Pop Quiz: What is the Worst Thing to Cut in Recession? Marketing

Answer: whatever I’m selling. Or, alternatively, whatever you’re selling.

The emails pile in. Guess whose subject line is “the worst time to cut leadership training?” That’s right — they do leadership training. The worst time to cut email marketing? They do email marketing. What is the worst thing to cut right now? God knows. I don’t. I do know, though, that you can cut those boring and overused email subject lines and blog post titles.

The trouble with imitating something else that works is that originals work way better than copies.

Is it just me, or did everybody else in business get tired of “the Zen of ” leads on blogs, webinars and subject lines on email like just barely a year ago? And aren’t we all getting tired of pitches on what can save the business, or get us through the downturn, or not to panic right now? It’s getting as bad as “Look I don’t want to waste your time or mine.”

What really is the worst thing to cut right now? Of course — business planning. What? Me biased?

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Tim Berry, Entrepreneur and Founder of Palo Alto Software, bplans.com and Borland International About the Author: Tim Berry is president and founder of Palo Alto Software, founder of bplans.com, and co-founder of Borland International. He is also the author of books and software on business planning including Business Plan Pro and The Plan-as-You-Go Business Plan; and a Stanford MBA. His business plan coaching site is at bplanscoaching.com


Tim Berry Tim Berry is Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software, Founder of Bplans, Co-Founder of Borland International, Stanford MBA, and co-founder of Have Presence. He is the author of several books and thousands of articles on business planning, small business, social media and startup business.

12 Reactions
  1. Biased about business planning? Aw, come on! LOL 🙂

  2. LOL. Great post. Thanks.

  3. I’d say the worst thing to cut right now is advertising. Just get more strategic with it, but don’t cut it because it looks like low hanging fruit. Put money towards what’s working with your advertising, and scale back on what’s not, but I don’t reduce the spend.


  4. I have to disagree Tim. I think the worst thing to cut right now is reading blogs about guys who are trying to start a computer consulting business from scratch. 😉

  5. How about a continuous development of your business plan?

  6. The worst thing to cut right now is advertising. I agree with you Matt! In this down times of our economy, I think it’s about time to advertise more. Gladly with the advent of Web, we can do advertising in the a cost effective manner.

  7. It don’t matter if it’s “boom times” or “bust times” – you should cut or replace functions that are not working and enhance/invest those that are working and producing gains.

    Sales not working – replace it or cut the non-functional parts. Ditto with development, marketing.

  8. Hey Tim, thanks for the humor. I keep getting the email subjects: Best ways to Beat the Recession…

    I must have found some email subject line research reports and posted them to the research section. In fact, i’m pretty sure that Marketing Experiments has done exactly that kind of research. We should get Hunter Boyle (editor over there) to come post about this topic, too!!

    @Anita — love the new look!!

  9. I agree, Invoice Factoring! It’s about time that smalll business owners should do an assessment on what sector/department of his business is not productive then I think that particular dept. must be cut. It’s not worst, in fact, it might be best thing to do….

  10. Thanks! You just gave me an idea for my newsletter. Kind of based on the idea that successful people zig when everyone else is zagging.

    We cant just do more of the same, I am loving all of the new things that will be tried, the new ideas for marketing. My prediction is that we will look back and see that this was good in the long run,

    Now of course the most important thing to not cut is Remembering people and being remembered,

    Networking: it’s a cup of tea!

  11. Oh well, you’re right Terry. To leave that positive mark — is one best accomplishment every business can achieve. 😉

  12. Yes, advertising is important but doing “more” may not be the solution if your market has shifted. Plan first – see what is really happening, then plan some more, then continuously review the plan … BUT DON’T CUT PLANNING. It’s cheaper to “lose money on paper” instead of in real life, so your plan can be like a test drive – try it out before you’re committed! OK, Terry, maybe I’m biased too!