If businesses have not maintained their marketing spend during the current economic downturn in Namibia, the question is when businesses will increase their marketing budgets again? Businesses were asked this question via an online survey conducted by Team Namibia in March.
A total of 43 percent of the respondents either said between “now” and within the “next 6 months”; whereas 38 percent responded that they would increase marketing budgets when the economy is “more stable”, “picking up” or “showing recovery”. Only 8 percent of the respondents prioritised other financial commitments or expenditure. This is despite the fact that many agree that “it is damaging to business if the marketing budget is simply based on what is left over after covering all expenditure”. With a large percentage of businesses having their financial year end in June (12.5 percent of the respondents to the survey) it is now the time for management teams to consider increasing their marketing budget. It will help to position oneself and to attract a larger market share for when the economy is on the up again.
From a budgeting perspective, it appears that most businesses start preparing their budgets for the next financial year two months (21.53 percent) or three months (23.07 percent) ahead of time. Bärbel Kirchner, account director for Team Namibia, says: “This would mean that businesses with financial year end in June are now likely to consider the compilation of their budgets. Under optimal circumstances, the creation of a budget is a team effort, and marketeers should be given a role to play. “Marketing is absolutely vital to not only create awareness of one’s product or services and to stimulate sales, but during current economic times it might also help businesses to send out positive messages just by sharing information and thus creating a positive spin-off. The more messages about product or services we have out in the market, the more likely the consumer or buyer is to gain back confidence. Of course, from Team Namibia’s perspective we need local producers, manufacturers and service providers to get active and position themselves so that Namibia increasingly can replace imported products or services,” said Kirchner. She added that the determination of marketing budgets can be based on the business turnover. If there are no sales whatsoever, it would not be wise to increase the marketing budget unless this is indeed based on a well-justified business plan. Kirchner also noted that it might be worth the consideration for marketing budgets in general to be increased, especially if Namibian businesses are to compete with products from the region and elsewhere.
“Team Namibia is essentially a non-profit multi-sectoral business support and marketing organisation, to support raising awareness and the increased procurement and consumption of local goods and services. It is important for us to get our word out there that all Namibians must support local. This will help us to move forward and support our efforts of reaching sustainable economic development. This applies not only to locally manufactured products and farm produce, but to our service providers across the sectors of our economy,” Kirchner concluded.