During a time of economic uncertainty, businesses are naturally asking themselves big questions, like where should they reallocate resources and where should they cut back.

One of the areas that businesses might be looking to cut back during a recession is marketing and advertising, but is that the best move?

While it might be tempting to cut marketing budgets, businesses should actually consider investing in their marketing efforts despite economic challenges. To keep sales flat, businesses should increase marketing efforts during a downswing. The logic goes: during economic recessions, it takes considerably more effort to keep sales flat so you don’t want to take your foot off the pedal.

Study after study shows the advantages of maintaining or increasing marketing budgets during a down economy. Businesses who maintain or grow their marketing spending increase sales and market share during and after a downswing, according to Forbes’ Brad Adgate.

Adgate lists several reasons why should maintain or grow your marketing budget during a recession:

  • Noise level” is low so businesses can reposition a brand or introduce a new product.
  • Brands can project corporate stability.
  • The cost of advertising and marketing drops during a recession, creating a “buyer’s market” for brands.
  • A cut in spending can lead to potential current and future sales.

But it doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about your marketing and advertising spending. Now’s the time to take a deep dive into your marketing budgets and align your dollars with efforts that gets the phone to ring and drives sales.

To get the best return on investment (ROI), look at whether hiring a social media employee or a social media agency works best for your business’ unique situation.

This is the best time to track where your marketing leads are coming from — social? Direct mail? Search? Cut the valve to marketing funnels that are not working and increase the flow to platforms that are bringing in sales.

To make best use of your marketing dollars, look at whether you should hire a social media employee or hire a social media agency. One thing to consider is the work it takes to develop content for each platform. Content needs to be different on each platform and managing all this content on top of day-to-day operations can be a lot of work.

A social media agency has the advantage of an entire team of experts at your fingertips. It takes the worry out of training for your staff and finding the time. Agencies are staffed with individuals that live and breathe best practices for their craft and give you back the time you need to work on what YOU know best. Hiring an agency will also give you an outside perspective of the social media landscape specific to your industry.

Whether you choose an employee or an agency you have already made the first step. Identifying your marketing need for digital and online communications is a big undertaking! Now it is time to identify your goals and with that you will know which route is best for your organization.

Now is not the time to panic. Now’s the time to grow or maintain your marketing efforts so that your business is in fighting shape when all floats back to normal.