they respond to the best? For example if your target market is Male & 35+ in age then Pinterest is not ideal as 85% of users are female and below 35

3. Trendspotting

Can you remember the last time you spent a day without Googling?

According to IAB SA in Feb 2017 there were 4,571,755 Daily Unique Browsers, how many of that belong to your target or potential target market? Digital marketing and social media are having a massive impact on how customers behave socially, it’s fairly accurate to say that any business that does not adapt to “Mobile First” era of marketing and communications is in danger of losing out.

While being passionate about digital first, I suggest you don’t narrow your vision and miss out on any ATL (Above the line) traditional media that your clients and potential customers are digesting and what currently works.  Best-case scenario (And if the marketing budget allows it) could be a combined strategy of traditional and digital media as it can still yield decent ROI for your business.

Charles Hsuan
Charles Hsuan, digital strategy expert. He has a Masters in Marketing and Diploma from Digital Marketing Institute. He was the digital manager at Entrepreneur Media from 2013 till early 2017. Currently a partner at Digital Candy Consulting and Digital Marketing Lecturer. He is a firm believer in “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” Email him at charleshsuan@gmail.com or connect with him on linkedin.