BtoB

Marketing through the downturn

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Will marketers be allowed to market during this recession? It's still early, and we don't know how bad this recession will be, but I do believe that b-to-b advertising budgets will not be affected as badly as they were in the recession at the beginning of this decade. Why do I say that? As I have talked with many marketers over the past month at our BtoB NetMarketing breakfasts, there has not been a sense of desperation in the b-to-b marketing world. Most said they were continuing with the plans they already had in place. By contrast, in 2001 marketers were much more down and were forced to make severe cuts to their budgets. That recession was especially painful for business publishers dependant on advertising from technology marketers and Internet companies. Marketers came out of that downturn much more ROI-focused and remained so even as the economy took off again. So thanks to an emphasis on analytics and measurement, we now have marketers that are much more accountable and budgets that will not be trimmed nearly as quickly. According to an ANA survey of marketers released in October, nearly as many marketers said they were increasing budgets (27%) as were decreasing them (33%). Some were reallocating budgets (33%), which may mean greater investment in accountable online and face-to-face media. BtoB will be doing its own survey of b-to-b markerters later this month, and we will have a more refined crystal ball to help you plan for 2009. Bob Felsenthal can be reached at bfelsenthal@crain.com.
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