Spending Your Online Marketing Dollars in a Recession


Jason Clark
Jason Clark

on 3/7/2009

This post is adapted from a series of talks I’ve been giving to various Rotary Clubs and business organizations around the region. It’s focus is how and where to spend your Marketing dollars online in this economy. Studies show that a brand will emerge stronger out of a recession if they stick to a focused Marketing Strategy.

The Importance of Online Marketing

This talk centers around the most effective ways to spend your Marketing dollars online. To begin with, let’s start with the definition of marketing:

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

American Marketing Association, Oct 2007

And some statistics:

“Of the total $32.5 billion spent on the consumer electronics products tracked in the study, online research – including search engines, manufacturers’ and retail websites and shopping engines – influenced 77 percent, or $25.1 billion.”

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Study

“The results of the study showed that last year 61% of Norwegians who used the Internet to research a car also bought it online. That is up from 41% in 2007.”

Mediascope Europe 2008

By VIA Studio’s statistics, up to 80% of a website’s total traffic is driven by Search.

It should be intuitive at this point that any Marketing effort should concentrate heavily on Internet and Search strategies. Any other advertising or media at this point should be done to drive visitors to your website.

Online marketing is accountable. The old adage “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” no longer applies. With the power of analytics and someone to interpret them, you should quickly be able to learn what works and what does not.

The Most Important Marketing Tactics for Online Success

Search Engine Optimization

More people are using Google than Yellow Pages now, and the trend will continue as technologies improve. Spend your money optimizing your site for search engines (SEO). It should be built into the foundation of any web presence. People are already browsing your sites on their iPhones and Blackberries. If you build your site correctly now for the Search Engines, you will have an easier time with delivering your content in a Mobile Platform.

Content & Design

Good Web Design tells a visitor to your site that you are serious about your company. It is a reflection of your Brand and should be taken seriously. Web Design in this era should speak to Usability, Functionality and Substance that drives the Style of your site.

Relevant and useful Content identifies you as an expert in your field and gives a visitor to your site a memorable experience. If they do not take action on the first visit, they will have a reason to return.


Any size businesses must have a commitment to Service if they are to survive. The same is true for the Internet presence of a company. If you have elements in place to provide great Customer Service online, you will inevitably see results. These Service tools are different for every business. It can be as simple as providing a phone number on your site and actually answering that phone to complex Database interactions that provide useful information.


“Social Media” is a big buzzword right now. Unfortunately it is of no value if the previous 3 tactics aren’t a solidified and functioning part of your Marketing Strategy. Just like “networking” encompasses a whole world of activity in the business world, “social media” is the same online. Caveat emptor. Do your research and don’t buy into a “social” program unless it is accountable for results.


Research » Analyze » Decide » Act » Review
This is the process we use at VIA Studio for any Marketing Program we have in place for our clients. Good Marketing is a journey, not a destination, and frequent reviews and revisions to the program are highly recommended.

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